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DVD Review

The Last Legion


Starring: Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley, Aishwarya Rai, Peter Mullan, Kevin McKidd and John Hannah
Momentum Pictures
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 18 February 2008

AD 476. The Roman Empire is crumbling and the last Emperor is fleeing for his life. His only safety is to be found in his mystic father figure and in the hands of his bodyguard and an enigmatic Byzantine warrior. His only sanctuary lies in the far-flung Western outpost of Britannia with the Last Legion - and a myth...

The Roman Empire is being held to ransom by the Barbarians. On the eve of the coronation of the 12-year-old Romulus Augustus, his mentor, the shaman Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley), predicts disaster. His worst fears are realised as the Goths attack the once-great city of Rome and capture the last Emperor and his protector. They are imprisoned on the historic island of Capri, where Romulus is destined to discover the mythical sword of Caesar that holds the prophecy: "One edge to defend, one to defeat; In Britannia was I forged... to fit the hand of he... who is destined to rule."

One legionnaire survives to escort his Emperor to safety - the boy’s loyal bodyguard, Aurelius (Colin Firth). Aided by a mysterious black-clad Byzantine warrior (Aishwarya Rai) and Ambrosinus’ strategic cunning, Aurelius frees Romulus only to face betrayal and a fight for their lives. With the world against them, their only course of action is to reach the one legion loyal to Rome. They face a perilous trek across a continent to Britain in search of The Last Legion.

The Last Legion is an action packed fantasy adventure that takes some historical details and puts an interesting spin on them. Romulus Augustus did exist, according to historical records, and was imprisoned as the Roman army fell.

The rest of the movie follows the few remaining soldiers of Romulus, who survived the onslaught of his land, and their quest to free their Caesar and take him out of harms way. They believe that the only land to still be held by the Romans is Britannia, and so they head off to rejoin their brothers.

But it's the movie's final battle and interesting concluding twist that will leave the viewer with a warm glow. Sadly, a lot of the film's own marketing, as well as online retail stores, spoil the neat little twist in this movie in the opening sentence of their synopsis, which is a shame as once you know what conclusion the film is heading towards a lot of its magic is lost. But then so does the tag line on the DVD box... which is a crying shame.

Extras include Making of (26 min featurette that goes behind the scenes of the movie); Fight Rehearsals (11 min 20 sec look at some of the training sessions with both the stunt actors and movie's actors); Deleted Scenes (18 min 33 sec look at scenes cut from the movie. Only the last five minutes are really worth your attention); Storyboards (which can only be played on a PC); and the Theatrical Trailer.

This is an enjoyable movie that will entertain both young and old. And the ending, which for some reason the director insists on beating us over the head with, will leave you with a warm glow for some time to come.


Darren Rea

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