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AT THE MOVIES: A Roman holiday; THE LAST LEGION (12A, 102mins).

Byline: MARK ADAMS

THE STARS: Colin Firth, Aishwarya Rai, Ben Kingsley, Thomas Sangster.

THE STORY: As the Roman Empire collapses, the young emperor Romulus (Sangster) is forced to travel to Britannia with a small group, including soldier Aurelius (Firth), his teacher Ambrosinus (Kingsley) and the mysterious Byzantine warrior Mira (Rai), to seek support from the one legion still loyal to Rome.

THE VERDICT: To its great credit no-one involved in The Last Legion takes things overly seriously.

This entertaining adventure is gloriously low-brow and feels more like a Sunday afternoon matinee than a Roman action epic. The story is a low-level mish-mash of Gladiator and Arthurian romance, with Colin Firth stoically battling his way around Europe protecting the young emperor with the sexy assistance of Indian beauty Aishwarya Rai as a sultry swordwielding warrior who spends much of the film getting wet.

Even veteran actor Ben Kingsley's over-acting fits in nicely amidst the torrent of British actors madly chewing the scenery (Peter Mullan, John Hannah and Kevin McKidd also feature) while the action is well staged and the storyline entertaining for youngsters.

Leave history at the door and let it all wash over you.

FINAL CUT

Sword-and-sandal silliness which is daftly entertaining and doesn't take itself seriously. ***

Opens Friday, October 19

CAPTION(S):

Firth and Rai have fun in low-brow epic ...and (inset below) Ben Kingsley
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 14, 2007
Words:226
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