Wednesday, October 24, 2007

THE LAST LEGION - more dodgy accents than a Pink Panther flick!

THE LAST LEGION is transparent nonsense, reminiscent of piss-poor toungue-in-cheek Saturday morning serials like HERCULES and XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS. So it comes as no surprise to find that its director, Doug Leffer, actually worked on those shows! This feature film transposes the same poor production values, clunky dialogue and hammy acting to the Arthurian legends of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae. Rome has fallen to the Goths and young Romulus Caesar (Thomas Sangster) flees to Britain with a trusted Commander (Colin Firth) and his band of loyal soldiers including the trickster who will become Merlin (Ben Kingsley). The young Caesar is also clutching the sword that will become Excalibur. The merry band also includes, somewhat absurdly, a Keralan swordswoman played by Aishwarya Rai. In Britain, Romulus hooks up with the remnants of the last loyal legion of Rome and fights off the tyrannical Anglian king, Vortigen at Hadrian's Wall. He then decides not to contest the Western Empire but to live in peace, siring King Arthur.

As I said, this is all good clean sword-swinging fun, and if done well, could have been as beloved as the LORD OF THE RINGS. Sadly, we are in porcine territory, with quality British character actors resorting to panto. Kevin McKidd is particularly ridiculous as a Goth assassin but Ben Kingsley is also excruciatingly awful as Merlin. His Scottish(?) accent hovers uncertainly and just check out the scene where he lands at Dover to see how NOT to act. Poor Colin Firth is ludicrously mis-cast in the Russell Crowe-style Roman Commander role. He looks faintly bored throughout and despite not shaving for a couple of days always carries himself like a barrister. Surprisingly, Aishwarya Rai is one of the better cast members despite her sorry history in English-language films. A long career in absurd Bollywood flicks enables her to utter hokey dialogue with complete conviction and no embarassment!

THE LAST LEGION is on global release.


  1. Ben Kingsley's accent is supposed to be Welsh, surely?

  2. Ben Kingsley's Welsh accent was pretty much astoundingly good for a yank. Distractingly so, in fact. (Source: I'm Welsh).