The Last Legion (Doug Lefler) 2007
Production Budget: $67 million
Worldwide Gross: about $10 million
The Last Legion is a Dino De Laurentis produced movie based off a 2003 novel about the basis of the Arthurian Legend. The book is about Ceasar Romulus (who is about 10 years old) whose life is threatened by the Goths. A small group of soldiers take Romulus to Britiania where the last legion of Roman soldiers are and a suitable base to defend against the hordes. There is not much to say about the production other than director Doug Lefler (whose only previous movie was Dragonheart: A New Begninning) was hired because he impressed De Laurentis during his work on said Dragonheart. The movie stars Colin Firth as Aurelius, Aishwarya Rai as a kind of Muslim ninja, and Ben Kingsley as Merlin. On Metacritic it scored a 37 out of 100 and 17% positive reviews from Rottentomatoes.
Is it any good? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I liked it. If you compare this movie to big budget epics of previous years like Kingdom of Heaven or Troy or Gladiator then you will wonder why this looks so cheap. I have been racking my brains for the past two days wondering what in the world made this cost $70 million dollars. I mean there is some CGI, and a few battle scenes, but nothing that would cost 70 freaking million dollars. Its very strange that I’m kind of giving this movie a pass as being a really good direct to video release (even though it had a minor theatrical release). But that is how I kind of learned about this title. I was browsing the DTV walls of my local Blockbuster and stumbled on this and I was pleasantly surprised.
You know what this movie kind of reminded me of? A Sharpe’s made for British tv movie. The acting is good, the stories are good, the production values are…alright, and it all feels like lighthearted action. I realize the story of Arthur and even the gimmick of showing the “true story of King Arthur” is played out, but if you view it is a lighthearted swashbuckling movie you will actually enjoy it. Heck, I can say I enjoyed it more than King Arthur. Colin Firth is an unusual choice to play the soldier hero, but it actually works. Ben Kingley has a fun time as Merlin and Aishwarya Rai does a good job in her limited role. One thing that doesn’t work is the romance between Rai and Firth. One minute they are allies in battle and the next they are in the sack? They really force it on us. The movie is only 1 hr and 40 minutes so it doesn’t overstay its welcome. As long as you aren’t expecting a whole lot, this is actually a fun DTV like title.