A tale as old as time is once again re-told as we travel back to Old Worlde Nottingham ruled by an evil dictator, the Sheriff of Nottingham, where our valiant hero Robin Hood and his merry men must put a stop to his heinous plans which include stealing Robin’s true love for his own.
Unless you have been living under a rock for your entire life, Robin Hood is a classic story that has been brought to life across many different forms of media including books, television and film. Since his first appearance on film in 1922 (portrayed by Douglas Fairbanks), Robin has been played by the likes of Jonas Armstrong, the legendary Sean Connery the gritty Russell Crowe and will soon have Taron Egerton step into the famous tights. But before next year's outing, there’s another re-telling that you may not have heard about as soap opera fans will recognise Emmerdale's Ben Freeman, who delivers an impressive performance, in the main role.
The story follows Robin and his band of outlaws as they continue to attempt to thwart the Sheriff's plans, before he captures Maid Marian forcing Robin to face his demons head on. This was initially billed as an action-packed medieval mashup with elements of The Raid and astonishing swordplay. However, it fails to deliver on both of those accounts. For a start, it pales in comparison the The Raid in every aspect. Whereas the aforementioned film is wonderfully shot and impeccably choreographed, Robin Hood: The Rebellion is a poorly edited mess. The action set pieces lack any real vigour and are clumsily executed, as it just feels like men tapping swords together and grunting followed by a cry of pain (or Wilhelm Scream) before falling to the floor with no blood or physical marks of damage. A real lack of attention to detail is also evident, as in one scene a man is stabbed but no blood is shown on the knife post stabbing.
Whereas 2010’s Robin Hood (starring Russell Crowe) was most definitely the tone that writer and director Nicholas Winter was going for, Rebellion suffers with trying to be something else rather than being its own entity. This instalment's Sheriff is portrayed by the solid James Oliver Wheatley who delivers a sinister performance which is just right for this particular film but lacks the wit and spark that would solidify him as one of the greatest Sheriffs to have ever graced the silver screen. Brian Blessed, who in this version plays Friar Tuck, is woefully underutilised. In the marketing for the film, his name is bellowed into our faces but he only appears for a short segment before the final showdown.
Compared to other outings of the legendary thief, here Maid Marian (Marie Everett) is much more of an independent figure. Before being captured she most certainly is able to hold her ground prior to being overwhelmed, which is inevitable as it's the cornerstone of the narrative. With regards to the supporting cast, most are forgettable apart from the Sheriff’s cousin Guy of Gisbourne, played by James Groom, who gives an enthusiastic performance.
At the end of the day, Robin Hood: The Rebellion will ultimately fly by as one of the more forgettable accounts of the classic tale, especially with Otto Bathurst’s big screen adaptation hitting cinemas in a few weeks time.
ROBIN HOOD: THE REBELLION / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS WINTER / SCREENPLAY: NICHOLAS WINTER / STARRING: BEN FREEMAN, JAMES OLIVER WHEATLEY, MARTYN FORD, BRIAN BLESSED / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW