Errol Flynn, come home, all is forgiven. The Gladiator team of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe contrive an almost completely humorless, by-the-numbers prequel to the Robin Hood legend. In place of the witty, impudent Flynn (he starred in the classic 1938 “boys’ adventure” for Warner Bros.) we get Crowe’s grim Robin Longstride, a returning crusader and stalwart Saxon (circa 1200 CE) caught up in the bewildering intrigues of scatterbrained King John (Oscar Isaac, almost stealing the movie), evil king Phillip of France (Jonathan Zaccai), nefarious usurper Godfrey (serviceable villain Mark Strong), and the good yeomen of Nottingham, repped by Max Von Sydow and Cate Blanchett as Lord Loxley and his daughter. As expected, Blanchett’s performance as Maid Marion is on another plane entirely from Crowe’s skull bashing and dull introspection – he doesn’t belong in the same film with her, let alone in their gummy love scenes. But the chief culprits are writer Brian Helgeland, producer Brian Grazer (among a host of prods), and director Scott, who prove that even the most rousing folk tale can be homogenized into a snore. Perhaps most disappointing of all, no one in the film wears tights. Also with William Hurt, Danny Huston, Mark Addy, and Eileen Atkins as Eleanor of Aquitaine (140 min.).
Director: Ridley Scott
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Producer: Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe
Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Mark Addy, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins and Max von Sydow