I had heard about The Last Legion a while back but then it was as if it dropped off the face of the earth. Recently I had the chance to catch The Last Legion, and being a fan of movies during the Roman Empire, I jumped at the chance. The movie doesn’t follow any true historical events so one would hope the freedom of fiction would allow for some great dialogue and action, unfortunately it didn’t deliver.
There were a couple deal breakers that soured my mood while watching the movie. The biggest being the plot. The movie’s setting takes place during the decline of the Roman Empire and the rise of the Goths within Rome. For Rome to rise to power again, the latest Caesar, Romulus Augustus, played by Thomas Sangster, must hope to find the sword that gives great power to the rightful wielder of it. To aid him he has his General Aurelius, played by Colin Firth, the captain of the guards, his teacher Ambrosinus , played by Ben Kingsley, and the beautiful Mira, played by Aishwarya Rai, an Indian warrior from the Eastern Empire in Constantinople. Together they journey to gather the forces of the Ninth Legion stationed at Hadrian’s Wall in Britannia. They hope to rally the Ninth Legion to reclaim Rome and Caesar’s rightful place at the throne. Sound a bit like a movie that came out a couple years ago with Clive Owen, Keira Knightley, Ray Masterson and a few other, what was the name? Oh yeah, King Arthur. You’d be surprised how closely related it is.
Besides the plot, the acting and the dialogue were extremely cheesy. There were times I was unintentionally laughing, but for some reason I pressed on. I think one of the biggest disappointments to me was Kevin McKidd’s character Wulfila. I’m a big fan of McKidd’s, I loved him in Rome as Lucius Vorenus, but in The Last Legion he’s awful. Not that he’s a bad actor, it’s just that he’s working with a bad script. He’s your stereotypical barbarian that makes it to the end, only to be vanquished by the hero. By the way, what was up with all the Viking helmets the Goths were wearing? I haven’t seen so many Viking helmets since seeing fans at a Minnesota Vikings game.
Even though there isn’t much going for it, I must admit that I did sit through the entire thing and was rather pleased. Sure it’s campy and cheesy, but it’s rather endearing if you don’t take the movie very seriously. If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted movie that’s not full of gore, intense violence or much of anything else, this is it.