Wednesday, 23 September 2020
The Last Legion
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Monday, 20 August 2007 00:00
It’s funny that I watched The Last Legion only a few nights ago, yet I’m having trouble remembering enough about it to write this review! That is actually a good omen for the film’s star Colin Firth. He’s probably sitting bolt upright in bed somewhere right now thinking, “Thank God that movie was just a bad dream!” And as with most nightmares the memories will fade fast. Pretty soon no one will even remember The Last Legion was ever made, which is very good news for Mr. Firth.

Set during the fall of the Roman Empire The Last Legion presents a historical basis for the legend of King Arthur, setting up Roman lineage for the legendary ruler. Romulus Augustus (Thomas Sangster) is just a boy when he is crowned Caesar and his parents are murdered by rebellious the rebellious Goths - the most likely motive for murder is their terrible acting! Romulus is exiled to prison on the island of Capri with his teacher Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley), who is actually Merlin. I’m not really sure what is so special about Merlin though since all he seems to manage here are a few parlor tricks involving trained birds flying in on cue. Really he’s just an Obi Wan Kenobe wannabe in a nightgown.
Meanwhile the staunchly loyal general Aurelius (Colin Firth) gathers up his remaining forces to rescue the annoying young ruler. The strongest of the fighters is a petite Byzantine warrior who, surprise, surprise, turns out to be a beautiful woman with a tongue as sharp as her sword. Or that is the impression she is supposed to convey, but really Mira (Aishwarya Rai) just sets loose her ample bosom to do the fighting for her.

While on Capri, Romulus finds the magical sword called Excaliber. How it came to be there is a mystery to me since this doesn’t fit in with any of the Arthurian legends. He is rescued and escapes with the sword to Britain, where they hope to find the last legion of Rome. Along the way they travel through what appears to be stock footage from The Lord of the Rings. The movie only gets worse when they finally arrive at their destination and discover that the military support they were seeking have all turned into peasants and farmers with no desire to fight for Rome who abandoned them. There is also a tyrant named Vortgyn who wants the sword. He wears an artsy gold mask and is always shown in slow motion ominously riding his horse.

The film is a mixed up swashbuckler that doesn’t know whether to make us to laugh or cry, and so we do neither. My boredom was such that I made up silly dialogue and running commentary a la Mystery Science Theatre 3000. The sexual tension between Firth and Rai is non-existent, and when they finally do get together there isn’t even an on-screen kiss to show for it. Doesn’t exactly make for a compelling romance.

The Last Legion is an unmemorable and pointless waste of… wait a minute… what movie was I reviewing again? I give it 2 out of 10 stars.