very annoyed when people mention Robin Hood's accent, but I didn't really notice. I was too busy wondering when the real Robin Hood was going to turn up. The outlaw that lives in the forest and does the thing with the rich and the poor people. For most of the film Robin's pretending to be a noble landowner and commanding whole armies of Englishmen. This was all pretty confusing until I realised it was meant to be a prequel to the 'real' story. Now it all makes sense. I'm not aware of the historical accuracy of any of this, but they've definitely spun a complicated plot around kings and barons and the French. I understand that the French are bad, this much I know, but the politics of the English throne is a little harder to follow. It works, although maybe it's a little too complex for what is essentially meant to be a mainstream historical thriller. When the action does start it really hits hard, with axes and arrows and other violent objects flying around. And it's muddy. And the sky is permanently cloudy. It's all pretty convincing. Apart from the accents. But you're not meant to mention that.
The real problem lies with the villains. They're not villainous enough. For a fair portion of the film there's no deep injustice to feel outraged about. There's no evil adversary that Robin is desperate to kill. In Gladiator, the entire film revolves around the utter evilness of the emperor and Maximus' desire for revenge. Here Robin tends to be just pottering about with no huge complaint towards anybody. He has a bit of a fight with Mark Strong, but then the two don't see each other for hours. There's no driving force pushing the film to a climax. Even the Sheriff of Nottingham is reduced to a minor character in prequel-land. It's a surprising omission from Brian Helgeland, who also wrote A Knight's Tale. What this film needed was a Count Adhemar. Someone completely nasty. The village pillaging comes late on, and by the time it's kicked into gear I've run out of popcorn.