Is there still a shortage of new product in Hollywood? The Siege of Robin Hood is the fourth film I’ve had up for review in the past two weeks that’s spent an extended time on a shelf before getting a release. There Are No Saints took ten years, The Prey: Legend of Karnoctus took nine, and The Overnight, like tonight’s film, took five. It didn’t take long to find out why this one was shelved though.
The Siege of Robin Hood opens with Robin (Paul Allica, Danger Close, The Trigonal: Fight for Justice) running through what is obviously a modern-day recreation of a medieval castle complete with modern steel gratings. He then steals a shield and uses it to slide down the cobblestones to escape the pursuing soldiers.
Along the way we see an obviously modern directional sign, a modern, factory-produced clasp on a goat’s leash and a fence with metal hinges and precision cut bolt holes. It’s like the film’s director, also Paul Allica, wasn’t even trying to make the film look authentic, which makes it extremely hard to buy into the film.
It only gets worse as Robin engages a couple of Keystone Kops type guards in some Jackie Chan-styled funny martial arts battles only without Chan’s skill or charisma. We do get someone dunked in the Medieval equivalent of a septic tank though.
The Siege of Robin Hood actually bears almost no relation to the actual Legends of Robin Hood. Instead of staying hidden in Sherwood Forest, Robin lives in a cabin on an open plain, possibly because the film was shot in Australia whose forests are very non-English-looking rainforests.
Rather than being an agent of King John, The Sheriff (David Macrae, No Such Thing As Monsters, The Last Supper of the Damned) works for the Queen of Nottingham (Wallis Murphy-Munn, Neighbors) who also has Sir Lancelot (Dave Beamish, The Faceless Man, Shards) in her employ. And just as the frosting on the cake, Merlin (Tom McCathie, Apocalypse Cult, Mutt) also makes an appearance.
The plot, such as it is, involves the Sheriff and his men coming for Robin but killing his sister instead. This pisses him right off so he puts together the Merry Men, Little John (Peter Roordink, Elimination Game, Trojan Warrior), Tuck (Keanu Gonzalez), and Freyda (Kahli Williams, Model Behaviour, Blood Hunt) who apparently is meant to replace Maid Marian.
Most of the advance word about The Siege of Robin Hood focused on the film’s “R” rating for its bloody violence. And there is a fair amount of blood spilled, unfortunately, it frequently involves horrible CGI such as when The Sergeant (John Fallon, Deaden, American Muscle) smashes a head in with a mace. Or since the budget didn’t seem to run to actually showing the killings, shots of bloody corpses, and obviously plastic body parts.
Scenes like that also create a huge clash in tone with the ones portraying the Queen’s troops as bumbling idiots. It’s jarring to go from intentionally comic chases to a woman being hacked to death and back again. Granted with the poorly staged fight scenes it’s hard to tell at times whether a scene is meant to be funny or not. Even The Adventures of Maid Marian had better fight scenes than The Siege of Robin Hood.
I could go on, just like The Siege of Robin Hood goes on for two full hours, but it really feels like beating a dead horse. Or a dead peasant as the case may be. The film is a total and utter trainwreck from its indifference towards hiding signs of modern technology to poorly staged action scenes and abrupt shifts from slapstick to bloody killings. It’s a film that has no idea what it wants to be, and what it should be is avoided.
The Siege of Robin Hood is available on VOD and Digital platforms from Saban Films. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information. And if you’re looking for more medieval mayhem, FilmTagger has some suggestions.