Saturday, August 23, 2014

Instant Action: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Severus Snape was always a dicey fellow, eh?

Screenplay By: Pen Densham & John Watson
Directed By: Kevin Reynolds

As big and dumb of a Hollywood action-adventure movie as one could ever hope to find. I’ll tell you what, I don’t care how big and dumb this movie is. I love every second of this movie. Every dumb gesture, every over orchestrated musical cue, and every attempt at insipid sentiment. There’s nothing wrong with a Hollywood movie that pleases, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is an example of a Hollywood movie that pleases.

There are a few areas where Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves genuinely excels. The location filming and the costume design are of special note. They evoke the feel of being in an olden time, of really being present in Sherwood Forest. It’s not an easy sensation to achieve, especially considering I obviously wasn’t alive back when Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is supposed to of taken place. Yet achieve that sensation the movie does, and I applaud the movie for its efforts in this realm.

Another area where Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves has always impressed is in its action scenes. They are simple action scenes really, but they are very well done. Kevin Reynolds is able to establish place and time easily. He also has an eye for blending swashbuckling old school action with a more modern savagery. It’s an odd mixture, but in this film it works surprisingly well. The attempts at emotion within the action also work nicely. I could never shake the feeling that I was watching an old Hollywood action-adventure with the way Mr. Reynolds presented his pathos within the action.

In most other areas Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves should be a dud. The acting is pretty bad, the score is overwrought, and the film is full of overly sentimental moments. For whatever reason none of these potential deficits end up being actual deficits. The film is able to pull all of its elements together into one cohesive package. The well done and the subpar facets of the film come together to make Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves an enjoyable experience.

Like I said earlier, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is big and dumb. Usually that’s a bad thing, but not when it comes to this motion picture. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves succeeds precisely because it is okay with being big and dumb. The mawkishness, the overdone nature of the picture, it just works. I enjoy watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves just as much now as I did oh so many years ago and that is the sign of an action film worth its weight in gold.




Bill Thompson

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