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Dodgy history and dodgier accents, but Kevin Costner's medieval romp still has some magic – and shouldn't be judged on the weakness of its imitators.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves looks like big money. It has the stars, it's based on a classic (and foolproof) story and it's an exhilarating couple of hours. It fills the entertainment megabill utterly.
With so much money and talent at work here, though, this latest incarnation of the legend is considerably smaller than the sum of its parts.
The mix of comedy, '90s sensibility, and swashbuckling action is more hit than miss, even if the overall effect is rather slapdash. Spirited, irreverent stuff, but not for those who like their myths kept sacred.
Not exactly Errol Flynn, but not the embarrassment that was Disney's Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves is a fun popcorn flick take on the centuries-old legend. And hey, it does have a great cameo by a former Robin Hood as the best King Richard ever.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a murky, unfocused, violent and depressing version of the classic story, with little of the lightheartedness and romance we expect from Robin Hood.
Director Kevin Reynolds 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.
Though the new Robin Hood observes all of the classic confrontations that keep the tale alive, the film winds up as a mixture of listless adventure, wispy comedy and what is meant to pass for social realism.
Black powder and Christian Slater are cool and all, but real dramatic successes come when a film has both heart and a slate of talented actors who aren’t just leaning on their oversized patchwork capes to tell the story.
Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood is a Robin of wood. Murky and uninspired, this $50 million rendition bears evidence of the rushed and unpleasant production circumstances that were much reported upon.

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