The story of Romulus Augustus, the last Emeror of the Western Roman Empire. He was deposed after only 10 months on the throne of a nation already in disarray, and fled to Britain to raise a legion of supporters.
Roman politics give way to Arthurian legend in this confused caper. Colin Firth is Aurelius, a warrior assigned to protect the 12 year-old emperor Romulus Augustus (Thomas Sangster). This involves a good deal of swordfighting, a stint in Capri and a trip to Britain in search of the lost Ninth Legion.
The action is fitfully fun and Aishwarya Rai shines as a Byzantine babe, but Firth seems insufficiently rugged for a bodyguard job. Ben Kingsley, too, gets a rum deal as a stereotypical spiritual mentor, and the dialogue is often stilted.
The nod to the swords-and-sandals movies of old may be intentional, but this shares too many of their limitations to be anything more than a nostalgic time-passer.
This attempt at reimagining the Arthurian legend fails to raise the pulse due to some leaden dialogue and unconvincing performances.