Taron Egerton in Robin Hood (Photo: Lionsgate)
★½ (out of four)
DIRECTED BY Otto Bathurst
STARS Taron Egerton, Jamie Foxx
In Robin Hood, you can’t see the forest for the cheese.
That’s right: The mighty Sherwood Forest, home of many previous Robin Hood screen incarnations, doesn’t make an appearance until the waning moments of the film. Before then, this hokey and hyperactive undertaking starts off during the Crusades, where the drafted Robin of Loxley (Kingsman kid Taron Egerton) squares off against an enemy whose gadgetry shoots out arrows as if they were bullets being spit from a machine gun (this scene owes more to The Hurt Locker and American Sniper than to Errol Flynn or Disney’s swashbuckling fox).
After that, it’s back home to engage in court politics with the utterly venal Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn, basically reprising his sneer-worthy role from Ready Player One) by day while spending his nights dressing up as “The Hood” (hand to heart, that’s what everyone calls him) and stealing from the rich and giving to, well, his own 401(k), I reckon — the film isn’t always clear when it comes to the redistribution of wealth.
A medieval makeover meant for millennial moviegoers, Robin Hood suggests that Nottingham came supplied with its own Urban Outfitters and everyone spoke like bratty teenagers (“I’m Robin.” “I’m busy.”). Jamie Foxx has his moments as Little John, but Eve Hewson is a charmless Marian and Jamie Dornan a deadweight Will Scarlet. And then there’s Amadeus Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham, who delivers his lines as the corrupt Cardinal as if he were channeling Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood’s Glen or Glenda. As with Lugosi, I half-expected him to suddenly yell, “Pull the string!” — which, if nothing else, would have been a cue to lower the curtain on this buffoonish boondoggle.