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When Robin of Locksley returns as a team
With a Moor with a life debt to him named Azeem,
He finds England’s changed while he fought the Crusades.
He finds his home unsafe for children and maids.
He kills several bullies and lets a few scram,
Which angers the Sheriff who rules Nottingham.
When Robin finds out his estranged father’s dead,
He promises vengeance on this Sheriff’s head.
Azeem and a blind aide named Duncan attend
While Robin attempts to go visit a friend.
Maid Marian isn’t much pleased he’s alive,
Especially when Sheriff’s soldiers arrive.
To flee, Robin rides to the forest Sherwood,
A place that’s not haunted, just misunderstood.
He meets several bandits but doesn’t once quiver
And earns their respect with some dunks in the river.
He leads this small party of woodsmen to fight
And robs every wagon that comes within sight.
The Sheriff is shipping out many a bribe,
But all his gold’s stolen by Robin Hood’s tribe.
The outlaw gains friends and support for his pluck,
Including Maid Marian and Friar Tuck,
But Will Scarlet sends him derision galore,
While that evil Sheriff hates him ever more.
The Sheriff of Nottingham hires some Celts
To lay siege to Robin and everyone else.
He captures a number of men, even Will,
And plans out a nice public method to kill.
In order to marry Maid Marian too,
And merit the throne with her blood, which is blue,
He says he will spare a few bound for the noose
If she will soon wed him, despite his abuse.
The Sheriff sends Will, who he thinks is a traitor,
To find Robin’s whereabouts sooner or later,
But Will yields to Robin that he’s his half-brother,
The son of his father and some other mother.
While Robin is shocked, the two men make their peace
And plan the best way for the captives’ release.
Azeem gives them gunpowder; John gives them swords.
They infiltrate slyly the castle of lords.
Though there are some hiccups, they save everyone,
And Robin soon has Nottingham on the run.
The villain tries marrying Marian, while
Azeem and the archer are locked in the aisle.
When Robin breaks in, the two foes have their duel,
And Robin prevails o’er the Sheriff so cruel.
Azeem saves his life, thus repaying his debt,
And everyone’s rescued from Nottingham’s threat.
Once they are all done saving lives thrillingly,
Both Robin and Marian wed (willingly).
King Richard himself (someone very well-known)
Thanks Robin of Locksley for saving his throne.

Having seen it recently, I’d say Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves probably deserves a higher place on my list. It is not only a highly entertaining medieval romp but also my favorite cinematic version of the Robin Hood story. Removing King John entirely from the story and mixing up some relationships to make them tragically Shakespearean, the filmmakers created a film that is at once exciting, funny, romantic, and now and then stunning.

Kevin Costner is appropriately heroic and likable as Robin Hood, though his lack of English accent is a major inaccuracy to my mind, and Morgan Freeman turns in another spot-on performance as his Moorish companion Azeem. After spending so much time underwater in The Abyss, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio decided to go with an easier role as the lovely Maid Marian, who manages to be both a strong fighter and a damsel in distress. The most striking role goes to Alan Rickman, who perfectly embodies the villainy of the Sheriff of Nottingham, though, unlike Hans Gruber from Die Hard, most of Rickman’s scenes here carry a strange dichotomy of wickedness and humor. Also, you’ve got to love that cameo at the end.

I suppose a major reason I like Prince of Thieves is its balance. It doesn’t typecast its characters, or at least only minimally. The atrocities of the Muslims during the Crusades are shown during an early scene, but Azeem proves to be likable, loyal, and highly learned compared with the English. Similarly, the Bishop of Hereford is shown to be greedy and treacherous, but faithful Christianity is also extolled, though less strongly. Robin’s initial thanks to God upon returning home is a good example of this; Friar Tuck’s drunkenness, not so much.

Though Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is certainly violent, most acts of carnage are left offscreen or hidden with skillful cuts away from bloody wounds. Language is also minimal, though they threw in a lone F-bomb that surprised me greatly. Despite these elements, the film has able, if occasionally over-the-top acting; a number of good one-liners; gorgeous scenery; and a memorably majestic score by Michael Kamen. (If you’ve ever watched the opener for a Disney DVD, you’ve already heard it.) Also, Bryan Adams’s Oscar-nominated “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” surely deserves a place in my End Credits Song Hall of Fame. It’s a perfect romantic wrap-up to a great movie, one of my VC’s favorites.

Best line: (blind Duncan, not having seen Azeem) “Curse those Moors and Saracens. If it wasn’t for their ungodly ways, Master Robin would never have left. What manner of name is Azeem? Scottish, Cornish?”  (Azeem, up close) “Moorish.” (Duncan’s reaction is priceless!)

VC’s Best Line: (Azeem, after foiling an ambush) “No man controls my destiny… especially not one who attacks downwind and stinks of garlic.”

Artistry: 6
Characters/Actors: 8
Entertainment: 8
Visual Effects: 7
Originality: 5
Watchability: 8
Other (violence, languages, etc.): -4
TOTAL: 38 out of 60

Next: #239 – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (I’m moving this week so I may be delayed)

© 2014 S. G. Liput

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