No, we sure as hell did not need another film based on the legendary outlaw, but here comes the 2018 actioner Robin Hood anyway. An early voiceover claims this is the story you may not have heard, yet, despite some flashy visual effects and a good-looking cast, viewers have, in fact, heard this story many times before. Otto Bathurst directs, Leonardo DiCaprio inexplicably produces and Taron Egerton stars as the title character alongside Jamie Foxx as Little John, Ben Mendelsohn as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Eve Hewson as Maid Marian. There is nothing especially offensive about Robin Hood, but there is little to remember in these 116 minutes. Flashy, devoid of substance and wholly unnecessary, this story did not need to be retold.
Lord Robin of Loxley has a great life in his sick, period-appropriate mansion alongside his hot wife Marian. The corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham wants Robin out of his community, so he drafts him to fight in the Third Crusade against the Saracens. Robin spends several years in England, but loses hope when he sees his commander Guy of Gisbourne (Paul Anderson) execute a young boy in front of his father, later revealed to be Little John. When Robin returns home, Friar Tuck (Tim Minchin) tells him the Sheriff had him declared dead two years prior, seized his land and riches, and swore allegiance to a corrupt Cardinal (F. Murray Abraham). Together, they expelled the townsfolk across the river into a dangerous coal mining village, where the seeds of discontent lead to a brewing revolution at the hands of the downtrodden.
The movie attempts to throw some curveballs early on, revealing Marian as the thief that Robin Hood would later emulate, and Bathurst, in his theatrical directing debut, constantly shoots for hip and edgy but does not nail the execution. Little John trains Robin and convinces him they need to rob the rich and corrupt to help the poor. Robin protests at first but then quickly steps in line to participate in a raid. He soon discovers Marian has remarried to revolutionary Will Tillman (Jamie Dornan), a good guy who is really the loser in all of this. Early scenes show unnecessary amounts of preparation and physical training for Robin, perhaps to please young female viewers with shirtless antics, and Robin Hood spins its wheels for what seems like ages before getting into the meat of the conflict between Robin, the Sheriff and the Cardinal.
The movie's setting feels like a cross between 14th Century England and the Industrial Era, and the filmmakers insert an inordinate amount of flashy effects, wild edits and anachronistic sounds to batter the viewer. There are a couple of moderately entertaining action sequences, but each feels substantially less impactful than the previous. The story here is beyond tiresome, and Robin Hood gives its supporting cast little to work with or to do. Egerton is a fine actor, as is Foxx, but there is simply no compelling reason given by this movie for its existence. This 2018 reimagining is 116 minutes of mind-numbing overkill and dull exposition.
One thing that is not pointless is this 2.40:1/1080p/AVC-encoded image from Lionsgate. This is reference quality HD, and the image is pulled from a 4K digital intermediate. The image is wildly sharp and detailed, with fantastic fine-object detail, texture and depth. There is plenty of color grading and ostentatious editing throughout, but the image handles this with ease. Blacks are inky, the movie looks great in motion, and each frame has that "HD pop" viewers crave.
The Dolby Atmos mix, which I sampled as a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD track, is bonkers, too. The aforementioned anachronistic sound effects are actually quite interesting to listen to, and the sound design here makes full use of the surrounds. There are plenty of action effects pans, abundant ambient noise and travelling dialogue. The LFE rumbles to vivid life during action sequences, and the music is mixed appropriately. This is a rambunctious, totally immersive lossless mix. A Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital dub is included, as are English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This two-disc set arrives in an eco-case that is wrapped in a flashy slipcover with a different color scheme than the underlying key artwork. The set includes the Blu-ray, a DVD and a digital copy. Extras include Outlaws and Auteurs: Reshaping Robin Hood (1:04:28/HD), a lengthy production featurette; Outtakes (4:38/HD) and Deleted Scenes (8:26/HD).
Gorgeous HD picture and rocking sound do not elevate this unnecessary Robin Hood retelling to anything other than a forgettable action film. Skip It.