Posted by Cantankerous Panda on July 10, 2010
I like to follow good classic films with terrible movies.
Legion is almost inexplicably hard to describe. I really don’t know what it was that I watched that night. What I do know is that Paul Bettany has been on this weird ‘religious badass character’ binge for awhile (The Da Vinci Code, the upcoming film Priest), and this film falls firmly into that category. Bettany plays Michael, an angel who decides to disobey God’s orders and protect humanity when God decides to go all Old Testament on us and destroy human kind. I think the reason why is because we take everything for granted and we’re all pretty terrible. Or maybe we don’t love God enough. I don’t really remember. Either way, Michael decides God is just being moody and will eventually realize how ridiculous this entire plan is, so he comes to Earth with a purpose… to take off his shirt, as all the advertisements promised.
Listen, I’m not in the ‘Paul Bettany is hot’ camp, but I was sincerely shocked by the utter lack of Paul Bettany abbing in the film, considering how much they pimped him out in the promotion of the film.
Paul Bettany’s lack of absposure isn’t really my major issue with the movie, though it was a constant point of mockery while watching. The way that Michael is going to save the world is by saving this random pregnant trailer chick who hates her life (and her fetus) and smokes throughout her pregnancy. Her name is Charlie, played by Adrianne Palicki (“Friday Night Lights”), and she’s clearly a lovable character. She lives in what can only be described as literally The Middle of Nowhere in Desertland, USA. I am so confused by the set-up of this area, but let’s just go with it. She works at a diner owned by Bob Hanson, played by… Dennis Quaid (Vantage Point, The Day After Tomorrow, Traffic). Typing that hurt my soul almost as much as seeing him in this film did.
Bob has a son named Jeep. Yes, Jeep. I didn’t believe it at first, either, but that is absolutely his name. Jeep is played by Lucas Black (Jarhead, Cold Mountain, Crazy in Alabama), and his character is pretty much as ridiculous as his name. Jeep is in love with Charlie for no apparent reason other than being stubborn. He works at the body shop that is part of the diner in the middle of nowhere. The diner has another employee named Percy, played by Charles S. Dutton (Secret Window, Gothika, Mimic, A Time To Kill [which is a good movie]). I would wager that these people all live either at the diner or in a trailer next to the diner. And, somehow, there are diner patrons. There’s a married couple and their horribly obnoxious and ‘scandalous’ teenage daughter, played by Kate Walsh (“Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice”), Jon Tenney (“The Closer” [a good show], Tombstone), and Willa Holland. And then there’s Kyle, played by Tyrese Gibson (Transformers series, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers).
They are all in a diner in the middle of nowhere. Did I mention that? There’s nothing around for miles. And little do they know, angels are being sent from heaven to take over the bodies of humans and I guess kill the ones they can’t take over. Again, I’m not really clear on this bit. So, this is a horror film, of sorts. I will admit, the previews totally got to me… but those were the only scary moments. It kicks off with a little old lady who is one of the most terrifying things I have ever seen in my life, and has now forced me to be suspicious of the elderly.
Then we have the Ice Cream Man, played by Doug Jones (Hellboy series) who I swear mostly plays terrifying characters.
We pretty much don’t see anything else scary throughout. Just a lot of people all looking crazy-eyed and shark-teethed surrounding the diner a la zombiefests. Those pesky angels use their minions to play tricks on the people in the dinner, slowly whittling down their numbers, and no one listens to logic or reason… like zombie films. But what makes this even more ridiculous is that they have a bloody angel on their team telling them exactly what not to do, and they disregard him like he doesn’t know the game plan.
Michael brought an arsenal with him to the diner, mind you. In a cop car. That he took from the cops after they were taken over by angels. Which happened after they tried to arrest Michael for breaking into (or, well, out of) a gun supply shop with the power of Christ.
I feel like this review isn’t really going anywhere because, well, it isn’t. It’s kinda like the movie. I really don’t have much to say about it except for the fact that it is so obscenely ridiculous that it negates all of the freaky imagery it employs, which is a shame. The movie could have been stronger had the entire concept not been so absurdly… absurd. I mean, we’re talking about God. Old Testament God. Why is it so difficult to kill these humans? Why does he need to have the angels created a legion like this by taking over their bodies and making them into weird cannibalistic crazies? Why does Gabriel (played by Kevin Durand, who was just in Robin Hood) have feathered wings that somehow turn into metal?
SO MANY QUESTIONS. Peter Schink and Scott Charles Stewart (also the director) had an interesting concept (that has been explored before) about God wanting to wipe the slate clean with people and start over because we’re such dicks, but it was just horribly executed. And I’m still having a hard time buying Paul Bettany as this action hero badass. Unsurprisingly, Scott Charles Stewart is directing Priest, which looks like more of the same dreck found in Legion.
Do I recommend this film? No. Not at all. I was so hoping it would be ‘so bad, it’s good’, and I was disappointed. And as much as I can appreciate a good angel v. angel fight, those scenes were more ridiculous than they were fun. If you want a fun angel war horror film, rent The Prophecy. Not only is it ‘so bad, it’s good’, but it has Viggo Mortensen as the devil (and being SUCH a badass while doing so, too!) and Christopher Walken. Yes. Christopher Walken. Do you really need another reason to see it? The only additional reason, for me, is that Elias Koteas (Shutter Island) is in it, and I have a special love for him because he played Casey in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle films. As for Legion, watch the trailer for the scary bits and feel better about not wasting an hour and forty minutes on watching another film that makes you wonder what happened to Dennis Quaid.