It’s not Blazing Saddles, but there are some chuckles to be found in Mel Brooks’s 1993 spoof of the Robin Hood legend. Cary Elwes is Robin (with a lighthearted jab at Kevin Costner’s bad English accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), while Richard Lewis plays an angst-ridden King John, and Roger Rees a snotty Sheriff of Nottingham. Comic David Chappelle has some good moments as the only black member of Robins’s noble thieves, and Brooks does his own spin on Friar Tuck: Rabbi Tuchman. The song-and-dance sequences featuring a chorus line of the Merry Men (“We’re men / men in tights”) is vintage Brooks, but otherwise the film can’t get any traction.

Studio: 20th Century Fox
Year: 2010
Release Date: May 11, 2010
Run time: 104 minutes
Rating: PG-13

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD50
Region: A

A film like “Robin Hood – Men in Tights” is really nothing more than good clean fun, in the lines of Mel Brooks other spoof films. It’s more successful than some (yes, I didn’t like `Blazing Saddles’) and less successful than others (it’s no “Young Frankenstein”). The film pokes fun at, none other than, Robin Hood, and in particular at the 1991 Costner vehicle “Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves”.

The film is littered with comedic talent and jabs at movie after movie, but it never feels overstuffed, which is nice because that is a very easy problem to run into. Cary Elwes is hilarious as Robin Hood. I love his comedic work and here he does a brilliant mockery of Kevin Costner’s turn in the “Prince of Thieves” film (“Unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent!”). He is aiding immensely by a very talented cast of characters, from Roger Rees to Dave Chappelle to veteran comics like Isaac Hayes and Dom DeLuise (Patrick Stewart even graces the film with his presence).

The film pits Robin against the evil Sheriff of Rottingham and the laughs just spill out from there. Roger Rees is flawless as the Sheriff, creating a supremely hysterical villain we love to hate. Dave Chappelle provides some great comic relief (this was a pre-stardom Chappelle proving why he is the comedic genius he is today) and Tracy Ullman tears it up as Latrine, the witch who just wants a piece of man meat. Amy Yasbeck is beautiful if not a tad dull as Marian, but her beauty is what attracts Robin so I guess that’s all she needed to be (and that chastity belt bit is hilarious).

I don’t really know what all else to say aside from the fact that this is a rompfest. There is so much to enjoy here. Sure, it is not a perfect comedy, and it is not particularly smart (the gags are really all spoof related with nothing genuinely intelligent being mocked) but it works very well. Sometimes all you need is a good laugh, and this film provides them in spades (the singing and dancing bits are just the right touch of something extra to really set this film apart). Watch out for Dom DeLuise’s wonderful prod at `The Godfather’, sliding in a little bit of culture in this very funny spoof on everyone’s favorite thief.
Movie Content: 9.5/10

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I found colors to be rich throughout adding a nice tone which always seemed to be absent in standard definition releases of the film. The outdoor scenes tend to shine the most with the vegetation looking very good as greens standout. Fleshtones look accurate and natural. Black levels are deep. Details are excellent considering that the film is 17 years old. I would have to say that I was not left underwhelmed by the print of this film on Blu-ray. It is great to see more catalog releases receive the high def treatment.
Video Quality: 9/10

The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. This is a film that will not rock the house from an audio standpoint, and it was never intended to. “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” is very light on sound effects from the rears as this is more of a front heavy presentation. When there are sound effects through rears, they do sound good. The soundtrack uses the soundfield a bit more than I expected. It helps give the sound that little dynamic punch. With this film being so dialogue driven, it takes the spotlight here. Dialogue comes through the center rather clean and crisp.
Audio Quality: 8.5/10

Special Features

  • Commentary with the director Mel Brooks
  • Funny Men in Tights: Three Generations of Comedy
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights – The Legend Had It Coming

Special Features: 6/10

Final Thoughts

I am glad to see that the Mel Brook’s films from the December collection are finally being released as stand alone. While I am not a fan of all his films, this is a great way to own the ones that you enjoy. “Men in Tights” is probably one of my most favorite Mel Brooks films and the laughs keep coming from start to finish. On Blu-ray this film is a significant upgrade over the DVD and would urge fans to upgrade.
Overall Rating: 8/10