Robin Hood 2018 ***

ROBIN-HOOD

The so-bad-it’s –good file is already groaning, but there’s always room for a project as fatally misbegotten as Robin Hood. As always, it takes a number of simultaneous failures to create a truly awful film. First up; Taron Edgerton, who gained some kind of fame as the yob made good Eggsy in the juvenile, misogynist Kingsmen films. Sure, he made a passable Elton John in Rocketman, but under those specs and outfits, there’s barely a performance to see, and he’s physically nothing like John at all and makes no effort to emulate him. Throw in a phoning it in Jamie Foxx as Little John, plus Ben Mendelsohn hamming it up in his umpteenth villain role in a row, and you have an uninspired cast in a reboot that no-one asked for. Robin leaves home for the Crusades, or at least some kind of archery inspired Call of Duty video game, and returns to seek his rightful place against the usurping sheriff (Mendelsohn). Whatever the high-concept was doesn’t land, leaving a stew of CGI fights, woeful set-pieces and laughable world building. Otto Bathhurst’s period romp went straight down the tubes on release, and a cheap streaming option (99p over in the UK right now, which is about 98p too much) gives us bad movie gannets the chance to see exactly why in this roaring dumpster fire. What a decent comic like Tim Minchin is doing in here, only his agent knows.

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Restless Natives 1985 ***

Unknown

Although a popular hit in the UK, Michael Hoffman’s 1985 film was correctly seen as a step-down from Bill Forsyth’s accomplished output, but there’s still much to enjoy in this cheerful tale of Scottish outlaws. Vincent Friell and Joe Mullaney play Will and Ronnie, two impoverished Scots who don clown masks and hop on their motorcycle to start robbing bus-loads of American tourists, who are delighted by their experience of such local colour to brighten their trip. Bender (Ned Beatty) is the cop on their trail, with Mel Smith, Bryan Forbes, his wife Nanette Newman and Robert Urquhart all along for the ride. With an uplifting rock score from Big Country, Hoffman’s Robin Hood update is fast-paced and peppered with neat jokes, like the one about the policeman in the joke shop. Hoffman made a strong Hollywood career with films like The Last Station, but this early work is as good as any of his later, more critically lauded work.