There’s one major problem which infiltrates “The Last Templar” almost from the moment it begins: they’ve changed a lot of stuff from the original novel by Raymond Khoury. This obviously isn’t something that would be an issue for someone who’s never read the book, but for those who’ve been wondering how it made the transition from print to screen (and who didn’t catch the miniseries when it originally aired on NBC earlier this year), accept this assurance that you’re almost certainly going to be disappointed. Everyone else, however, will probably enjoy the adventure well enough, provided their suspension of disbelief is fully charged. Archaeologist Tess Chaykin, played by Mira Sorvino, is essentially a female version of Indiana Jones, except one who now has a child and isn’t quite as ready to go globetrotting for ancient artifacts as she once was. When four people on horseback dressed as Templars storm New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art during its exhibition and swipe key artifacts, Tess muscles her way into the investigation, albeit against the desire of FBI Agent Sean Reilly (Scott Foley), and ends up traveling across the world in an attempt to discover the lost secret of…wait for it…The Last Templar.
Veteran producer Robert Halmi Sr. turns in another good-looking yarn, and the cast is certainly strong, with Victor Garber, Kenneth Welsh, and Omar Sharif also on hand. Sorvino and Foley have the kind of chemistry that makes you wish this was a better movie than it actually is. The big action scene at the beginning of the film, where Sorvino swipes a horse and goes jousting in Central Park, is ridiculous enough to lose a lot of viewers right off the bat, and there are more than a few moments where you’ll cringe at the dialogue. (How can anyone not groan when Sorvino punctuates an ass-kicking by snarling, “I’m nobody’s baby”?) Still, the aforementioned chemistry between the leads is generally enough to keep you watching, and those who want to get themselves pumped up for “Angels & Demons” will probably find “The Last Templar” an enjoyable diversion. And if you do, then you’ll also want to watch the making-of featurette on the DVD, which is about as entertaining as these things get.