Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Adventure, Swashbuckler, Romantic Adventure  |   Release Date - Jun 14, 1991 (USA)  |   Run Time - 138 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Kevin Costner's dark, violent take on the dashing hero of myth is a strangely slack, disjointed affair. The film follows the lines of the legend, as nobleman Locksley becomes outlaw Robin Hood (Costner), after returning from fighting in the Crusades to find the foul Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman) making life miserable for the peasants. The filmmakers have recast the legend in the mold of a politically correct fable along the lines of Costner's Dances With Wolves (1990). Accordingly, Robin and his followers are painted as revolutionaries living in a happily non-hierarchal commune in the forest, with an anomalous Moor, Azeem (Morgan Freeman), thrown in for good measure. Costner plays Robin as an angst-ridden penitent almost too laid-back to give orders to his men, and the film takes much of its shambling tone and pace from his character. Despite the fact that they're working with myth, the filmmakers seem on intent of creating the impression of historical accuracy, which presumably accounts for the needless scenes of graphic carnage. Although Costner has little chemistry with his underwritten Maid Marian (Elizabeth Mastrantonio), he handles the inventive stunts, the film's best feature, superbly. Alan Rickman scores as a hilariously campy Sheriff, and the low-key Morgan Freeman is nearly perfect, as usual.