Legion (2010)

[Rating:0.5/5]                  

Starring:  Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Charles S. Dutton, Kevin Durand, Jon Tenney, Kate Walsh, Willa Holland, Dennis Quaid, Doug Jones.
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Director:  Scott Stewart
Rating:  R
Running Time:  100 Mins.
Release Date:  January 22, 2010
DVD Release Date:  May 11, 2010
Box Office: $39,221,554
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Bold Films and Screen Gems

Written By:  Peter Schink and Scott Stewart

“The first time, God sent a flood…” – Michael (Paul Bettany).

Make no mistake.  That is well-respected and critically acclaimed actor Paul Bettany in the “Legion” poster, toting a wicked long knife and massive machine gun – sporting metallic angel wings, and looking to the Heavens above.  I can wait a moment while you digest everything you’re seeing there…

If the poster doesn’t strike you as rather silly, the film it promotes delivers the silliness and absurdity in such rich abundance that I would hazard a guess that even the most devout horror and apocalyptic film fans will groan audibly and throw up their hands.

In “Legion”, God has lost His own faith in humankind and has concocted a plan to send His angels down to bring about the Apocalypse.  Descending on the sleepy desert town of Paradise Falls , New Mexico, the local inhabitants of a diner become the unknowing targets of God’s wrath.  Head waitress Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) is 8+ months pregnant, and her unborn child is (of course) The Chosen One.  The baby’s birth is the only hope for saving humanity and so, naturally God must eradicate the baby’s existence to fulfill his apocalyptic wishes.  Arriving in sleepy little Paradise Falls comes archangel Michael (Bettany), loaded to the wings with massive artillery and firepower, who cannot bring himself to carry out God’s plan.  Michael has opted to save humanity by protecting Charlie’s unborn child against the angels, demons, and various other attacking elements that God has chosen to reign down on this particular out-of-the-way diner.

Ok, look.

For starters, I would envision that a film about God bringing forth the Apocalypse should take all of about 5-10 minutes.  I mean honestly, what purpose does it serve to send one possessed Grandmother, one possessed ice cream man, and a massive number of slow-moving zombie-like people who can be killed in one or two shots?  At the risk of sounding blasphemous, the plan God presents in “Legion” is one of the stupidest plans, from thought to execution, ever created.  All powerful and able to bring massive destruction whenever He deems the time appropriate to do so, why have the angels sent down to Earth be mortal?  Why have them inhabit regular human beings who, as Michael notes for the viewers watching, are no longer human but mere vessels for the angels to possess.

The absurdity of God’s plan is merely one of several incomprehensible moments in “Legion.”  If God sends Angels to wipe out humankind, how do they fall victim to gunfire?  Why would they fear fire?  Why have Michael and Gabriel clad in metallic, razor sharp wings and are those standard issue?  Wait…there’s more.

Why does Charlie smoke if she’s planning on giving the child up for adoption?  Why does one character have a hook for a hand?  Why did God send that grandmother?  What is Kate Walsh, the star of ABC”s medical drama Private Practice, doing in this?  How can a woman give birth (SPOILER ALERT) only to then immediately be on her feet, running around and jumping and leaping?  As all of humanity hangs in the balance, why are Michael and his brother Gabriel punching one another?  How can a baby survive a car crash at over 100 mph?  Why would Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, and Walsh go all in on a potential career-ender?

You never find out and it doesn’t matter in the slightest.

“Legion” is the kind of terrible production that leads you to wonder how films like this not only get written, but then ultimately are made.  The final 20-30 minutes of “Legion” are of such poor quality in terms of how the film is shot, edited, and framed, with visual effects akin to something you would find in a Made-for-TV movie, that I wondered if the director just threw up his hands and gave up.  I certainly did.  My audience certainly did.

In fact, at the end, I suppose the God in “Legion” did as well; probably when that brilliant “Death By Granny” idea failed so spectacularly.

Should I See It?

YES

Apocalyptic horror films are going to have their audience and in some ways, at least for the opening weekend, “Legion” will be critic-proof.

Save a scene or two, it’s less bloody/gory than I was led to believe.

NO

See above.  Seriously.  This is one of the worst films of recent memory.

For horror fans:  save a scene or two, it’s less bloody/gory than I was led to believe.