The Last Legion
It's AD 476 and the Roman Empire is threatened after being a mighty force for almost 500 years. The Barbarians have taken over the city of Rome. Romulus Augustus (Thomas Sangster), heir of the Roman Emperor, escapes to join a small band of legionnaires led by Aurelius (Colin Firth), a warrior and loyal servant of Rome, along with Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley), the shaman who is a mentor and tutor to Romulus. There is also a mysterious and beautiful warrior named Mira (Aishwarya Rai) joining them in their search of Rome's ultimate legion.
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Review By Lim Chang Moh
For Malaysian audiences, the most compelling reason to watch "The Last Legion" is the eye-candy lure of Bollywood heartthrob Aishwarya Rai in its main cast. Aishwarya plays fearless Indian warrior Mira in this sword-and-sandal adventure set in AD 476. The much-touted introduction scene of Aishwarya emerging from the river turns out to be a bit of a letdown, and fans should not expect any sequence of her prancing around the trees with lead star Colin Firth either.
Instead, we have the two lovers seemingly locked in a mock swordplay - a medieval version of foreplay to their inevitable romance in this 'pulp epic'. And while Aishwarya provides the much-needed distraction to the fighting sequences, Firth looks perpetually gloomy and dour, as if he had accidentally wandered into the "Last Legion" movie set from another "Bridget Jones"-type production. We can only wonder if the producers had docked a part of his salary for such conduct.
"The Last Legion" is a 'rojak' (or hodgepodge) mix of Roman and Arthurian legends that must be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt. It is about the young emperor, Romulus Augustus Caesar (Thomas Sangster), who is in dire need of protection from the vile, rampaging Goths led by Odoacer (Peter Mullan). Swearing allegiance - 'to the last breath' - to Romulus are Commander Aurelius (Firth) and the wise-cracking Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley), the boy's guardian and tutor.
A surprise attack by Odoacer's henchman Wulfila (Kevin McKidd of HBO's "Rome") puts the Roman legionnaires on the run, and they are joined by Mira, a maiden warrior from Constantinople. Romulus' mission is to retrieve the sword of Julius Caesar (read: Excalibur) which is supposed to be the key to uniting Rome. After a twist or two in the plot, we find our heroes in Britannia where they must prepare for the climactic battle against the forces of Vortgyn (Harry Van Gorkum).
Director Doug Lefler, a veteran of small-screen sword-and-sorcery efforts like "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess", seems unsure of what to do with a feature movie and his cast of accomplished stars. So he just alternates talking sequences with fighting scenes. Both are rather trite and clichéd. The fighting scenes are so badly done that they make those in HBO's "Rome" look like classic efforts. The one face-saving factor is that the movie does not take itself seriously. The story is narrated by Kingsley's Ambrosinus, who, we are told, is famous for making up tall tales.
Still, audiences have the right to expect proper action and stunt choreography - and what we get here is lame stuff. It just makes us want to dig up our DVDs of "300" and "Gladiator" to satisfy our adrenaline cravings.
A fantasy movie with fairytale beings battling to keep the world of nature alive.
Cameron Diaz was seen squaring up to Leslie Mann on the set of The Other Woman.