Legion  (2010)

Sometimes the visuals of a movie can outweigh a lackluster plot. Plenty of kung fu movies follow that path, plenty of action movies do too...but "Legion" never quite delivers the incredible style to overcome poor acting, poor writing, and a brow-furrowing plot.

Last time God wanted to take a do-over with humanity, he made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights to wipe clean the Earth; this time, God decides it's a better option to send his army of angels to murder everyone. The archangel Michael defies God, believing that humans can still redeem themselves, and decides to fight on the side of man. His battle brings him to a remote truckstop in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The owner, his son, a cook, a pregnant single mom, a stranded family of three, and another random motorist are brought into this holy war, a bunch of them die, and then it ends.

Here's the positives: Paul Bettany is inspired casting as a militant angel. He has the poise and voice to be a holy creature, but also looks like he could kick some ass. Kevin Durand is also a great foil as Gabriel, a buffer, more brutish angel compared to Bettany's lean look. A few other effect shots are great, like the possessed ice cream man (see trailer below), a possessed child, some other cliche-but-in-a-good-way backlit shots of angels, and some great sprawling shots of the desert landscape.

Those positives, however, are not enough to make up for everything else. Dennis Quaid: great as a handsome dude, not great as a grizzled, gruff diner owner. His accent comes and goes, his "sad face" is just cartoonish, his body language is distracting, it just never works. His son Jeep (yep, Jeep) is played by Lucas Black, who'll you recognize as that guy who was in that thing, is supposed to play a sort of "aw shucks" bumpkin with a heart of gold, but ends up seeming like he's mentally challenged. Adrianne Palicki is easy on the eyes but that's about it. Tyrese Gibson is the least-intimidating tough guy ever.

I get that a story about a vengeful god wiping out humanity and an angel trying to fight back is fantastic by definition, but so much of this was just outlandish and nonsensical. Obviously the single pregnant mother is carrying the savior of humanity, which is why Michael finds her and protects her. God's plan was to send his angelic army to kill all humans, and specifically this baby, although that motivation is never really revealed. In the story of the Flood, God wants to eliminate the wicked, but Noah is good so he is chosen to be spared. In this story, there's no reason why God would want to start from scratch, and there's also no explanation for the random few survivors that have escaped into the wilderness. If the whole reason our truckstop group survives is thanks to Michael's aid, how did those other militias defeat armies of angels? If the entire goal was to kill the unborn child, why did they have to kill anyone else? If angels have the ability to possess random humans, why wouldn't God just send one that could get close without suspicion, rather than send wave after wave of bloodthirsty angel/demons? So many questions, all unanswered.

[Celluloid Hero] gives "Legion" a 4 out of 10.




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