Sat 18 Aug 2007
These two should be looking for their agents … with more than a stick in hand.
At some point, will they rescind the knighthood bestowed upon “Sir” Ben Kingsley? Sure, there’s “Gandhi”, “The House of Sand and Fog” and “Sexy Beast” … there’s also “Thunderbirds”, “Bloodrayne” and now “The Last Legion”.
A fantasy “epic” narrowly steeped in history and big on ridiculousness, the film weaves the end of the Caesar bloodline into the legend of King Arthur. (Trust me, do not worry about how many years apart those events are supposed to be.)
For some reason, the filmmakers chose to cast Colin Firth as the stoic hero … ignoring the fact that his most notable roles are in such lighthearted fare as “Bridget Jones Diary” and “Love Actually”. Then they compounded that miscasting by bringing in one of Bollywood’s most beautiful and well known actresses, Aishwarya Rai, to play a highly skilled warrior/love interest and Sir (for now) Ben Kingsley to be the wise and mysterious mentor to little Caesar (Thomas Sangster, also of “Love Actually” fame).
The CG is hilariously bad, the picturesque castle views are all obvious matte paintings and the tone of the film was up and down, at times approaching something light hearted and fun like “The Princess Bride” and more often being something that would have appeared on “MST3K”.
Much of that must be due to the director, Doug Lefler, who seemed to fall back on his days of directing TV episodes of “Hercules” and “Xena”. Essentially, if you liked those shows and are in need of something you can watch while intoxicated and no one in the audience minds you shouting out comments, then “The Last Legion” is for you.
It tries to be epic in nature but it changes its focus midway through and never gets back to the initial crisis in the film, the traveling montage was like a very cheap ripoff of “Lord of the Rings” meets “Krull”, and watching Colin Firth fight is like watching your drunk Uncle dance at a wedding.
All of which allows me to honestly say that I haven’t had as good of a time making fun of a movie in a while. There are so many elements to this film that are hokey and hilarious that Audrey Hess, Elizabeth Edgemont and I couldn’t help ourselves.
Perhaps my favorite comments were seeing Kingsley excited about reaching the shores of Britain and likening it to the Taco Bell commercials (“I’m Full!”) … then of course there was Firth’s big battle speech whereupon Elizabeth Edgemont let us know it was “our Independence Day” and I mentioned that he was “going to get in a boat and head up river … who’s coming with me!?!”.
If you get any or all of those comments, you see what kind of film you’re in for here. Really the only debate was how long we’d wait to rent it once it comes to DVD and have our own private screening with friends and alcohol. (I think the consensus is three days.)
Should you be looking for some cheesy, terrible goodness, please feel free to check out “The Last Legion”. It gets a 1 out of 5 and has been added to the Craptactular list of films. Now I think I’ll take that drink.