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The Last Legion
DVD disk
01.16.2008 By: Jason Adams
The Last Legion order
Director:
Doug Lefler

Actors:
Colin Firth
Ben Kingsley
Aishwarya Rai

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
During the fall of ancient Rome, a bodyguard, a sorcerer and an Indian warrior fight to protect the life of the child emperor Romulus Augustus and his magical sword Excalibur.

Wait, what?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Where did this movie come from? Itís obviously a big budget historical epic with a large scale production, numerous special effects shots, and a cast with some decent names, yet I never even heard of THE LAST LEGION. And for good reason too, apparently.

While itís definitely big in terms of the scale of the battles, the size of sets, and the number of extras, the film looks and feels more like a TV movie. The tone is undeniably hokey, as is the equally bad script. (ďYou fought like a dragon!Ē) The action scenes arenít that exciting, suffering from bland fight choreography and PG-13 violence. Technically the movie is well-shot and takes advantage of its exotic locales, but the whole thing just lacks any discernible style other then "generic." It was hard to really describe it, until I looked up director Doug Leflerís previous work, which included directing gigs for the old Hercules and Xena TV shows. And thatís what THE LAST LEGION feels like; a longer, more expensive episode of Hercules or Xena.

I would say itís impressive they landed Ben Kingsley for this movie, but the man continues to sell out on an epic level. Here he plays a sorcerer with bad facial hair and no apparent powers, save for the one time he turns a rock in to feathers. As for Colin Firth, you can tell he wants to try something different from his previous romantic and dramatic roles, but I never completely bought him as a smoldering badass warrior. The same goes for international hottie Aishwarya Rai. She handles herself convincingly enough during the action scenes, but the thought of her as a master swordswoman is just funny. (Though I do like how they manage to consistently show off her cleavage, even though sheís supposed to be wearing heavy armor.)

One last thing; I donít know if the Romulus-Excalibur connection has any real historical basis, but the Arthurian legend just doesnít feel like it fits in to this movie. The only real connection is a forced bit of exposition at the end. I vaguely recall the real Arthur having some link to the Romans, but seeing the kid Caesar actually throw the mythical sword in to the stone is one of the more ridiculous things in a movie already chockfull of ridonkulousness.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary by director Doug Lefler: Wow, legendary producer Dino de Laurentis actually had a hand in this movie. Aside from that shocking bit of news, Lefler gives a fine commentary. But is it worth seeing the movie again over? Probably not.

Deleted Scenes (17:35): There are actually a couple scenes and extended bits here that work. Pity they werenít in the final cut.

Fight Scene Choreography (11:40): For each of the major fights, they present some raw training footage, which is nice to see without any talking heads. Also, hot blonde girl standing in for Aishwarya Rai kicks ass, literally.

Making THE LAST LEGION (20:41): Some of the behind-the-big-battle stuff was cool, but the rest is just your typical interviews and film footage.

From the Directorís Sketchbook (6:44): The same old boring side by side storyboard to film comparisons for two action sequences.

And a Trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE LAST LEGION is supposed to tell one (or two) of historyís greatest legends; however, the only thing I took away from it was how amazingly hot Aishwarya Rai is. A younger audience may be able to overlook the flaws in this movie and enjoy the adventure story, but thatís not me.

Extra Tidbit: Director Doug Lefler also directed second unit on a lot of stuff for Sam Raimi (SPIDER-MAN, A SIMPLE PLAN, ARMY OF DARKNESS).
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