The Last Legion Doug Lefler

The Last Legion Doug Lefler

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 Rome’s weakness, attack the city and depose the young Caesar, banishing him to an island prison where he finds Julius Caesar’s 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 Hadrian’s Wall. The legion does battle with an evil tyrant and establishes what will eventually become King Arthur’s 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 doesn’t stand up to the quality modern filmgoers have come to expect from an epic swashbuckler, it’s not without its charm when viewed in the same light as Xena: Warrior Princes or Hercules. Though you wouldn’t 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 wouldn’t recommend anyone over the age of 12 going see this film, and I’d even advise kids to wait until DVD, I can’t say that The Last Legion is bad; it just doesn’t fit into a world that doesn’t have Saturday afternoon kids matinees anymore. (Alliance Atlantis)