One of 1991's biggest hits, for reasons increasingly obscure. Costner and company struggle desperately to make the Robin Hood legend relevant to contemporary audiences.
With the help of Azeem (Morgan Freeman), young nobleman Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) escapes from a Middle Eastern prison and makes his way home to England, where a rude surprise awaits him. His father has been murdered, King Richard is in exile, and Prince John has usurped the throne.
Locally, the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman), has laid siege to the countryside. Robin gathers his merry men and fights back, pausing only for romance with the lovely, strong-willed Maid Marian (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio).
If nothing else, ROBIN HOOD: THE PRINCE OF THIEVES is resolutely politically correct, positing a feminist Marian, adding women to the band of merry men, and inventing the incongruous Azeem, a black Muslim. Costner's surprisingly portly Robin is less a dashing force of justice than a decent kind of
guy forced by circumstance to do the right thing because the wrong thing--embodied in the flamboyantly wicked Sheriff of Nottingham--is so obviously unacceptable. He's a Robin Hood for an age when no one believes in heroes.
Director Kevin Reynolds (FANDANGO) has no flair for action: the climactic battle is so ineptly shot and edited that it is difficult to tell who is smiting whom. While Costner is lifeless and speaks strangely (he was said to have attempted a British accent, then abandoned it during shooting),
Mastrantonio is an acceptably vivacious Marian. As the Sheriff of Nottingham, Alan Rickman, swaggering through his scenes in sinister black, hissing one-liners and basically acting up a storm, is so theatrically vile that he seems to be in another movie altogether; one can't help but think it's a
more entertaining movie than ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES.
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: One of 1991's biggest hits, for reasons increasingly obscure. Costner and company struggle desperately to make the Robin Hood legend relevant to contemporary audiences. With the help of Azeem (Morgan Freeman), young nobleman Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costn… (more)