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Preview Review: 'Robin Hood' as the new 'Gladiator'?

March 11, 2010 |  1:28 pm

Robinhood A decade ago, Russell Crowe made his mark as a Roman general in Ridley Scott's period epic "Gladiator."

Now the pair have reunited for "Robin Hood," in which Crowe stars as an archer living in 13th century England. In a newly released trailer, we see Robin, who has previously served in King Richard's army fighting the French, travel to a town called Nottingham. There the people must deal with a tyrannical sheriff and heavy taxation, as they have in many previous iterations of the folklore. The plot thickens when Robin falls for local widow Lady Marian (Cate Blanchett).

For a change of pace, we thought we'd engage our colleague John Horn in a discussion about the new trailer.

Amy Kaufman: OK, this seems nothing like that lighthearted Disney cartoon I saw as a kid about a fox named Robin Hood who stole from the rich to give to the poor.

John Horn: Not to me. Compared to the film’s first trailer, “Robin Hood” now looks a lot less like “Gladiator” in tights. The trailer makes it feel like it’s an historical epic, with some scale, a bit of humor, some “Matrix”-like flying arrow shots and a bit of romance.

AK: Let’s talk about the romance for a second: Cate Blanchett is yet again a feisty, headstrong young lass who doesn’t need a man to save her. And speaking of reprising old roles -- don’t you think this seems at least a bit “Gladiator”-esque? The clip-clopping of angry horses, heavy armor and rustic scenery make me feel like I’m back in the film Russell Crowe is arguably best known for.

JH: But she can shoot her own arrows! I think the better comparison is not “Gladiator” but “Saving Private Ryan” with horses. The beach landing could very well have been set in Normandy, and the ships sure look like precursors of the Higgins boat, which I am sure you know was among the most important Allied tools in World War II. One thing that also must be said: While I can’t place Crowe’s accent, you have to admit he’s looking a lot better than he did in “State of Play.”

Amy: He does look a bit better since he’s trimmed off that messy mane, and maybe he buffed up a little bit. But I’m not sure his decent looks are enough to lure in a female audience here. Do you think the film has broad enough appeal to be a blockbuster?

John: I’m guessing it’s a solid hit. No "Gladiator." But no "Body of Lies."

Amy: I'll have to agree. It's hard to see how a big action-adventure flick with two Oscar-winners could fare too poorly at the box office.

-- Amy Kaufman and John Horn

Photo: Russell Crowe stars in "Robin Hood." Credit: Universal Pictures