Robin Hood

[3.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

We missed this when it came out in theatres in 2010, and didn't even manage to pick it up when it first came out on DVD. But it worked its way to the top of the Netflix queue, and guess what? Not bad at all. Russell Crowe in the title role. Directed by Ridley Scott.

I can see being disappointed, as some viewers were. That's a Gladiator combination, and… well, this is no Gladiator. Still, taken on it's own terms, it's fun.

Oh, it also makes hash of the Robin Hood mythology and known history. That's probably acceptable, given the historical haziness of the legend. Here, Robin is a skilled (of course) archer fighting in the Crusades under Richard the Lionheart. Sick of war, he just wants to get back home to England. But a series of mishaps directs him to Nottingham, where he assumes the identity of a local nobleman. Nottingham, like the rest of the country, is cruelly oppressed by the arbitrary thievery of King John, who's assumed the throne in Richard's absence. (The Sheriff of Nottingham doesn't have much to do here; he's not much of a villain, just a fickle nebbish. The real baddie is a guy named Godfrey, played by Mark Strong.)

Most of the plot is driven by political intrigue, as English unity falls apart and a French invasion threatens. (One of the problems: too much political intrigue, not enough action.)

Cate Blanchett plays Marian, very well. A minor good-guy role is played by William Hurt, and I didn't recognize him under his beard.