Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Last Legion

I watch a lot of forgettable movies, but this one may take the cake. I watched it yesterday, and already had to look up a plot synopses to refresh my memory. This movie is just a series of anti-climactic and underwhelming plot points. Any sort of plot character development can be spotted from the very beginning.

The Last Legion tells a fictionalized account of the fall of the Roman Empire. The story revolves around Romulus Augustus (Thomas Sangster), the prepubescent last descendant of Caesar. He comes to power as the empire is losing support, and their power is crumbling. A rival general tries to seize power and kidnaps Romulus. The royal guard- Aurelius (Colin Firth), his teacher- Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsly), and a seemingly random woman- Mira (Ashwaray Rai) fly to his aid. After rescuing him, they find out that his rival has taken control. They decide to flee to Britain in hopes of finding a legion of soldiers there that may still be loyal to Rome- hence the name.

The movie is essentially divided into two acts. The first is the search and rescue of Romulus, and the second is their final stand in Britain. The first part was like any action movie I've ever seen (medieval or present). A small band of good guys bust into a fortress gathered by a seemingly endless group of bad guys. Nothing original or even exciting there. The second half was a little better, with another small group making a stand against an even larger group. but still, nothing new, and not very exciting.

The main problem with this movie, is that it's just boring. The battle sequences are over as soon as they begin. They are almost carbon copies of the battle scenes in Tristram Shandy (the ones they were laughing at). If you're going to make a big budget, large scale movie, the product better match the ambition.

The acting was actually quite good. You can never go wrong with Colin Firth or Ben Kingsly. I wish the script was able to show off these talents better. Firth's speech to the troops before the final battle was anything but inspirational. "Defending the heart of Britania"? Is he referring to the single outpost they have control of?

It's a shame that a movie that sounded like it could actually be interesting turned out like it did. Any tale about the founding of England has potential, but this one was just a stretch. Feel free to go see it, but you probably won't remember it the next day.


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