The Last Legion is a juvenile "sword and sandals epic that seems out of place in contemporary film culture. When compared to recent offerings of the genre, such as The Lord of the Rings, 300 or even The Pirates of the Caribbean, The Last Legion comes across as dated and uninspired.
Romulus Augustus (Thomas Sangster) has just been crowned Emperor, the child ruler of the crumbling Roman Empire. The Gauls, seeing Romes weakness, attack the city and depose the young Caesar, banishing him to an island prison where he finds Julius Caesars legendary sword. Romulus is soon rescued by Aurelius (Colin Firth) and the last legion of patriotic Roman soldiers. The Caesar and the small band of soldiers escape the Gauls prison and head to Britannia to enlist the help of the legendary Ninth Legion of Rome at Hadrians Wall. The legion does battle with an evil tyrant and establishes what will eventually become King Arthurs Camelot.
Loosely based on the novel by Valerio Massimo Manfredi, The Last Legion is the pre-cursor to the legend of King Arthur. While The Last Legion doesnt stand up to the quality modern filmgoers have come to expect from an epic swashbuckler, its not without its charm when viewed in the same light as Xena: Warrior Princes or Hercules. Though you wouldnt know it from the commercials that are trying to draw in older viewers, The Last Legion is a kids movie and as a kids movie, it has a few enjoyable moments. The 17-year-old Sangster gives the most impressive performance in the film, managing to portray a young Caesar without precociousness or pretence, as well as hold his own amongst an all-adult cast of seasoned actors.
While I wouldnt recommend anyone over the age of 12 going see this film, and Id even advise kids to wait until DVD, I cant say that The Last Legion is bad; it just doesnt fit into a world that doesnt have Saturday afternoon kids matinees anymore. (Alliance Atlantis)