Robin Hood | Kilburnlad | Film | Reviews

Robin Hood

Robin Hood 2018

And so we have the latest incarnation of the folklore that is Robin Hood, but on this occasion it strays far from any story that I am familiar with. As a little boy Robin Hood was one of my heroes. When I wasn't a cowboy I was Robin Hood, complete with my homemade bow and one proper target arrow which was bought for me from a shop in Stamford, where I stayed during the school summer holiday with my aunt. I used to wander around the corner into the grounds of Burghley House, which served quite nicely as Sherwood Forest. I was alone, amusing myself, an art seemingly becoming less evident in the kids of today.

I was brought up with the 1950s TV series, The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Richard Greene, with the signature tune that is still fondly remembered by people of my generation and supporters of Nottingham Forest. This was a basic Robin Hood, with proper longbows and impossible but believable feats of archery, at least for a little boy like me.

Anyway, back to the film. Well, it's taken the Robin Hood story as a vehicle for yet another extravaganza of hyped-up action in the genre of the superhero movies, probably because these days that's what fills cinema seats. Wherever it's supposed to be set, it's definitely not Nottingham, more like southern European. It starts innocently enough with Robin of Loxley falling for a very attractive Marian, whom he catches trying to steal a horse from his stables. But then he's called up by the evil Sheriff of Nottingham to fight in the Crusades, where we see the English longbow men fighting an adversary armed with the crossbow equivalent of a Gattling gun - really! Robin leads the group into an ambush trying to save a captured friend and, after a near death experience, intervenes to try to prevent the execution of one of the prisoners. This doesn't go down well and our hero ends up with an English arrow in his chest, whereafter he's sent home on a hospital ship. But stowing away beneath the deck is the father of the man he tried to save, the very same man who nearly finished off Robin in the earlier battle, and who is to be known as Little John in view of his unpronounceable birth name. Yes, we've now strayed very far indeed from the better known story.

From this point on it's The Hood making life very uncomfortable for the Sheriff, which may sound more like the story we know, but I assure you it isn't. He's stealing from the rich, sure enough, but not so much to give to the poor, more to sabotage a dastardly act of treason involving the Sheriff, of course, and a Cardinal from Rome. This Robin is a skilfully trained one-man army and there isn't a merry band in sight. Apparently this is the undocumented sequel to the better known 'history', all of which came later. The escapades are outlandish and the finale treats us to another reweaving of the folklore, with Wil Scarlet taking a role that surely relegates this merry tale to the dustbin of nonsense.

Sorry, I'm too steeped in the older stories to find this latest offering appealing.

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