From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

No Objectivity: Never-Asked Questions about “The Last Legion”

The Last Legion is a sweeping historical epic that follows the last Roman Emperor (aged twelve), Colin Firth as a military general, a bunch of character actors who needed the money, and Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai. One of these people will become Uther Pendragon, but before we get into all that, you’ll have questions. Below, Genevieve helpfully talks you, the Unsuspecting Viewer, through this godforsaken film.

The Last Legion movie poster


Unsuspecting Viewer: So, Ben Kingsley’s in this?

Genevieve: Yup. He’s a Druid! Or a magician. Or a Jedi. They never say.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Where is he from? That accent’s really shitty.

Genevieve: Foreignlandia.

Unsuspecting Viewer: And this is Rome?

Genevieve: Yup.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Like, This! Is! Roooo –

Genevieve: Stop.

Unsuspecting Viewer: So, Colin Firth’s in this?

Genevieve: Yup. He’s a General. General Politeness.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Aww. Thomas Sangster! He’s so adorable.

Genevieve: Yup.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is…that a token black dude?

Genevieve: …yeah.

Last Legion - Token Black Dude

Unsuspecting Viewer: So they catch the kid playing around with the armor and threaten to cut off his hand, to much amusement. Is it funny to joke about cutting a kid’s hand off?

Genevieve: Rome had a different sense of what was funny.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is that Orlando Bloom as one of the special extras?

Genevieve: Nah, his face moves too much.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is it…weird the way Colin is looking at this kid?

Genevieve: Yup.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Oh my God, is Ben Kinglsey actually supposed to be a Jedi for real with that staff?

Genevieve: I’m sure it’s just the latent properties of his Qui-Gon Jinn wig.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Oh my God, is that Roman senator John Hannah?

Genevieve: Hey, it’s been a decade since The Mummy! Rent was due!

Unsuspecting Viewer: So, what’s the plot so far?

Genevieve: Uh, this kid climbs statues, and Colin Firth is a general, and Ben Kingsley is a Jedi. And there’s a big parade! A hundred, no– two hundred extras ate for free that day! Then Kiddo’s crowned Caesar in a Byzantine temple with a huge Christian cross!

Unsuspecting Viewer: OMG Byzantium? In Rome?

Genevieve: OMG RIGHT?

Unsuspecting Viewer: …but that’s weird.

Genevieve: I know. Anyway, Kingsey’s fired by the Emperor’s daddy for having a shitacular accent. Colin Firth walks him out for a little Druidy exposition about protection and honor and duty and fate and stuff. Then it’s a quick conference with John Hannah and home in time to become the new head of Kiddo’s personal guard.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is it…weird the way Colin is looking at Ben Kingsley?

Genevieve: Yup.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is it…weird the way Colin is looking at John Hannah?

Genevieve: Yup.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Look, does Colin just walk around making bedroom eyes for two hours?

Genevieve: Yup. Is that okay with you?

Unsuspecting Viewer: Hell yes it is. Go on.

Genevieve: So anyway, they’re betrayed and attacked! By some Celty people who apparently want one-third of Rome and Colin Firth’s hot body.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Oh my God, is that Celtic barbarian guy KEVIN MCKIDD?

Genevieve: RENT WAS DUE.

Unsuspecting Viewer: You’re secretly enjoying this, aren’t you?

Genevieve: Look, Colin Firth just survived the sack of Whatever City This Is. I’m going to keep enjoying it until he takes the big sleep, okay?

Unsuspecting Viewer: Oh my God, is that random messenger DOCTOR BASHIR?

Genevieve: RENT.

Unsuspecting Viewer: I’m sorry, the bad guy’s name is Odawaka?

Genevieve: Something like that. I didn’t make up the names.

Unsuspecting Viewer: So on the way to Capri, Colin Firth is going to single-handedly get the kid back and then run to the “Eastern Empire” for sanctuary just because Dr. Bashir said it would be totally cool?

Genevieve: Look, this is about the fall of Rome. And Rome fell because of Colin Firth being a moron, okay?

Unsuspecting Viewer: And Aishwarya Rai?

Aishwarya Rai and Colin Firth

Genevieve: Look, unmarried wimmins were constantly running around being warriors and shit in the Eastern Empire of Foreignlandia, okay?!

Unsuspecting Viewer: Okay, okay!

Genevieve: I just wish you’d get off my back sometimes about things I can’t help, you know?

Unsuspecting Viewer: I’m sorry. So how’s she doing?

Genevieve: She walks in slow motion towards a lusty fisherman and then punches him right off the dock so they can steal his boat.

Unsuspecting Viewer: …huh!

Genevieve: Sadly, that’s more interesting then the next part where Ben Kingsley gets strung up by Kevin McCeltic and he sees Excalibur. In Capri. Just…in a house in Capri. You know, whatever. Oh, also, Romulus “Kiddo” Caesar finds Excalibur in one of the Lara Croft reject scenarios where you push on some mosaic’s eyelids and drop three stories through some wooden beams and remain utterly unhurt.

Unsuspecting Viewer: I played that one when I was thirteen!

Genevieve: I’ll bet you did.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Shut up.

Genevieve: Anyway, then Aishwarya handles the huge lance between Colin’s legs until he shoots it straight into the sky.

Unsuspecting Viewer: WHAT?

Genevieve: Look, I just report the news, okay?

Unsuspecting Viewer: Ugh. What the hell. Talk about the kid, that other stuff’s disgusting.

Genevieve: He finds a sword. Whatever. I’m sure it’s not important.

Unsuspecting Viewer: And then?

Genevieve: Oh, I dunno, Aishwarya Rai takes out, like, six dudes with a big sword-dance thing, right in front of all the special extras who are standing around feeling like dorkasses.

Unsuspecting Viewer: …you’re ENJOYING this.

Genevieve: Oh, so sorry, how selfish of me to enjoy a movie scene! Let me slap Aztec Rex in my DVD player right away!

Unsuspecting Viewer: Okay, okay, calm down. So Aishwarya kicks ass and takes names. That’s nice.

Genevieve: Yeah. Then Colin rescues Kiddo.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Um, is it weird how Kiddo is hugging Colin tightly and Colin’s staring kind of soulfully into Kiddo’s eyes in the middle of –

Genevieve: Yup.

Colin Stares Soulfully... into the eyes of a small child.  ew.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Wait, so everyone bails? And Colin’s fighting the same twelve extras, like, four more times! What about his special extras?

Genevieve: In the boat, being extra-y, waiting for Colin and Aishwarya to jump off the cliff and get in the boat already.

Unsuspecting Viewer: God, they’re so selfish! I hate when people keep me waiting.

Genevieve: Right?

Unsuspecting Viewer: So, the sword?

Genevieve: Belonged to Julius Caesar.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Oh, of COURSE.

Genevieve: Listen, Ben Kingsley says so. Jedi don’t lie.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Sometimes they do.

Genevieve: Okay, save it for Comic-Con. Look, beach! Bashir and John Hannah look like they spent the day in a sunbeaten-squinting contest. If one of them didn’t rat out the Romans to the Celts I’m going to be very surprised.

Unsuspecting Viewer: And the young Caesar?

Genevieve: Oh, he’s only a little boy. A creepy, needy little boy who is constantly hugging people as soon as they come within reach of his freakish, spidery arms.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Dude, Bashir and John Hannah were BOTH in on the plot to sell out the Romans! Colin and crew are gonna have to kill some character actors and bust out!

Genevieve: Damn, I’m good.

Unsuspecting Viewer: So wait, Ben Kingsley’s Gandalf the Molotov Cocktail-thrower now?

Genevieve: …I just report the news. Anyway, Colin kills John Hannah, and Aishwarya kills Bashir, and now they’re both outlaws and whatever!

a well-composed shot

Unsuspecting Viewer: Ooh, a well-composed shot! At the fifty-four minute mark.

Genevieve: It’s like a treat for making it halfway through.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is it weird how Kiddo is looking at Colin –

Genevieve: YES, IT IS WEIRD, WHAT CAN I DO.

Unsuspecting Viewer: …holy shit, is their mountain pass the Pass of Carahdras?

Genevieve: Dude, it totally is! I call shenanigans!

Unsuspecting Viewer: …and didn’t they land at the same beach they just left?

Genevieve: I guess they ran out the budget flying to New Zealand for the mountain-pass shot.

Unsuspecting Viewer: So how do you get from the mountain passes to the beach with no indication of a boat.

Genevieve: Colin Firth threw them across the sea one at a time.

Unsuspecting Viewer: …IS THE CELTIC RUFFIAN GUY A LUCHA LIBRE WRESTLER?

Genevieve: NO COMMENT.

Lucha Libre?

Unsuspecting Viewer: Okay, so in the face of El Celtico over there, what do the Romans do?

Genevieve: Uh…Hadrian’s Wall something something taking refuge in a village something.

Unsuspecting Viewer: You were lost in Colin Firth’s eyes, weren’t you?

Genevieve: They’re like puppies. Beautiful brown puppies.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Well, can you wake up and explain why Ben Kingsley is Marion the Librarian at story hour over at the village?

Genevieve: Look, when metal falls from the sky someone has to tell someone else about it, or how else would you know from what the magical sword of Julius Caesar was forged?

Unsuspecting Viewer: Okay, I don’t even know where to begin with all the wrong in that sentence.

Genevieve: I know. Just concentrate on Colin Firth and Aishwarya pretending to flirt. And then fighting with swords!

Unsuspecting Viewer: Oh, just make out, you guys.

Genevieve: RIGHT?

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is it weird how the twelve-year-old Kiddo asks to get in bed with Aishwar –

Genevieve: YES.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Was there supposed to be a Roman legion around here someplace?

Genevieve: Look, I can’t help you. Every time they show Colin Firth I forgive the movie everything.

Unsuspecting Viewer: …is this LORD OF THE RINGS MUSIC?

Genevieve: Well, I won’t be forgiving THAT.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Do they ever explain why everyone has British accents except Ben Kingsley?

Genevieve: Nope.

Unsuspecting Viewer: So, is Kingsley like a Druid, or a wizard, or – I mean, really, is Jedi our best guess?

Genevieve: Dude, may the Force be with you.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Oh my God, are Colin and Aishwarya getting it on?

Genevieve: Hell yes they are!

Unsuspecting Viewer: But no kissing?

Genevieve: Aishwarya don’t play that.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Can I kiss him instead?

Genevieve: Get in line.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Uh, is it weird the way Colin is kneeling and passionately grabbing Kiddo by the shoulders and hugging him and –

Genevieve: I CANNOT HELP YOU.

Unsuspecting Viewer: This movie is sick.

Genevieve: No argument. Look, a nice wholesome fight scene!

Unsuspecting Viewer: Ooh, more than five extras at a time!

Genevieve: We pull out all the stops here in Foreignlandia.

Last Legion - Foreignlandia

Unsuspecting Viewer: Oh my God, is this true gay love between the two main extras, one of whom is about to meet his maker?

Genevieve: It is! At last, a reason to rent. Well, that and the big battle with the legion!

Unsuspecting Viewer: What the fuck, the legion showed up? Was it over at Grandma’s house this whole time or something?

Genevieve: I have no clue.

Unsuspecting Viewer: So were the villagers actually Roman soldiers?

Genevieve: I don’t know.

Unsuspecting Viewer: But they have all this armor –

Genevieve: THIS MOVIE HAS NO PLOT, OKAY?

Unsuspecting Viewer: Why is Aishwarya, the only woman, the one running after the kid like a babysitter?

Genevieve: Oh, you know chicks. They’re way into child-rearing.

Unsuspecting Viewer: We’re in the middle of a BATTLE.

Genevieve: Well, then there’s no time to lose! She better rear that kid post-haste!

Unsuspecting Viewer: So Kiddo kills Kevin McCeltic but good, and we’re all going to live happily ever – holy shit, Colin Firth is going to die five minutes from the end from one slap with a stick?

Genevieve: Look, you saw Gladiator, right? You knew this was coming.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is it weird that I have all these…strange…feelings about the Kiddo when he’s being all commanding and kingly and –

Genevieve: YES IT IS. STOP THAT.

Unsuspecting Viewer: So he’s not Arthur.

Genevieve: No.

Unsuspecting Viewer: He’s Arthur’s dad.

Genevieve: I guess.

Unsuspecting Viewer: And what about poor Aishwarya, who will never make out with Colin again?!

Genevieve: Well, technically she didn’t make out with him the first time.

Unsuspecting Viewer: Is there still a line for that?

Genevieve Valentine is a writer in New York; her fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Byzarium, and Quarter After Eight, and she is an occasional columnist at Defenestration. Her appetite for bad movies is insatiable, a tragedy she tracks on her blog. She is currently working on a formula to evaluate the awfulness of any given film, a scale that will be measured in Julians.

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