A warrior and a wizard embark on an action-packed mission to save the crumbling Roman empire and its young heir. As they battle across medieval Europe, their epic journey reveals the origin of the legendary sword Excalibur.
Sasha M. from HIALEAH, FL Reviewed on 1/14/2010...
I liked the idea of the film and the actors in it ... but I didn't like the film. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't an epic Roman, Arthurian story either.
It was very bland in my opinion and while, I love Colin Firth ... this was not one of his best films. He just doesn't come across as a solider, at least not in the same way Brad Pitt did in 'Troy' or Jason Issacs in 'The Patriot.' I think he should stick to drama and romantic comedies. Action films like this are not for him because he still acts very proper and very Shakespearean.
I give it 3 stars because it could have been better. But it could have been so much worse as well. Maybe next time.
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Historically inaccurate (as usual), but good nonetheless!
L Gontzes | Athens, Greece | 08/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Last Legion brings to the screen the fictional attempt by Rome's last emperor, Flavius Romulus Augustus, a.k.a. Romulus Augustulus, to rally the last remaining loyal legion, the Ninth a.k.a. the Dragon Legion, stationed in Britannia, in order to expel the Goths and resume control of the Empire. The Year is 460 A.D., 65 years since the death of Roman Emperor Theodosius the Great and the subsequent division of the Empire among his sons: the Western Roman Empire left to Honorius, and the Eastern Roman Empire left to Arcadius. Following Odoacer's treachery, his Goths have taken control of Rome forcing the young emperor to flee in search for possible allies for his possible return. His journey will take him to Hadrian's Wall in the far Northwestern part of the crumbling Western Roman Empire. The major setbacks are in relation to: 1) Romulus Augustulus did not come to power until 475, the year before the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Why would anybody want to change the date? 2) The Eastern Roman Empire never recognized Orestes, Romulus Augustulus, or Odoacer. 3) The battle/fight scenes could have been much better and much more realistic. Aside from that, the setting, the acting, the dialogues and the costumes are all wonderful! The movie relies mostly on a British cast, namely Thomas Sangster, Colin Firth, John Hannah, Ben Kingsley, Alexander Siddig (from Star Trek DS9 and Kingdom of Heaven) and Aishwarya Rai (who is GORGEOUS!). They and the rest of this AMAZING cast have truly outdone themselves with their performances, which are outstanding to say the least! All the actors, without exceptions, give it their 100% and it really shows! In conclusion, though not a masterpiece, The Last Legion will surely provide for an evening's entertainment. It is a movie definitely worth watching and one to seriously consider adding to your movie collection, especially for those with a soft spot for History and all things Roman. 4.5 Stars "
Roman togas and sandals vie with the Arthurian myth, with la
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 09/10/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is actually a 2-and-a-half star review of THE LAST LEGION.
This film purports to reveal the beginnings of the King Arthur myth. Legend says that a sword was once created for Julius Caesar, a sword forged from a fallen star in the barbaric land of Brittania. Down the long years, this sword, intertwined with a prophecy declaring its possessor to be "he who is destined to rule," was lost and in time became a mere rumor.
The year now is 460 A.D. Aurelius Antonius (Colin Firth) finds himself recalled to Rome and is assigned the Commander of the new Caesar's retinue of personal bodyguards. This new Caesar is twelve-year-old Romulus Augustus (Thomas Sangster of LOVE, ACTUALLY and NANNY MCPHEE), destined to be crowned as Rome's last emperor. His reign lasts for one day and ends with Rome being run over by the savage Goths. In the resulting invasion, most of Aurelius's men are killed and the young Caesar is captured and imprisoned in the forbidding Isle of Capri. Aurelius, with the very few legionnaires left him, undertakes a rescue mission, with the assistance of a mysterious Byzantine warrior, who turns out to be a beautiful, very lethal woman named Mira (Aishwarya Rai).
Against impossible odds and tons of sword fights, Romulus Augustus is rescued. But, now, he and his faithful legionnaires have run out of options but one. With the Roman legions having just sworn allegiance to the Goths, the one remaining hope lies in the forgotten 9th Legion, called the Dragon legion, which had been assigned to remote Brittania many years ago. But the Goths persist in their pursuit, and, in old Britain, Aurelius, Romulus, and their tiny band face a new peril. And the 9th Legion, which they had pinned their hopes on, is not what it once was...
So I walked into the movie theater with diminished expectations. I'd been waiting for THE LAST LEGION to reach U.S. soil for many months now. During that time, I haven't heard a lot of positive buzz about the film and the trailer, when it came out, didn't exactly pump me up. But never mind. The reason I still chose to watch this one was for Aishwarya Rai, who has a major role here. The American audience will mostly know her from the two indie films, Bride and Prejudice and The Mistress of Spices. But she's the biggest female star in India, and I count her to be the most beautiful woman in the world. If you're curious about Aishwarya in her native Hindi/Bollywood roles, please check out Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas (2 Disc Set), Chokher Bali, and/or Raincoat. In these films, she proves that she can act. Here, not so much.
Roman togas and sandals vie with the Arthurian myth. This movie is based on Italian historical novelist Valerio Massimo Manfredi's 2002 best seller book. I hope he got paid well, because he now has to live with this adaptation. Doug Lefler makes his directing debut here. He's had prior experience as the 2nd-unit director under the frenetic Sam Raimi in ARMY OF DARKNESS, A SIMPLE PLAN, and SPIDER-MAN. And, certainly, the action scenes border on decent to pretty darn good, especially when Mira is in action. But when there aren't vicious Goths or barbaric Brits to clobber, the film falls into a stupor. There's an abundance of plodding moments, including several unconvincing romantic scenes between Mira and Aurelius. When Mira cheesily tells him, "Nothing will ever part us again.", I cringed.
The acting let me down. Young Thomas Sangster just doesn't exude a commanding presence, let alone a regal aura. True, he's a kid and newly crowned, but his royal speeches aren't persuasive or inspiring. It's too bad as he was quite good in LOVE, ACTUALLY. Sangster's big moment comes when he confronts his tormentor and the slayer of his parents, but that sequence plays as perfunctory and half-hearted. As a climax to the big battle, it's not at all rousing. Regarding Aishwarya Rai, she has never looked more breathtaking, but her acting's been better. It's a good thing she has such a physical part here to distract the audience, because she's pretty wooden with her line delivery. She hasn't played such a rigorous action heroine before (she did play a thief in Dhoom 2), and she underwent some serious training (including some instruction in sword fighting) to get in shape for this one. She comes off well in her fight scenes. Her character Mira is such a gifted warrior that, at the age of 14, she had attained the 7th level of her particular school of martial arts. Aurelius wonders aloud how many levels there are. Mira matter-of-factly states, "Seven." But, let's face it, Aishwarya is featured here for the drool factor. I get the feeling she knew what kind of movie she was in but just wanted to get a foot in the door of mainstream Hollywood. When I saw her for the first time as she emerges from the water, her captivating eyes and gorgeous face instantly made the movie worth it. Lucky Colin, to play her love interest. Even in the cliff climbing scene, when Aurelius's noggin was being trampled on by Aishwarya's booted feet, I kept on thinking, "Lucky bloke."
Ben Kingsley, sad to say, sleepwalks thru his role of Ambrosinus. Man, what happened to him? From Gandhi to a crap role in BLOODRAYNE to this. The best actor here is Colin Firth, who isn't normally the most dynamic of thespians but who mostly gets by on British reserve and a certain quiet charm. I did think his speech to his warriors near the end was borderline stirring.
Not a lot of CG, but plenty of flesh and bone stunts, which lends a gritty texture to the film. THE LAST LEGION pales in comparison to the flashier sword and sandal epics like 300 (Two-Disc Special Edition). This one is more like the modest The 13th Warrior in its no frills B-movie elements. Director Doug Lefler reveals his inexperience in several areas. Some of my carpings: The sacking of Rome is presented in disjointed fashion and lacks the cinematic treatment it deserves, leaving me with a palpable cheated feeling. When Romulus is crowned and faces his subjects, that camera shot could've been more sweeping. The movie has one of its characters spouting a line designed to make you buy into the fact that there are thousands of invaders approaching, when in fact you only see a hundred or so bad guys storming out of the woods. There's a stone carving of Julius Caesar's face of which push button eyes are so plainly apart from the rest of the carving that it's a wonder no one's ever played around with 'em before and thus gained its secret. And, since I'm nitpicking, although I understand that there weren't many defenders there, the hails of arrows from the good guys looked pathetic. Lastly, the picture has a PG-13 rating, so it holds back on actually depicting scenes of folks getting punctured with spears and axes and such. If it was going for an epic feel, then it should've gone full out blood and guts.
The nitty gritty: THE LAST LEGION is a B-movie product which aspires to be an epic period actioner, but falls short. In its poor man's sword and sandal sensibilities and moderately scaled production values, this film settles somewhere in the middle of the pack. Because I'm such a big fan of Aishwarya, I was gonna see this one, no matter what. Folks who aren't as enamoured of her or who don't even know who she is are advised to wait for the dvd. Fair warning."
No Classic, But Old-Fashioned Epic Fun...
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 03/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, "The Last Legion" won't have you proclaiming it as the successor to "Gladiator" and "The Fall of the Roman Empire", but if your expectations aren't that high, and you enjoy sword-and-sandal epics offering a mix of Imperial Rome and Arthurian England, you may find this a very entertaining adventure...I certainly did!
Part of the reason is the casting, which is far better than you'd expect. Colin Firth is cast against type as a world-weary Roman general, assigned to protect the 12-year old Caesar (Thomas Sangster), and he is terrific, very capable in the action scenes, and with the acting chops to make even the silliest dialog sound believable. Matching him is the gloriously beautiful Indian superstar, Aishwarya Rai, as an Eastern Empire warrior. Her dialog may occasionally be a bit inane, but she has a dancer's grace with a sword, and the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen! As the mystic/tutor of Caesar, Ben Kingsley provides the link between the two legendary cultures, and grounds the film with his calm wisdom.
While the less-than-overwhelming armies betray the film's budget, the scenes of Imperial Rome are quite impressive, and the film does have the mandatory sweeping vistas, and sword-swinging heroics that action fans will enjoy. And as a foundation of Arthurian legend, I found this version far more plausible than the recent "King Arthur".
"The Last Legion" is far better than you might think, based on the reviews; give it a chance, with an open mind...you may be surprised! "
The Last Legion?
Walter M. Speck | Florissant, Missouri United States | 09/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Hey, what do this film and the book have in common? The title. And that's about it. What could have been a Roman Indiana Jones thriller, is a middle of the road, sword and sandal epic wannabe. Boasting a huge cast and acting potential with the likes of Ben Kingsley and Colin Firth, etc., it just didn't blossom due to a poor screenplay. So why the three stars? Well, I like Ben Kinsley,Colin Firth, and the multitude of other actors many will recognize,gives it one star. Roman history is my bag, and these guys did well for the budget, that's two. The film also deals with the Arthur legend and its beginnings, and who doesn't like King Arthur, a personal preference,that makes three stars. So, if you don't like one or all of these these don't watch it, rent it or buy it, and please don't pirate it! If you do, then give it try, and enjoy a pretty good, old fashion action/adventure movie. The Kid gets the crown, the good guy the girl, and the bad guy the axe, literally."
Possibly the WORST major film I've ever seen
David Null | Claremont, CA United States | 01/09/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The real mystery is how such distinguished actors could have become involved in this mishmash of genres and misstatements of basic historical facts.
Ben Kingsley plays Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi right down to the light-saber duel at the end. There is a Bollywood actress who does kung-fu moves. The fact that the Roman Empire had been Christianized is conveniently omitted to emphasize the occult elements.
The Ninth Legion had left Britain about 300 YEARS before these events supposedly took place. Even if there were some remnants still in Britain, the notion that during the hundreds of years since they had any communication with Rome, they would remain loyal to someone who claimed to be "emperor" is laughable.
Of course the whole point of the story is stupid since Little Augustus, "the "Last Caesar" was not a descendent of Julius Caesar at all, but rather appointed emperor by his father, a Roman general.
There are lots of completely ahistorical scenes, like castles that wouldn't appear for another 1000 years and men riding horses with stirrups that wouldn't reach Europe for 400 years. The capital of the Western Roman Empire wasn't even Rome but Ravenna when this story supposedly takes place.
My honest pity goes out to all the fine actors that were wasted in this. Ben Kingsley would have been better off taking a part in "Cleaver" which was proposed for him on "The Sopranos"!"