THE SIEGE OF ROBIN HOOD Review: Campy Medieval Cosplay Sets The Stage For Bloody Action And Bold, Indie-Backed Adventure
Actor Paul Allica (The Trigonal: Fight For Justice, The Rookies) has been a relatively known action actor and stunt performer throughout Asia and Europe. The last five years or so have seen him take on more demanding tasks from both sides of the lens now as he sets sail with his feature debut, The Siege Of Robin Hood, which is currently screening in select cities from Saban Films as of this article.
Allica produced and co-wrote the pic having initially crowdfunded its production, and ultimately tackling the residual and hefty challenges of independent filmmaking. The result is a less than stellar output that’s far from perfect, but succeeds in its visual aids and performances and overall energy and consistency.
We meet our hero, Robin (Paul Allica), who is already out stealing and causing trouble for the evil Queen (Wallis Murphy-Munn) and the notorious Sheriff of Nottingham (David Macrae), joined by his cunning sister, Lilian (Sophie Hardy). Tragedy strikes, however, as Robin soon learns the violent and bloodthirsty Sheriff has caught up to them both, enraging Robin and leaving him no choice but to enact vengeance and justice for the kingdom, taking on a new moniker of a masked vigilante.
His quest soon brings him together with former slave Little John (Peter Roordink) and blacksmith Tuck (Keanu Gonzalez), disgraced knight Lancelot (Dave Beamish) and pub waitress Freyda (Kahli Williams) whose skills with a sword can just about match anyones. Their mission commences to raid the castle and kill the Sheriff who’s already tracking his own ambitions for the throne by then, and while it won’t be easy, it’s up to Robin to rally the people to fight for their freedom away from under the Sheriff and his tyrannical reign.
Production value is pretty obvious in terms of its independent nature between set pieces and props, costume design, editing and changeovers between scenes. Much is done in these areas to help try and compensate for what the film lacks in addition to some of the film’s campy performances and additional audio voice dubbing over some of the characters, though thankfully this isn’t the case for all the performers involved, including and especially the main cast for the most part.
Allica exudes a certain charisma that self-sustains in his portrayal of the legendary outlaw, bookended by his screenfighting and stunt prowess which is on full display in the film’s thrilling opening sequence, designed akin to Jackie Chan-style choreography and hijinks that Hong Kong action fans could certainly take a liking to. The rest of the engaged cast ultimately gets in on the action as well, namely Roordink, Williams, Beamish, and especially Gonzalez who truly shines on screen as a savant of many weapons with a style tweaked in fluid martial arts prowess, and while the film kind of takes on an unintended family-friendly tone, the action itself certainly goes the way of Hard R treatment between severed limbs, impalements and perpetual blood splatter.
The film ends on something of a cliffhanger, although it’s fairly certain that this film probably won’t get a sequel. The production of this film took a lot out of Allica who made more than his fair share of sacrifices to act and solve a lot of problems during the course of the shoot, and especially during post-production and the editing process ahead of the film’s market shopping.
Granted, none of this is to say the film deserve special treatment from objective criticism. It’s far from perfect and won’t meet everyone’s expectations. Nonetheless, any way you slice it, the film has more than earned its acknowledgment as a feasibly entertaining, independently-produced action adventure ripe with martial arts fun.
Moreover, it’s a deserving mark of personal success for Allica, and a worthy reminder that not everyone can achieve what he’s done with the limited resources at his disposal, and the cumbersome hurdles he’s had to face in as many years it took to make a movie. I, for one, hope he directs again, and with the right backing and people in his corner, I’m sure his next venture will be even closer to the mark, if not a straight bullseye.
Native New Yorker. Lover of all things pizza, chocolate, pets, and good friends. Karaoke hero. Left of center. Survivor. Fond supporter of cult, obscure and independent cinema - especially fond of Asian movies and global action cinema. Author of the bi-weekly Hit List. Founder and editor of Film Combat Syndicate. Still, very much, only human.
You must log in to post a comment.