“The Last Legion”

last legion

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
January 18, 2008

Swordfights, battles, and betrayal fuel The Last Legion, which tells the story of the last emperor of Rome: a slight 12-year-old boy who is a descendent of Julius Caesar.

Protected by commander Aurelius (Colin Firth) and guided to an extent by the wizard Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley), Romulus (Thomas Sangster) is an unlikely leader. Too inexperienced to rule wisely, he also shows little of the fortitude and courage needed to be a great warrior.

After Romulus finds Caesar’s sword–the legendary excaliburnus–he begins a search for the fabled last legion that will help him save Rome.

Directed by Doug Lefler and produced by Dino De Laurentiis, the film has a clunky feel, thanks to uneven dialogue and fight sequences that are tepid at best. Portraying a female warrior, Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai is a beauty, but unconvincing in her athletic skills.

Kingsley makes the most of his role, chewing up the scenery and doing the best he can with some laughable lines.

But Firth is out of his element here. More thinking man than action hero, the charming Brit is sorely miscast in this movie, which would’ve benefited from having better CGI animation and, just as importantly, a more developed script.

With its broad strokes and lack of character development, The Last Legion actually would’ve worked better as a half-hour Saturday morning cartoon than a feature-length epic.

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