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Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Score: 85%
Rating: PG-13
Publisher: Fox Home Entertainment
Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/1
Running Time: 104 Mins.
Genre: Comedy/Action/Spoof
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,
           English Dolby Surround, French
           Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby
           Surround

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Features:

  • 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio (Widescreen)
  • 50GB Dual Layer Disc
  • Funny Men in Tights: Three Generations of Comedy HD Featurette
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights - The Legend Had It Coming HBO Special
  • Commentary by Mel Brooks
  • Isolated Score Track

Alright, kiddies, climb into bed and tuck yourselves in, cause Uncle Mel's going to tell you the story of Robin Hood: Men in Tights... you can expect this to be a bit... off.

That's right, Mel Brooks is telling the story, and Robin Hood may never be the same. Robin of Loxley (Cary Elwes) is off in Jerusalem, fighting in the Crusades, when he is captured and imprisoned. With the help of a fellow prisoner and new-found friend, Asneeze (Isaac Hayes), he manages escape not only for himself but for everyone imprisoned with him. Asneeze asks Robin to find his son, Achoo (Dave Chappelle) and look out for him. Robin agrees to do so, and then swims home to England. Just as soon as he arrives on land and manages to get a horse (a "rent-a-wreck"), he finds Achoo being attacked by soldiers. Robin jumps to his aid in a fight scene that wouldn't be in other Robin Hood movies, on account of the martial arts, you see. Upon returning to his home estate, he finds his castle in the process of being wheeled away, taken for failure to pay taxes. His blind butler, Blinkin (Mark Blankfield) not yet having realized it had been wheeled away from above him. The growing party trudges through Sherwood Forest, happening on a bridge across a stream being guarded by Little John (Eric Allan Kramer), a huge man who was trying to collect tolls to buy bread. Despite the pointlessness of actually using the tiny bridge to cross the tiny stream, Robin agrees to challenge him for passage. Robin wins the fight, then "rescues" Little John from the stream. They also meet Will Scarlet O'Hara (Matthew Porretta), who is amazingly quick with his daggers, but hasn't mastered putting them back in their sheaths. They take Robin to meet the "merry men" and soon the Robin Hood initiative is on. They fight to take down King John (Richard Lewis) and the Sheriff of Rottingham (Roger Rees) and Robin Hood hopes to find the key to the heart - and chastity belt - of Maid Marian of Bagel (Amy Yasbeck). The Sheriff of Rottingham hires Don Giovanni (Dom DeLuise) to assassinate Robin Hood at an archery competition designed as a trap for him. Maid Marian offers to marry the Sheriff to save Robin Hood's life, but the Merry Men rescue Robin Hood before the ceremony is complete. The Sheriff whisks Marian to the tower to deflower her, finds out about her chastity belt and attempts in vain to remove it with a jackhammer. Robin Hood arrives and has a sword fight with the Sheriff, ending with the Sheriff accidentally skewered when Robin Hood tries to put his sword away and misses his scabbard. The sheriff's disgusting cook/adviser/soothsayer, Latrine (Tracey Ullman) offers to save his life, but only if he agrees to marry her. He reluctantly agrees and she gives him a magical... lifesaver. As she drags his recovering body out of the room and toward the alter, he yells, "I've changed my mind!" Back at the alter, there are now two weddings to perform, although the Sheriff's none to happy about his. Right when Rabbi Tuckman (Mel Brooks) is about to marry Robin Hood to Maid Marian, King Richard (Patrick Stewart) arrives and halts the ceremony, sending King John to be part of "the tour" of the tower and declaring that henceforth, all toilets will be known as "Johns." He then knights Robin Hood as Sir Robin Hood of Loxley and proceeds to perform the wedding himself. At the end of the movie, we find that the key to Maid Marian's chastity belt doesn't fit, and a call goes out for a locksmith.

The thing about spoof movies is they tend to date themselves. While Robin Hood: Men in Tights seems familiar to me, there are things referenced in it, such as tennis shoes that you can pump up, that I, for one, hope will someday be completely lost on everyone. There are references to other Robin Hood films from recent to some time ago, as well as jokes on things from the Robin Hood mythos directly, as well as references to other movies and even other of Brooks' films, including a reference to Blazing Saddles by name. Robin Hood: Men in Tights is Mel Brooks simply having fun with the Robin Hood story, doing with it what he will... and what he does so well.

There are two featurettes and two track features in the Blu-ray release of Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Funny Men in Tights: Three Generations of Comedy is an HD featurette that talks about the making of the movie, with comedians ranging from Mel Brooks, to Richard Lewis and even the young upstart, Dave Chappelle, who actually began his film career in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Robin Hood: Men in Tights - The Legend Had It Coming was originally an HBO special made to help promote the movie. The two track-based special features are a commentary track by Mel Brooks and an isolated score track, which allows you to watch the visuals of the film accompanied by only the musical soundtrack of the movie.

The picture quality is really good on this one; not overly surprising, given it's from 1993, but still a very crisp picture. The sound is also well done; well balanced and in 5.1 DTS-HD. With the action, swordplay, romance, drama and - above all - comedy, Robin Hood: Men in Tights is a good film for those casually interested in Mel Brooks films, Robin Hood fans with a sense of humor, and fans of Dave Chappelle who want to see his break into show-business. This is not my choice as an iconic Mel Brooks work, but it's a fun watch and, perhaps, a bit more approachable to movie goers not yet familiar with Brooks' particular style of comedy. Either way, it's an entertaining movie.



-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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