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Beyond Sherwood Forest

(2009)
Sometimes even when you know better you watch the movie anyway; when the word SyFy comes up before the credits, youve been warned. You stay and watch at your own peril. The genre names here are Julian Sands and Erica Durance (Smallvilles Lois Lane) and Robin is played by a nice looking chap named Robin Dunne, with Sands as the sheriff and Durance, naturally, as Marion. Here when Robin is a wee lad the sheriff kills his father, and Robin disappears until adulthood, where he returns to Sherwood only to find its being plagued by a dragon-type monster (about the size of a horse) that seems to do the sheriffs bidding. Look, I told you up front it was bad, but I have a weakness for Robin Hood (that does not extend to Prince of Feebs) that allows me to tolerate most efforts at retelling the myth, at least for a little while. This is one of those medieval movies where everyone is clean and speaks with an English accent (even Durance tries, and shes not too bad, but its obvious shes putting on an accent) and they ignore things like history (the story is set in 1174 and they speak of King Richard, who would not be crowned for another fifteen years) and any even passing attempts at accuracy (all the men have very short, sculpted hairstyles that would have been extremely difficult to achieve with the barbering technology of the twelfth century). I didnt mind the attempt at mixing sorcery with Robin Hood; after all Kip Carpenter did it thirty years ago in Robin of Sherwood, and it worked pretty well there. But this is more a story about a girl who turns into a dragon and falls under the sway of the sheriff than it is a Robin Hood yarn; the archer and his pals are almost incidental in their own story, at best reacting to what others do, never initiating any action at all. Theres a little romantic sparring between Robin and Marian, but Dunne and Durance have zero chemistry, and its best forgotten. Theres nothing to recommend here; even those who enjoy stories about the Hooded Man will find this unengaging and largely a waste of time. I suppose those who really dig Durance (and theyre out there, though I was a Lana man myself) would find it worth their while; shes basically Lois Lane with a weak British accent. But all others need not apply. My mistake was thinking that since the BBC Robin Hood series from a few years back was worth watching despite my reservations that this might have a few gems embedded in its discount core. But alas no. September 28, 2013