DVD: Robin Hood (15)
Is it a Scottish accent? Irish? Liverpudlian? Is he impersonating Sean Bean? John Lennon? What in the name of Sherwood Forest is Russell Crowe doing here?
As long as the Gladiator hard man sticks to frowning furiously and looking like he's going to have a brawl with someone, Ridley Scott's po-faced adventure works reasonably well. The film collapses, however, when Crowe speaks, especially for long periods. You pine for Errol Flynn, perched perkily on a rock (my god, you even long for Kevin Costner's mullet) when Crowe delivers his stirring speech to the troops. It's about as rousing as John Major prodding a plate of peas.
Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott's favoured leading man, plays ordinary grunt Robin Longstride, who instead of being rewarded for his courage during the Crusades is banged up in the stocks. He and his not-so-merry men – Will Scarlett, Little John etc – escape to Blighty and Robin takes on the identity of a dead nobleman, Robert of Loxley. It leads him to Cate Blanchett's comely Marian and her guardian, Loxley's aged father (a gamey Max Von Sydow). Both of them are being bullied, like the rest of the country, by the wicked King John's dastardly tax collector, Sir Godfrey (poor Mark Strong playing yet another villain, also see Sherlock Holmes, Kick-Ass). There are some impressive set pieces, but there's very little merriment and it needed a British actor in the main role.