There is no difference between a knight and any other man, aside from what he wears.
Set in the year of 1199, a common archer in the great army of King Richard the Lionheart by the name of Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) and a few of his brothers in arms Allan A'Dayle, Will Scarlett, and Little John, (Alan Doyle, Scott Grimes, and Kevin Durand respectively) find themselves free of the army they were in service to when King Richard (Danny Huston) is killed during a siege on a French castle. As they make their way to the coast and any available ship that will take them home, they come across the scene of an ambush enacted by the treacherous knight Godfrey (Mark Strong). After promising a dying Robert Loxley to bring his family's sword back to its home and his father (Max von Sydow) and wife (Cate Blanchett), Robin and his company wind up in a situation that will change England, and their lives, forever.
There is something that should be said of Ridley Scott's 2010 motion picture "Robin Hood". While not a direct copy, obviously, of a couple of his previous works, this movie does bear some semblance to that of "Gladiator" and "Kingdom of Heaven". Most notably because this movie marked the fifth time Mr. Crowe worked with Mr. Scott. There is even one particular scene in the climax of the movie that, at times, brings to mind the images of a particular scene from Wolfgang Peterson's 2004 feature film "Troy".
However, while some people would argue that such things would be the downfall of this movie, or at the very least a persisting annoyance, I personally do not think that is the case here. Come to think of it, as I watched "Robin Hood" for the third or fourth time just recently not once did those similarities come into my mind. The likeness of the beach battle to that of "Troy" did however, but all that did was make me want to watch "Troy" after I finish typing this review. As I type this I think of the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". And while it could be said that that is what Mr. Scott has done here, I wouldn't say it is a wise thing to do, for very much longer that is.
While it worked well enough here, if Mr. Scott keeps this mentality it could be very bad for him in the long run. But having seen a good amount of his movies, I doubt that will happen. I mean, just look at his most recent theatrical release.
Back when I first saw the full-length trailer for "Robin Hood" the thing that captured my attention the best and made me want to see this movie wasn't the snippets of action scenes that whoever makes the trailers were allowed to include and it wasn't the fact that Russell Crowe would be back with Ridley Scott again, it was the music used in that trailer. "Conviction" by Groove Addicts is an engaging song. Every time I listen to it, whether I'm somewhere in my house, driving somewhere or whatever other possible situation, it never fails to get my blood pumping. I still remember shortly after first hearing it sitting on the couch in my living room with my eyes closed, and letting the music bring to life a scene to fit what I was hearing.
Now I can't very well base the integrity of an entire movie on one song alone, the score used in "Robin Hood" was well done. Marc Streitenfeld did a good job in what he composed, but my only wish is that they didn't use the same song or piece of a song nearly every time Mark Strong's character was onscreen or something bad was unfolding. After the fourth or fifth time it became rather annoying. However during the movie's action scenes, which were very enjoyable and appealing, the music was appropriate to keep the mood set where it should for a castle siege or beach battle.
I'm not very familiar with the story of Robin Hood and how it came to be, the only other Robin Hood-centered movie I've seen was the 1991 "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" starring Kevin Costner, Morgna Freeman, and Alan Rickman. That said, I did enjoy the take Mr. Scott brought to the legend of Robin Hood. I especially enjoyed the choices in casting. Russel Crowe, while not my first choice for the role of Robin Hood, was believable and entertaining in the role. Cate Blanchett and Kevin Durand were funny when it was appropriate for them to be but also strong and fierce. As has become his custom, Mark Strong did well in the role of this movie's villain. When he lead his secret Frenchman against the defenseless people of those villages I found myself wanting to shoot an arrow or two at him.
Oh! And how could I forget Mark Addy as Friar Tuck, the scenes he were in, namely a few towards the last act of this movie, were quite enjoyable. Danny Huston as King Richard... well he was interesting enough during the brief time he was on screen. The style of hair they chose to give him didn't win him any points in my book, but I did feel some sadness when he was killed. The first time I saw "Robin Hood" I honestly did not recognize him in all the time he was on screen. I only realized it was Danny Huston when I looked on IMDB, or was it Wikipedia, anyway more to my point of Huston having that particular hair style.
While I know it is rather unlikely, if ever there was to be a sequel following this storyline, and if the original characters were able and willing to return, I would certainly be interested in another outing with Mr. Crowe as Robin Longstride, *cough*, excuse me Robin Hood and Mr. Scott as director.
This was a review by tMG. Thank you for reading.