Time to finally watch a movie about Robin Hood. Considering what a big icon this guy is you could almost say that it’s about time right? The tale of Robin Hood is a classic one since the idea of a thief who actually steals to give to the poor is such a noble one. He’s an anti hero that you can root for and depending on the circumstances you could call him a full fledged hero as he only stops crooks. He’s like Batman if the hero lived in a normal world. That being said, I wouldn’t call this a very good movie.
The film starts off with a lot of exposition but basically all you need to know is that the rightful king of the land was captured. Now his villainous brother rules the land and has decided to enslave its people. He steals their money to make himself even richer. Robin Hood doesn’t like this and demands an audience with the chap. They each talk a good game as both fighters posture until they can lift their chins no higher. Robin Hood escapes with his life but vows to make things very difficult on the false king. Robin is true to his words and soon the villain can feel his grip loosening. He comes up with many traps to ensnare Robin Hood, but will they work?
There is definitely a lot to like about this film though so I’ll start with some of the easy positives. The fight scenes here are a blast. I do miss these retro fights where the gallant lead grabs a sword and is easily able to fend off dozens of trained professionals. There are many instances where Robin Hood is completely surrounded by an army and still manages to escape. It’s cheesy and not very realistic but it is a blast. He is just the most capable athlete in the whole kingdom and they have to get used to this.
The archer contest was also a lot of fun and plays right into Robin Hood’s ego. He will walk into every single trap just to show that he is not afraid. It may not always succeed but its this attitude that made it easy for him to get such a following in this kingdom. He’s a lot of fun as the lead and makes sure to enjoy himself rather than brooding and taking the whole thing too seriously. He is constantly laughing and being merry.
The writing for the film is also on point. All of the characters talk tough and do a good job of dishing out subtle threats. The script is on point and for the most part even the worst characters (The heroine’s maid and the comic relief member of Robin Hood’s forces) aren’t too unbearable. The less screen time for them the better though.
On the flip side as this takes place in a forest we do have some animal violence though. A deer goes down for the count twice and that was most unfortunate. The film would have shot up a couple of extra points otherwise. It was pretty unnecessary and of course it doesn’t do any favors in trying to get you to root for Robin Hood since it was one of his men who shot the creature. He should have stuck to being a vegetarian.
The cast can also be a little weak at times. Of course Robin Hood is a great character, but most of his followers aren’t very great. The drunk guy who fell asleep with his food definitely couldn’t be taken seriously. Then we have the drunks and the random guys who are always running every which way. Of course the film is trying to show that he is grabbing a group of rag tag fighters and turning them into pros, but it gets to the point where you have to wonder why the army isn’t completely destroying these guys. The heroine is a little better as she at least tries to stay strong before getting roped into Robin Hood’s schemes. It seems a lot more convincing than in the new film that just came out/is coming out.
I actually did like the two main villains quite a bit though. The corrupt King had quite a lot of confidence and seemed more reasonable than you would expect from his kind of character. Not reasonable in the sense that he would grant any mercy, but in the sense that he didn’t underestimate Robin Hood. By all accounts he actually should have destroyed that guy once and for all. The King’s right hand man was also a lot of fun. Gisbourne really doesn’t like Robin Hood for personal reasons and it makes for a fun dynamic. Their final bout is also a good payoff for this plot and while the hero does try to spare him multiple times, this does get a little harder throughout the fight until it is simply too late.
Overall, The Adventures of Robin Hood is a bit of a mixed bag. It has some pretty strong positives like the main character, the fights, and the writing. On the other hand it does fall into the animal violence trap while also possessing some annoying characters. To put it one way, I wouldn’t really watch this film again. It’s a pretty entertaining experience which is good since you at least won’t get bored during it, but there are just better options around. If you really like the Robin Hood adventures then by all means you should check it out. Likewise if you just enjoy this kind of adventure film about overthrowing a corrupt king. As I said, the film is pretty fun even if I had to deduct some points. Quite a lot happens over the course of the movie and it even has multiple climaxes which was rare for older films.