Main cast: Ben Freeman (Robin Hood), Marie Everett (Maid Marian), Jamie Kenna (Little John), James G Nunn (Will Scarlett), Gareth David-Lloyd (Green), Brian Blessed (Friar Tuck), Charlie Hiett (Much), James Groom (Guy of Gisborne), Phill Martin (Beast), and James Oliver Wheatley (Sheriff of Nottingham)
Director: Nicholas Winter
I’m not going to lie: I watched Robin Hood: The Rebellion for no reason other than I miss having Ianto Jones on the screen to look at. He shows up only at about midpoint of this movie, though, and he doesn’t do much other than to glower blankly at the screen most of the time. Maybe I should have just watched tribute videos on YouTube instead. Still, this male-heavy cast does boast several decent eye candy, and James Groom spends a good amount of his screen time wearing only a flesh-colored sock thing over his willy. Aside from that, there isn’t much to appreciate in this thing.
This is a low-budget thing that is made for streaming services – guess where I watched it – because there is no grand arc or epic fight scenes. It’s more like an episode in the lives of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Here, the people who support him and his men are getting nervous because his increasingly brazen strikes against the Sheriff of Nottingham are bringing the heat onto all of them. Therefore, with a few threats and a couple of murders to drive home his point, the Sheriff easily learns that Maid Marian is still alive and, well, he’s now going to marry her, kill Robin, and profit. Little does he know that Robin is already on the edge, buckling under the pressures of having to care for people who are increasingly afraid of the harm he may bring upon them, and the capture of Maid Marian only drives him straight off that edge into gung-ho terminator mode.
Okay, this movie isn’t that interesting. The movie builds up Robin’s character in an interesting way, but that aspect is quickly abandoned for action scenes. The budget, or the lack of one, may be the biggest hindrance to this movie achieving greatness, as there are many problems here that could have been fixed with much more money.
A very notable example is how the action scenes here are so terribly done. None of the cast is able to swing a sword or shoot an arrow convincingly. Their swings are weak, and I have a hard time believing that a skinny woman of smaller stature like Marian can take down men who are much bulkier and bigger than her, when her blows and sword swings are straight out of amateur hour at a medieval fair. Perhaps hiring a decent trainer or choreographer would have made things better – so much better. Given that this movie focuses so much on action scenes, the unintentionally hilarious, terrible fight scenes here kill the movie for me.
The script could also be more interesting, although this is more about creativity than money. I’ve lost count of how many times the Sheriff or Guy has an arm around a loser’s throat with a knife at the loser in order to get Robin to stand down. Oh god, Much exists in this movie to be that loser pretty much all the time.
James Oliver Wheatley and James Groom don’t just chew scenery here, they camp things up so much that, under other circumstances, they would be making me cringe. Here, though, they are the two actors who are keeping me awake throughout the whole thing, so I can appreciate their efforts. I also like how kick-ass Maid Marian is here, but the terribly done action scenes really negate anything good about this character. As for Robin Hood himself, Ben Freeman is nice to look at and, er, that’s it.
Oh, and Little John here is easily the most annoying thing ever, even worse than the laughably bad fight scenes, because he is so unrelentingly negative, second-guessing Robin all the time even at the most ridiculous moments, when he’s not quipping not-funny-at-all one-liners with all the comic timing of a boulder.
So, Robin Hood: The Rebellion. It’s a cheaply movie that sadly fails to overcome the limitations of its low budget and mediocre script. Still, there are cute guys and the accents are always adorable, so let me toss in one more oogie than it deserves. I’m easy like that.