'90s Movie Month: "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" Review

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The usual story of Robin Hood: Evil Prince John is oppressing the people. Robin steals from the tax collectors, wins an archery contest, defeats the Sheriff, and rescues Maid Marian. In this version, however, Mel Brooks adds his own personal touch, parodying traditional adventure films, romance films, and the whole idea of men running around the woods in tights.
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'90s Movie Month: "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" Review

Rating: PG-13 (off-color humor)
Length: 104 minutes
Release Date: July 28, 1993
Directed by: Mel Brooks
Genre: Comedy/Adventure/Musical

Mel Brooks took the classic story of Robin Hood and placed a comedic twist on it. "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" is a parody that will have you laughing, but it has a fairly good story as well. Although this film came out over two decades ago, it's still funny to this day and can be enjoyed by all age groups. Still, if it's viewed by a younger audience, some of the references may be missed. A lot of jokes reference events from some of Brooks's older films, and if the audience isn't familiar with his work, these jokes will go over people's heads.

Aside from the various throwback jokes, "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" uses a variety of comedic devices to get laughs. Silly gags such as the sign Robin Hood sees as he arrives in England that mimics the Hollywood sign, a hand-held semiautomatic crossbow, or a rental horse will elicit laughter. Due to the particular type of humor found in this movie and Brooks's unique style, it has developed a large cult following.

The movie starts off as Robin Hood (Cary Elwes) is apprehended while fighting in a military expedition and is sent to Khalil Prison, located in the city of Jerusalem. While he is imprisoned, he meets Asneeze, a fellow inmate. He agrees to help Robin escape from captivity under the condition that he finds and watches over his son, Ahchoo (Dave Chappelle). Robin agrees and successfully executes his escape from prison.

Robin travels back to England and not only discovers the whereabouts of Ahchoo, but he also finds out that while King Richard (Patrick Stewart) was fighting in the Crusades, his son, Prince John (Richard Lewis), took over the kingdom. When Robin goes to his old home, he discovers that it's being repossessed by the prince. Not only is he losing his home, but his pets and family members were also killed. This selfish act greatly angers Robin, and he vows to make things right. He gets together with his blind former worker Blinkin (Mark Blankfield), the bulky yet dimwitted Little John (Eric Allan Kramer), and his old pal Will Scarlet O'Hara (Matthew Porretta), and they venture off to get his family's home and land back.

As Robin and his gang continue their mission, they meet many people and expand their circle. He meets Maid Marian (Amy Yasbeck), who becomes the love of his life. She appears to be a normal woman, aside from the metal chastity belt that will become unlocked only when she meets and marries the love of her life.

While Robin Hood is training his group of outlaws, known as the Merry Men, to help him in his quest of reclaiming what was once his, a problem arises. The Sheriff of Rottingham (Roger Rees) is determined to eliminate Robin Hood before he is able to execute his plan. He hires a mafia member known as Don Giovanni (Dom DeLuise) to kill him at the upcoming Spring Festival. He chooses this location as he knows that Robin will be attending the festival to participate in the archery contest.

With Robin unaware of the pending attempt on his life, his situation seems dismal. However, Maid Marian learns of the dastardly plan and sneaks out of the castle with her personal assistant, Broomhilde (Megan Cavanagh), to find Robin and warn him.

The cast in "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" features a variety of actors who have went on to have extraordinary success in films and TV. One of the more famous comedians who made his major debut in this film is Chappelle. Elwes is an English voice actor and actor who had been working in films and on Broadway before starring in this film. He has continued to have success in the film industry, appearing in movies such as "Liar, Liar" and "Twister." He has also had success in television, appearing on "Psych" and "The X-Files."

Brooks received some criticism for this film. Some critics stated that "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" did not have the quality of some of his other work. However, critics also acknowledged that the film had multiple hilarious scenes and that it's still worth seeing. Brooks created some real masterpieces in the seventies, which leads to his projects receiving a level of scrutiny that other directors aren't subjected to. "Robin Hood: Men in Tights" is a funny movie with an interesting story that is worth watching more than once. This is a movie that is packed with subtle jokes and references that may require more than one viewing to catch.

Rating: 3 out of 5