Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Last Legion and My Last Nerve

Being something of a Western declinist, I was curious about The Last Legion, a 2007 Dino di Laurentiis flick about the end of the Latin Roman empire in the mid 400's*. I knew from the trailer that this was going to be a bit imaginative, since it linked the "Last Caesar" to the legends of King Arthur, bridging Britain to Rome. Fair enough.

But, boy, "a bit imaginative" was an under-expectation. Historical accuracy of any kind seemed to be extremely low on the list of priorities. I knew the game was up when the lead male was dispatched to rescue the boy-Caesar in the company of a mystery rider in very non-Roman chain male. I could smell what was going to happen next. Lo and behold, there she was. Yes, a female. And from India, Kerala to be exact. And a martial artist. Yes.

That was the end of the Latin Roman empire for Ex Cathedra. One more ahistorical phallic female to serve the delusions of the current age. When I checked out the rest of the story on Wikipedia, I was relieved to learn that she married the male Roman lead and raised the boy-Emperor in Britain, putting an Indian woman at the root of English history and saving us from Eurocentricity. Along with the very Englishy named English actor Nonso Anozie (second from the left, below), to secure a place for Africans there too. How PC. Thank God the White people were not left alone.

But even Wikipedia could not handle the liberties the movie took. The corral of critics at Rotten Tomatoes were unsparing in their dismay: "A hunk of old Brie, left all day in the glove compartment in a car on a hot summer's day, could not smell more ripe than this absurd sword'n'sandal Roman movie."

Not to put too fine a point on it...

*The Greek-speaking Roman empire based in Constantinople lasted another thousand years until the Ottoman Turkish followers of The Religion of Peace finally completed their jihad on the Christian East in May 1453, a more than 800 year war which their Arab Muslim predecessors had begun in 633, less than two years after the death of their prophet, Muhammad.

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