ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES (1991)
YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE… EVERYTHING I DO… I DO IT FOR YOUUUUUU!
Man, I hated this one at first. I could only watch it for like ten minutes at a time. It picked up a little after the merry men had a training montage. Suffered a bit from trying to look too cool. I mean, a lack of adventurer's caps is one thing, but Robin should at least wear green. I mean come on! Anyway, the whole thing was muddy and uneven.
PLOT: Robert of Locksley was fighting with Richard The Best King Ever in the crusades, his dad died while he was away, and when he comes back with his new friend Blacky McMuslim, (or Blacky al Muslim, I suppose) he finds out that shit's gone nuts, so he outlaws.
GENERAL THOUGHTS: Kinda meh. This one's remembered fondly by my friends who saw it in their youth, but it's not really that good. Half the acting is fine, half is crap. They try some new things that probably seemed like really good ideas, but none of them panned out right. Oh, and when Robin gets back to England, he lands at Dover and somehow manages to walk to Hadrian's Wall and then to Nottingham all in one day. That's a bit over 500 miles. Mapquest puts it at about eight hours by car. Nice direction, Kevin Reynolds. I hope your next collaboration with Kevin Costner is a little more respectful of common sense. Oh wait…
(The hero of England. Or possibly Minnesota.)
ROBIN: so much has been made of Kevin Costner's crappy accent, it might seem silly to repeat here. But seriously… It's BAD. Just when you start to think he's not even trying, he drops an R in a random place, and you go "Oh… oh yeah." also he's a crap actor in the first place. Yeah, I said it. As for the character portrayal, which is what I'm supposed to be talking about here, he's kind of a douche. I think they were trying to make him look like a born leader, but he just comes off as bossy and spoiled. And frankly, he doesn't seem to care about the poor people as much as his own interests.
(Nick Brimble: Truly an unfortunate-looking man)
LITTLE JOHN: He LOSES the bridge fight? What the FUCK? Robin beats him and makes him cry like a little pussy! That fuckin' sucks, especially considering that he's one of the few characters in the movie that gets any real personality. He's a family man in this one, and his relationship with his wife is a really nice element. He's played by the impressively hairy Nick Brimble, who turns the Englishness up to 11 to make up for his friends.
(Christian Goddamn Slater)
WILL SCARLET: Haaa hah ahah ah ah ah a ha. It's Christian Slater! Okay, now that that's done with. With Azim (More on him later) taking on the Lancer position, and Blinken (Ditto) being the servant, Will gets a fancy new job here: The asshole. He's the guy who wants to turn in Robin for the reward money and all. He actually tries to kill Robin at one point, but Robin shoots him in the hand, and he runs off to pout and play acoustic lute and invent horn-rimmed glasses.
(Seriously the best picture I could find. Lots of pictures of Will and the Sherrif, though. It's like the internet if full of lonely fangirls who like to moon over pretty actors or something. GISBOURNE + ROBIN OTP!!!)
TUCK: Best Tuck yet by far. (Out of two, but still.) He's the only fully realized character in the movie, quite honestly. He's a hard-drinking nutter who honestly feels a need to perform spiritual guidance to the outlaws. He pushes the greedy bishop out the window in one of the film's greatest moment. And he's genuinely racist against Azim, finally accepting him after he saves Little John's newest baby. "Tonight the Lord has taught me a fine lesson. I may think I am godly, but I now know I am not worldly." He's played by American character actor Mike McShane, the hypnotherapist from "Office Space". It was an inspired choice, and he brings a surprising amount of warmth and humanity for an actor whose usual forte is Whose Line is it Anyway and the backwards episode of Seinfeld.
MUCH: Played by the kid from H.R. Pufnstuff, I shit you not. Of course, it's 21 years later, so I did have to look that up. I actually thought he might not be in this one, because his name is mentioned offhand in the same breath as David of Doncaster. (See below) But some ugly as shit guy shows up in one scene and is apparently him.
(The character so boring, even the actress fell asleep)
(My god... am I really THAT pretty?)
SHERIFF: Alan Rickman IS Snidely Whiplash AS The Sheriff of Nottingham! Waaaaay over the top, but in a fun way. The Sheriff has an odd little sidekick in this one, a witch of sorts. Also, he commands an army of Death Eaters. Apart from the witch and the cult, which is weird enough, he also take over Gisbourne's usual role of wanting to marry Marian, because he thinks that will make him king. Yeah, a nut who marries the kings cousin has a more legit claim than, say, THE KING'S BROTHER. Actually Prince John isn't in this one at all, so whatever. Oh, and he wants revenge for Robin scarring his pretty pretty face. Oh, and he cancels Christmas at one point. Oh, and he swims through money like Scrooge McDuck. Oh, and: "I'LL CUT OUT YOUR HEART WITH A SPOOOOOOOOON!" I could write a whole 'nother paper about Rickman's Sheriff. It's crazyballs. But it doesn't make much sense. The Sheriff should not be the most likeable and interesting character in a Robin Hood movie. Oh, well.
(The star of the movie and some girl I think might have been in it)
MARIAN: Okay, that was mean. But she's so damn boring. They try to do the Uma-style badass thing with her, but outside of her first scene, it amounts to nothing. And actually, it amounts to nothing in that scene, either, because all she does is charce in wearing a mask and lose a fight against Robin. Then she just gets kidnapped, and etcetera.
(Yes, please, do us all a favor.)
SIR GUY: Here's my impression of every line that Guy has in this movie: "Grarrr rrr aaaahhhrrrr drool slurp grr!" He's not a "Sir" in this one, just a flunky, which is still a step up from the oldest legends, where he was a hobo. He's the Sheriff's cousin, which does help him become captain of the guards, but does not help him not get killed by the Sheriff for his failure. He does come up with the name "Robin Hood" as a way to discredit Robin, so he's got that going for him. Which is nice.
(Morgan Freeman and a sword he borrowed from a Final Fantasy villain.)
OTHER MERRY MEN: Well, there's Blinken, who was a lot funnier in the Mel Brooks version. They call him Duncan here, but whatever. They still play his blindness for comedy, but it's weird, because he had his eyes gouged out by the sheriff's men, so all the humor comes off as tasteless. There's also a Moorish doctor called Azim, played by Morgan Freeman with tattoos over his acne scars or whatever those are. He really gives the best performance in the movie. The filmmakers have caught a little guff for having a black guy in the cast, as it looks like tokenism. But apart from the fact that he's vital to the plot and more interesting than most of the characters, they were actually planning on using Nasir, a Moorish asassin from a 1980s BBC series. Then they realized he wasn't a character from the legends, and decided not to get sued. And all the other Muslims are still grotesquely racist caricatures. So there. Little John's son Wulf plays the persecuted poacher in this one, then engages in acts of moppetry for the rest. Mrs. Little John kicks some ass, and has a great line about how shooting out eight kids has made her a better fighter than anyone. Lady Sassmouth plays the Drowsy Chaperone again. David of Doncaster is in the end credits, though I have no idea where he is in the movie. I only mention it because this is the only Robin Hood movie to feature him, ever.
(Oh, look. A pointless subplot.)
OTHER VILAINS: A Horde of Screaming Celtic Bastards do some henchmanning and burn down the forest in a crazy Bizarro Braveheart routine that, as an person of Irish descent, I find borders on the racist. The Bishop of Hereford makes his only appearance where that's what he's called. Apparently these filmmakers, when they decided to put an evil bishop in, actually checked to see if there already was one. Broom Hilda makes gooey predictions about how the sheriff will be king some day and turns out to be his mom, in a scene that didn't make it into the movie and either I got an extended edition DVD somehow or I had a fever dream in the middle of the movie. Either is possible.
COMING UP NEXT: Errol Flynn! He can't fight, act, or be likeable in any way, but he can be a rape-happy opium fiend! Who better to play Robin Hood?