First aired on the Showtime cable TV network, this fair family feature reinvents the Robin Hood legend in a modern-day, prep-school setting.
Robin McAllister (Devon Sawa) is a bright 16-year-old whose parents have turned into jet-setting scatterbrains since winning millions in a lottery. Robin, left on his own most of the time, attends an exclusive private school called Locksley. There, bully John Prince Jr. (Joshua Jackson) and his
posse terrorize new arrivals and run the student archery club like their own personal fiefdom. The spineless principal and teachers do nothing because John's father (Tom Butler) heads a multi-billion-dollar corporation. Barred from the Locksley target range, Robin soon gathers his own small band
of merry boys, like slingshot marksman Will Scarlett (Billy O'Sullivan) and beefy John Little (Tyler Labine), plus the obligatory girl-next-door Marian (Sarah Chalke). When a child is injured in a fire and needs a series of operations, Robin uses his computer-hacking skills to rob from the rich
(the Prince corporate treasury) and give to the poor (a church-based fund for the hospitalized boy, run by a certain Father Tuck). Robin transfers $30,000 to the obscure charity. Miserly Mr. Prince notices, and his alert brings a visit from supercilious FBI Agent Walter Nottingham (Colin
Cunningham), who suspects everyone from John Prince Jr. to Robin McAllister's parents. At Locksley's traditional medieval festival, swarms of Feds prepare to make an arrest. A costumed Robin first bests John Prince Jr. in an archery tournament, then confesses all. Sensing a public-relations mess,
Mr. Prince declines to press charges and commits to further charitable donations.
To paraphrase a famous vice-presidential debate, we know Robin Hood. We like Robin Hood. And thou, ROBIN OF LOCKSLEY, art no Robin Hood. It is admittedly a clever concept that misses no opportunity to evoke the celebrated bandit of Sherwood Forest, right down to some awful puns, but it lacks the
enduring appeal of the historical Robin Hood arising from romance and high adventure. ROBIN OF LOCKSLEY instead concentrates on voice-pattern software and how to manipulate dummy bank accounts via modem. There's little chance for swashbuckling in a milieu in which the worst that could happen is
being sent to the principal's office. The all-is-forgiven finale particularly falls flat.
Sawa is a likable hero and, though no substitute for Errol Flynn, a cut above many teen protagonists in movies. The young thespians play their parts relatively straight, while most of the adult actors overdo it.
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: NR
- Review: First aired on the Showtime cable TV network, this fair family feature reinvents the Robin Hood legend in a modern-day, prep-school setting. Robin McAllister (Devon Sawa) is a bright 16-year-old whose parents have turned into jet-setting scatterbrains sin… (more)