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Legion (2010)

LegionReviewed by Nomad

Starring Paul Bettany, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Charles S. Dutton, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black

Directed by Scott Stewart


In the beginning God created light and the heavens and the earth and the little fuzzy animals and human beings. On the 8th through the 2,000th days, humans created tax shelters, beer helmets, crack cocaine, Armani dog carrier handbags, the “dirty sanchez” and Showgirls. By the 2,600th day Heidi Montag had turned herself into a blow-up doll with a heartbeat and super blinking action. God had had enough. Having lost faith in the human race, he sends his angels down from heaven to wipe us from the planet. The angel Michael refuses to end his love affair with the hairless monkeys (us), so he speeds down to Earth to head off the attack and attempt to save the human race. Apparently our fate rests in the small, chubby hands of an unborn child. Wait. What??

A young unwed, orange-skinned chain smoker is about to give birth to the savior of humanity. Before the angel arrived, her only protector was a boy named Jeep. I wish I were kidding. Was his momma named Toyota? Oooooo snap. Jeep Hanson (Black), born inexplicably with the only Southern accent in the film, lives with his twitchy, grumbling father Bob (Quaid) at a diner/gas station in the middle of nothing … the perfect staging ground for THE APOCALYPSE!! How do we know it’s the Apocalypse? They say it on the radio … and the radio never lies.

At any rate, God sends his “dogs of heaven” to smite the human race, but instead of the host of angels cutting people to ribbons, they posses the weak-minded, which makes their head do that shaky Jacob’s Ladder thing, turns their eyes black and makes their teeth pointy. WHYYYYYYY?! They then drive out to the Paradise Falls Diner, park their cars and attack the building for three minutes. Never has there been a more ineffectual, collective baddie in a film. You’ll get one token angel in Gabriel (naturally), and that’s all she wrote.

LegionLegion proceeds to offend your eyes and ears for the next 100 minutes, making the ordeal feel like three hours, no doubt using angel magic. Half the movie is ridiculously predictable, complete with a gun-packing, rap-blasting Tyrese, British sounding angels and the punk rock possessed. The other half is so wildly unpredictable, and yet badly written, that you’ll either cry for mercy or laugh your head off. As the story drudges on, offering zero scares and an achingly confusing plot, there’s a sudden shift in perspective, making the previous storyline pointless. What you are left with is a sort of Bible thumping Terminator-esque fiasco begging for sequels that, God willing, will never come. Even a scene of frantic angel Kung Fu can’t save this madness.

Acting performances vary GREATLY. Quaid seems to have been told to play a curmudgeony old man who just gave up the drink. That’s the only reason I can see for this crinkly faced, lurching performance. We all know the man can act and does it very well. There’s no excuse for this. He may as well have not been in the film at all. Black has been set to “brood” and allowed little else. Bettany is believable enough for his part, but no amount of acting ability can change the words coming out of his mouth. There’s no coming back from bad writing. That’s really all you need to know. Palicki’s pregnant Charlie character may be unsympathetic and Tyrese can attempt to act his ass off while playing the most horrific stereotype you could imagine, but they can’t change the way they were written. It’s a complete disaster.

The cinematography of Legion strives to be epic but amounts to a collection of pretty paintings. An oncoming cloud of … something. An angel stretching its wings toward the heavens. An army of the possessed waiting in the mist. These are striking images by themselves, but when we string them together, project them forward and fold them into the plot, they are pointless and fleeting reminders of what could have been. Was I wishing they’d handled the plot differently? No. The plot makes very little sense and is highly unoriginal. It’s the visual of an angel taking flight that begs further exploration. Maybe by the third film we will have seen the all-out angel on human war the premise promised. It would take a major miracle for that to happen after this train wreck hits the screens.

It is unclear where the creators of Legion went wrong. Was there once a coherent film that was cut to hell by the editor’s axe? Did they start with a deeply dramatic screenplay and rewrite it into typical American action/horror drek? Does it matter? The finished product is shockingly bad. If countless angles of people firing guns with spent shells clinking to the ground is all your heart yearns for, then Legion may be your ideal Saturday night. Hoping for anything more is an exercise in futility. Spare yourself the agony.

1 1/2 out of 5

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Nomad

18 Comments

  1. I have to agree with the consensus: the movie could not decide what it wanted to be. It started with the premises of “Maximum Overdrive” and devolved into a mess that at times wanted to be “Constantine,” the others, “The Mist.” Ugh. But, I will say that I disagree with the site’s reviewer’s assertion that Quaid can act: all he does is overact. That’s why he’s always had virtually the same role for most of his career: playing the grumpy protagonist (typically a government agent) who spends most of his time shouting and waving a gun around, trying to prevent a catastrophe that only he is aware of…

  2. Well, I just got back from seeing Legion. I really had no intention of seeing it (the trailer turned me off right away), but after the shit I subjected myself to last year I figured it couldn’t be that bad. All in all, I would personally give Legion a 2 out of 5. I thought it was a pretty good time; I got a kick out of how un-pc it was and I thought the actors were fairly solid, especially Bettany and Durand. In the end though, I agree with what Nomad said; it’s horribly written, with characters stopping to deliver shit speeches. Furthermore, if God wanted this chick dead why didn’t he just do it himself? Why go through all the effort? It could’ve really been something special but in the end it was just a trashy re-hash of stuff we’ve all seen before. Take the mentality of The Mist, throw in elements from Splinter, The Terminator and End of Days and you got Legoin.

  3. ya… the preview informed me of its crapiness. I was really hoping to see a return to the movie Prophesy, which I liked very much. Oh well, off to see Suspiria!

    • I discovered through seeing a lot of the same movie as him, when Nomad absolutely loves a movie or hates it, I often find myself in the middle.

      I mean, we do like some of the same stuff, but a lot of what he has absolutely loved, I was just liking and what he absolutely hated, I either kinda liked or really liked.

      Always good reviews with info I can use, but we don’t always agree.

      I really want to see Legion, but we still have to see Daybreakers and Book of Eli.

  4. This review is pretty much what I expected based on what I saw in the trailer. No big loss. I’ve already seen this flick anyway. It was in 1995 and they called it “The Prophecy”. Nothing was going to top Chris Walken as a pissed off Archangel anyway, so it’s probably better that this one slinks back to the depths of Hell from whence it came. :)

    • Way back, before you were born, I told you a secret, then I put my finger there and I said… “Shhhhh!”

      Sort of how I felt about this movie.

  5. A bad review to a film I had no interest in. Now I have even more reason to avoid it. Guess I’ll go see Avatar, Sherlock Holmes or Daybreakers again or even Book of ELi

  6. Saying that Quaid can act “very well” is debatable. Yeah, I’ve seen him do a good job in a few things, but lately he’s been more miss than hit as far as I’m concerned. Still, can’t wait to check this out … especially if it’s as hilarious as Nomad’s review makes it sound. With the kind of January UC and I have already had, we can definitely use the laughs.

  7. I think we should hold a contest for the funniest object photoshopped into the angel’s hand instead of the gun in the poster.

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