An old-fashioned adventure epic weighed down by overly simplistic, quasi-populist dialogue, Ridley Scott's Robin Hood plays like a rousing love letter to the Tea Party movement. Instead of robbing from the rich to give to the poor, this Robin Hood (Russell Crowe) preaches about "liberty" and the rights of the individual as he wanders a countryside populated chiefly by Englishpersons bled dry by government greed. Stumbling across King Richard the Lionheart's corpse and the King's dying sidekick, Robert Loxley, Robin agrees to take the Loxley family sword back to papa Walter Loxley (Max Von Sydow) in Nottingham, only to discover that Walter lives with Marian (Cate Blanchett), the headstrong woman Robert married on the eve of decamping for war a decade earlier. The film's second act is largely taken up with the budding relationship between Robin and Marian. Just as this union is on the verge of consummation, the landowners threaten to rise up against the royals, the French army storms...something, and the English king has to make political concessions to his people so that they'll march for him instead of against him in a great, partially underwater battle. Robin Hood seemingly seeks to wow through assault—the soundtrack is loud and extraordinarily dense, the pace is relentless, the battle scenes choreographed for total sensory disorientation, and the war of the story is too convoluted to keep track of without the aid of press notes.
Blanchett maintains her dignity in a sea of arrows and historical exposition.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., May 14. Rated PG-13. 131 minutes.