A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
A title as good as "The Last of Robin Hood" deserves a better movie. In fact, it deserves a good movie.
That's a shame. If you were fantasy-casting this story of the sad final days of Errol Flynn—who became an international star in 1938's "The Adventures or Robin Hood" and died in 1959, reputedly in the arms of a much younger woman—you might not come up with a better group of actors than the one assembled by the film's writing and directing team, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.
As the aging but still insatiable Flynn, we have Kevin Kline, who often had a slightly swashbuckling air about him—and a mischievous, a times mad gleam in his eye; they've dyed his hair and youthed him up just a bit with makeup, but he's physically a ringer for Flynn during the period covered in this film, the mid-to-late 1950s. Dakota Fanning is appropriately innocent and then conflicted and ultimately haunted as Beverly Aadland, the chorus line extra that Flynn selects as a concubine and aggressively pursues. Susan Sarandon surely knows a thing or two about the kind of male behavior exhibited by stars like Flynn; she was packaged as a bombshell in her twenties. But you'd never know that from the committed way she plays Beverly's mother, Florence, who'd probably have put her own fame fantasies and monetary goals ahead of her daughter's mental health if she hadn't been conditioned to think that a young woman's first job is to land a successful man and subordinate her identity to his. The supporting roles are filled out by capable character actors, including Bryan Batt (Sal on "Mad Men"), Jane McNeill ("The Walking Dead") and, in a bit part, Max Casella as Stanley Kubrick during his pre-"Lolita" phase.
The problem—and wow, it's a big one—is that none of these actors have material firm enough to shape into a bona fide performance. The characterizations and dialogue are so early-90s TV-movie bland that not only can you not say that Kline is giving a good or bad performance, you can't even accurately describe what sort of performance he's trying to give. His Flynn consists of nothing more than handsomeness and a dashing grin and a charm that soon turns oily. As Florence, Sarandon is stuck in a one-note predatory stage mom part, with Fanning's Beverly as the prey. If special Oscars were given for Outstanding Performance in an Underwritten Role as an Abused and Self-Deceiving Young Woman, Fanning would be a lock to win it, but that's not the same thing as saying that the character is worth spending time with, or that the performance has much to do with the character as conceived by the filmmakers (she's mainly a collection of misfortunes wrapped in an array of splendid outfits).