The Last Legion - film review
Don't read the first bit, if you don't want to know what happens.
What's it all about - The Place: Rome The Time: 476 AD. The Roman Empire is crumbling, the Goths are at the gates (although for some reason nearly all the Goths speak with Scots accents and look like a Scandinavian Battle Metal band). Twelve year old Romulus Augustus is being crowned Caesar. Turns out the Goths have been double crossed and are wanting a bit of barbarian revenge. So Colin Firth gets drafted in as head of the new Caesars personal bodyguard. But, blast and darn it, head Goth Odoacer and his army storm the city, killing the parents of Romulus before his eyes and taking him captive. A bad first day at the office for Colin Firth who, along with his closest cohorts, somehow survives the slaughter.
Romulus is captured along with his teacher Ambrosinus and taken to the island of Capri for some sun and sand. Naturally, Colin Firth rescues his fellow soldiers and nips off a bit sharpish to rescue Romulus, accompanied by a masked Byzantine warrior who turns out to be an Indian hottie called Mira. It's always the way.
They rescue Romulus and head back to hand him over to the Byzantine envoy who has promised sanctuary in Constaninople (which is a very big word), only to discover that Colin Firths best friend (and Roman senator), John Hannah has been indulging in double crossing and treachery. So, they have to find the Last Legion of the title, who it turns out have the misfortune to be stationed at Hadrians Wall.
Hotly pursued by angry Goths, they head off to Hadrians Wall only to discover that the Last Legion are no more. Well, they are, but they've all turned into farmers who're a wee bit feart of the local bad guy. But, thanks to Colin Firth, they rally one last time for Caesar and the Empire, creating a myth and a legend in the process.
Now, lot's of people have been saying that The Last Legion is a bit mince, but I have to disagree. Whilst it's not the greatest story ever told, it is a proper Boys Own Adventure. There are sword fights a-plenty, barbarian hordes running amok, a token hot chick, some bonus Fire! and a couple of proper battles. The photography and CGI are passable, and the locations are excellent (Tunisia and Slovenia, apparently).
Let's pause for a Historical Fact: Romulus Augustulus was an actual, genuine Western Roman Emperor (the Roman Empire was split in two by now) who reigned from 31 October 475 to 4 September 476. Reigning for only ten months, Romulus Augustus was deposed by the Germanic chieftain Odoacer and sent to live in the Castellum Lucullanum in Campania where he disappears from history. His deposition is often given as the official end of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
The Last Legion is the kind of film I used to get packed off to see at the Roxy every Saturday morning, surrounded by a couple of hundred of my fellow unruly boys, where we would whoop, holler, re-enact the fights and go "ugh", every time the hero made googly eyes at the hot chick. And as such, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a no-brainer romp of a film which had it been made 60 years ago would have had Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone hamming it up big style. Well worth the price of admission.
:twisted :twisted :twisted / 3 out of 5