Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Last Legion (2007)

Re-imagining of the Arthurian legends via ancient Rome.

The plot of the film has a young boy crowned emperor in literally the waning days of the Roman empire. When the Goths invade he is captured by them and thrown into prison. Rescued, he and his few remaining men go to Britain to find the last legion. (And I forgot the bit about Ceasar's lost sword)

Based on part of a novel by Valerio Manfredi this film suffers from compression. There is simply no way that the amount of plot in this film can be held in 100 minutes. It's not possible. Well actually, it is possible since that's the case on screen. This epic tale screams to be at least an hour to an-hour-and-a-half longer (miniseries anyone?). The removal of any number of plot details leaves little time for anything but action, action, and more action. The action is quite good but the investment in the story is lessened since all we have are the characters heroic efforts to build character and plot points. For example the villain in Ben Kingsley's past is given way too little screen time to really be much of anything.

Over all I really liked the film. It's a perfect rainy day movie. Granted I didn't pay 11 bucks to see this in theaters, rather seeing an import DVD, so I was saved from overpaying for it. This is now out in the US on DVD so you can throw it into your Netflix cue. To be certain some of the sequences seem to have been filmed with TV in mind; still the sets are opulent, and the cast, especially Kingsley, are dynamite. As I complained rather loudly above the flaw of the film is that it's much too short to do all the things it wants to do. If you can forgive that and enjoy the look of the movie and the action you'll have a good time. Just remember to make lots of popcorn.

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