2020-01-30 02:22 KST  
  RSS
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
JapanFocus
'Last Legion' Wields a Weak Sword
Arthurian tale better with action than dialogue
Brian Orndorf (briano)     Print Article 
Published 2007-08-19 11:53 (KST)   
©2007 Dino De Laurentiis Company
Swashbuckle is in curious short supply in "Last Legion," a mythology-flavored fantasy epic from Dino De Laurentiis' epic factory, tossed unmercifully into U.S. theaters this weekend with only a wisp of marketing and no press screenings. Despite this treatment, typically associated with the kiss of death, "Legion" actually holds a small spark of pleasing adventure making it passable matinee fare, just don't ask too much from it.

In the declining days of Rome, a young king named Romulus (Thomas Sangster, "Love Actually") is crowned. When evil forces storm the city, the boy, protected by royal officer Aurelius (Colin Firth), is taken to the countryside to find safety with his mentor, Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley). When it's learned that most Roman forces have been eliminated, it's up to Aurelius to lead his band of men, along with a strange warrior from a foreign land (Aishwarya Rai), to a safe harbor where they can regroup and prepare to fight back. Along the way, Romulus discovers his destiny when he uncovers a special sword called Excalibur, meant only for the bravest of leaders.

There's considerable proof throughout "Last Legion" that some serious coin was spent to bring this peculiar story to the screen. The production didn't skimp out on the details, mounting a lavish costume spectacle that's ready to rumble, yet is assigned a lumbering story to sort out. Frightened to lean too heavily toward the fantasy elements of the plot, "Legion" crumbles when it focuses on banal Roman political maneuvering. There's a multitude of sniveling double-crosses and protracted battle planning in the script, which doesn't hold much interest. With actors in bad wigs and covered in ornate battle armor, taking elongated breaks between the action beats to chat endlessly about political allegiances seems to defeat the purpose of this gallant affair.

  TODAY'S TOP STORIES
OMNI's New Approach to Citizen Journalism
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Technology Can Save Money, Planet
[Opinion] Iran Defends Peaceful 'Right'
Couchsurfing in Gaza
  FROM THE SECTION
Blissfully Yours
An Education
[Opinion Essay] J셙ccuse!
The Blind Side
Last Train Home
Once "Legion" turns its attention back to swordplay and displays of courage, the film perks up considerably. While a victim of jumbled editing to snip out the bloody bits, the film still mounts some impressive moments of derring-do. Firth and Rai (the oddest screen coupling of the year) get the most out of the action sequences, both playing against type, but still delivering hot-blooded performances that drink heavily from the well-worn cup of screen heroism. "Legion" isn't ambitious with its fight choreography, preferring the standard assortment of good vs. evil match-ups to play the film close to mainstream tastes. It won't blow your socks off, but it's more satisfying than expected. Children will certainly dig it.

At the midway point, it's obvious "Legion" doesn't have much narrative gas. A crucial mistake is made with the introduction of the villain at the hour mark, making his streak of violence short-lived and unremarkable. Once the film curls up in the lap of Arthurian legend at the conclusion of the picture, "Legion" has overstayed its welcome, ruining what should've been a very eloquent introduction to the Excalibur story. However, "Last Legion" isn't completely lacking in entertainment value, just inspiration. Trust me; it's worth the price of admission to see Firth, an actor of such steely emotional reserve, play butch for two hours in a Mike Brady perm.

B-
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Brian Orndorf

Add to :  Add to Del.icio.usDel.icio.us |  Add to Digg this Digg  |  Add to reddit reddit |  Add to Y! MyWeb Y! MyWeb

Ronda Hauben
 
Netizens Question Cause of Cheonan Tragedy
Michael Werbowski
 
[Opinion] Democracy's Downfall
Michael Solis
 
Arizona's Immigration Bill and Korea
Yehonathan Tommer
 
Assassination in Dubai
[ESL/EFL Podcast] Saying No
Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
How worried are you about the H1N1 influenza virus?
  Very worried
  Somewhat worried
  Not yet
  Not at all
    * Vote to see the result.   
KOREA WORLD SCI&TECH ART&LIFE ENTERTAINMENT SPORTS GLOBAL WATCH INTERVIEWS PODCASTS
  copyright 1999 - 2020 ohmynews all rights reserved. internews@ohmynews.com Tel:+82-2-733-5505,5595(ext.125) Fax:+82-2-733-5011,5077