Here we go again. Cinema’s constant, baffling attempts to pick up the story of a certain Merry Men-loving rogue underdog hailing all the way from exotic Nottingham has just opened on Irish screens.
However, Robin Hood (Cert 12A, 116 mins) has had to zigzag here under a flurry of sharp critical arrows, with an underwhelming take at the US box office also setting it up as a late-year flop.
It’s not long before you see why audiences and critics alike have aimed their own cruel barbs at this film, despite the best (or at least halfhearted) efforts of most of those involved.
There’s nothing particularly new here that you haven’t seen before, and despite a little tinkering with the recipe, this is yet another helping of Robin Hood that feels similar to any number of other servings.
Indeed, although a different story, it brings to mind last year’s truly disastrous King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, stumbling onto screens with a similar pet-project feel.
In this latest Hood reboot, a battle-hardened Robin of Loxley (Taron Egerton) comes back to Nottingham from war overseas to find his own circumstances greatly reduced.
While he’s been off in the Crusades, Nottingham has been taxed into oppression, some rotten mining keeps the local yokels cowed, and the church and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) have a nice little corrupt system in place.
If only there was a baby-faced vigilante out there to take on the Sheriff, zip about through jump-cut scenes, fire surprisingly powerful arrows about and restore a kind of underdog’s order to the land …
Of course, there’s more to the tale than that. Jamie Foxx does his best as a mentor Moor for Robin, providing all the wisdom and upskilling support that any medieval maverick could need when battling corruption.
Bono’s daughter (Eve Hewson) does her best as a conflicted Marian – Robin’s old squeeze before he went off to war, where reports of his death had clearly been greatly exaggerated – now with another man, Will Scarlet (Jamie Dornan).
You could run through the limited roll call of classic Robin Hood characters (admittedly, not exactly the biggest list in the world), and several of them are here with some slight tweaks to their stories.
Ultimately, however, it’s not hard to see why this latest take on Robin Hood misses the mark, with the film falling well short of box office targets during its brief release, to date.
Taron is a likeable lead, but it’s not as though audiences were crying out for yet another Robin Hood. The most recent iterations – let’s not raise the spectre of Russell Crowe’s take – didn’t exactly set the box office alight either.
If you’re looking for a daft origins tale, it’s fine (at best), but if you’re looking for anything more memorable it’s likely you’ll feel a bit … hoodwinked.