The Last Legion (2 stars)

The Last Legion

(12A) 101min


Director Doug Lefler honed his questionable skills directing episodes of Xena: Warrior Princess before legendary producer Dino de Laurentiis let him loose on this risible slice of sword and sorcery buffoonery.

Falling well short of Gerry Butler’s butch intensity in 300, a miscast Colin Firth is the first problem, playing Roman warrior Aurelius with the air of a suburban bank manager at a fancy dress party. Aurelius is charged with putting together a kick-ass squad of legionnaires to defend the young Caesar (Thomas Sangster), aided by beardy weirdy pal Merlin (Ben Kingsley) and scantily clad fembot assassin Mira (Aishwarya Rai).

The Last Legion quickly throws away any chance at credibility as Aurelius’ merry band run into an ensemble of Scottish acting talent lurking shamefacedly behind a variety of unlikely beards and names – Peter Mullan, Kevin McKidd, John Hannah, Iain Glen and James Cosmo all turn up as Odoacer, Wulfia, Nestor, Orestes and Hrothgar respectively. And any anticipation of action is muted by the bloodless, passionless script provided by Jez Mojo Butterworth and his brother Tom (who last worked together on the abysmal Nicole Kidman vehicle Birthday Girl in 2001), which is distinguished only by a stream of accidental innuendos that make Lefler’s film of accidental and marginal comic interest. ‘I only wanted to look at it,’ squeals Caesar as the hapless Firth slips his sword back into his scabbard. Audiences are unlikely to feel the same way about The Last Legion.

Selected release from Fri 19 Oct.

The Last Legion

  • 2 stars
  • 2007
  • US / UK / France / Slovakia / Italy
  • 1h 41min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Doug Lefler
  • Written by: Valerio Massimo Manfredi (book), Jez Butterworth, Tom Butterworth, Carlo Carlei, Peter Rader
  • Cast: Colin Firth, Thomas Sangster, Ben Kingsley, Aishwarya Rai, Peter Mullan, Kevin McKidd

A risible slice of sword and sorcery buffoonery, with the miscast Firth playing Roman warrior Aurelius with the air of a suburban bank manager in fancy dress and an ensemble of Scottish acting talent hiding shamefacedly behind a host of unlikely beards and names. The stream of innuendos makes this film of accidental comic…