Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Staring: Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Directed by Kevin Reynolds 

Robin Hood is once again brought to the big screen in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” as he attempts to save the helpless from the evil Sherriff of Nottingham with the help of Maid Marian and his loyal companions.

This is a stupid movie. I am glad I saw the Errol Flynn version of "Robin Hood" before seeing this one because it allowed me to understand that the producers were trying to channel that movie while attempting to insert a more "modern" way of looking at the legendary tales. Well, they failed. It tries to do a balancing act between playfulness and being epic, and it just does not strike the right tone. There is a fair amount of slapstick in it, most of which falls flat.

Despite a having a good cast, the script does not do them justice, though to be honest there is some question over whether they deserve it. I like Kevin Costner, but he cannot pull off being Robin Hood. His acting is really poor in this film: he does not have posses any sense of wit and does not bring any sort of inspiration to the character. As a matter of fact, I hardly anyone had a really good performance in this film. For instance, Morgan Freeman plays a Moor named Azeem, a new character who does not appear in past versions of the stories. Like Costner, this is the first time I have seen Freeman in a bad role; he is very flat and spends most of his time talking about his Muslim faith in a way that has little to nothing to do with the plot. It would have been better if he were left out altogether. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (she was Tony Montana's sister in "Scarface" in case you wanted to know) plays Maid Marian by being a bitch for the first half of the picture and spends the second half screaming a lot. Christian Slater also plays Will Scarlet as a bitch as well and even though his character is featured in the original tales, you kind of wish he was not after Slater is done with him. King Richard actually is almost written out of the film until the last five minutes, but after seen the actor who plays him (SPOILER ALERT: he is licensed to kill), I think it was probably best that he took this small-uncredited role rather than ruining his legacy by dragging himself through the whole picture.

The one exception to this heap of disappointment was Alan Rickman, who would have been perfect as the Sheriff of Nottingham if the script were better. As he does in most of his movies, he plays a character that can best be described as a brooding, sarcastic, smart-ass. However, he becomes more over-the-top as the film progresses and he has the only funny lines even if they are stupid (my personal favorite: "I will cut your heart out with a spoon!"). He almost saves the whole thing, but the previously mentioned flaws and the ridiculous finale simply fail to make this picture worth watching. Therefore, I do not recommend it.