LEGION is a mess of Biblical proportions by herr milflover

legion01_poster

 

You’d think a movie about a machine gun toting rebellious Angel trying to stop other Angels from bringing about the Biblical End of the World would make for some thrilling supernatural mayhem.

 

But you’d be thinking wrong.

 

The biggest sign of the Apocalypse that I saw in the two hours I sat in the theatre was the trailer for the upcoming comedy Hot Tub Time Machine. God that looks horrible, but I digress.
 

LEGION started with some promise. We are introduced to Paul Bettany’s fallen angel Michael as he is excising himself of his wings and sewing up the wounds. He then goes on a night time shopping spree for an arsenal of guns that he needs for the coming apocalypse. His actions bring about the attention of a passing cop car, and the ensuing standoff with the officers gave me hope that I was in for some good, mindless entertainment.

 

legion02_oldlady

 

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The next scene takes us to the Paradise Falls Diner, situated quite literally in the middle of nowhere USA. There we are introduced to the rest of the cast of characters, getting to know a little bit about each of them for the next 20 or so minutes, in what I’m guessing is an attempt at characterization. A quick rundown: Dennis Quaid giving us his usual gruff, bitter demeanour; his emotionally stunted son Jeep (I shit you not, his name is Jeep); Charlie the pregnant waitress; Percy the hook-handed cook, played by Charles S. Dutton (no really, he has a hook hand!); a stranded dysfunctional bickering family waiting for their car to be fixed; and last -but certainly least- a randomly thrown in lost cliché black dude played with not an ounce of subtlety by Tyrese Gibson. Needless to say, the attempt at characterization fails miserably and almost grinds the movie to a halt, since none of them are in the slightest bit sympathetic, making it hard to care when they predictably start dying one by one.
 

Next, in comes a charming old lady who orders up a steak. Unsurprisingly (to those who saw the trailer anyway) it turns out that the old lady isn’t so charming after all. Channelling the best of Betty White from Lake Placid, she starts swearing up a storm at everyone and goes crazy, crawling on the ceiling like a rabid mutant spider, viciously beating the crap out of everybody in hilarious fashion, until they manage to kill her.
Alas, that’s pretty much when the good stuff ends.

 

legion04_angelcaps

 

Fallen angel finally Michael arrives on the scene to reveal the gist of the plot: God lost faith in humanity, and Charlie’s unborn child is mankind’s last hope of survival. The Diner is then attacked by various hordes of freaks and possessed pseudo-zombies, which is where Michael’s arsenal comes in handy, not that it is sufficient to get the job done. We are then treated to a rather tedious Dawn Of The Dead rip-off siege with the diner in lieu of a mall, which thankfully ends when the still faithful to God angel Gabriel swoops in to finish the Lord’s Work. I’ve basically summarized the whole plot right here and there are no real spoilers to speak of, because everything is as predictable as it can possibly be. A lot of shit happens, but we don’t really get explanations for any of it, beyond the aforementioned ‘God lost faith in humanity’. Can things be vague enough? Like, why in the hell is that baby so damn important for mankind’s sake? What’s the significance of those supposedly crucial tattooed writings on Michael’s body? Fuck if I could tell you. It’s like the story needed a few more rewrites that never came in, so they just shot the movie with a half-finished script, and everything just nosedives from there.

 

Sadly, the old lady scene was the best bit of fun to behold, other than maybe the big fight between Michael and Gabriel, but even that is too little too late. The special effects are adequate yet overall lacklustre, nothing that hasn’t been done better before. The Angels’ suits of armour are hardly impressive, they look like barely upgraded versions of what Affleck and Damon wore in Kevin Smith’s Dogma. And Dogma also had Salma Hayek in a bikini and a Shit Monster, so right there Legion is trumped.
 

I’d say director Scott Stewart did a good job behind the camera, since despite its numerous flaws the movie is at least watchable from a visual/action standpoint, but seeing how as a co-writer is he responsible for how wretched the script is, I wouldn’t want him to feel like he deserves any compliments.

 

legion03_lucas

 

Stewart also loses extra points because the acting is across the board awful. Paul Bettany doesn’t show any range beyond stoic to make us feel like he cares about humanity’s survival, and the rest of them don’t fare much better. Granted, they cant really accomplish much of anything given how dismal the dialogue is to begin with. Mary Walsh (of Grey’s Anatomy fame) probably gives the best performance of the bunch as the distressed mom, and Dutton is as serviceable as ever in a thankless role, which isn’t saying much really. However, a very dishonourable mention must go to Lucas Black, who has to be one of the worst actors I’ve seen in quite a while. There’s no way Jeep was intended to come across as so borderline retarded, yet Black manages to make Forrest Gump seem like a feisty genius by comparison.
 

With a fully fleshed out script and a better cast, there is little doubt that a more competent hand in the director’s chair could have taken that premise full of potential and given us a glorious piece of good old fashioned supernatural schlock. As it is, and especially on the heels of the excellent Daybreakers and Book Of Eli, Legion was merely a crushing and forgettable disappointment.

 

1 and a half changs

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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

22 responses to “LEGION is a mess of Biblical proportions by herr milflover”

  1. Droid says :

    Welcome Milf! Great review. Shame about this one being a disappointment. And Black was bad in this? I like him and he’s usually great. Wonder why he’s no good in this one. Hmmm….

    • Bartleby says :

      Black was a good younger actor, showing up in stuff like Sling Blade and American Gothic. I’ve not seen him recently save for Tokyo Drift I think.

      • jarv says :

        Tokyo drift is fucking woeful

      • Bartleby says :

        I agree…I just mean thats the last time Ive seen him.

        Bettany is the real waste in a movie like this..

        Wait, no, a war of freaking winged, hammer wielding angels seems to be the real waste here. We are on a nice run of January genre fare too. Oh well, here’s hoping Edge of Darkness is good. I think the original is pretty darn good, albeit weird as hell.

  2. jarv says :

    Nice review.

    I really wanted to see this when I saw the trailer for it in front of Daybreakers.

    So, is it worse than The Prophecy?

  3. Bartleby says :

    I know this is an irritating thing to do with a movie review, but please tell me how this ends…

    Because from day one I thought they wrote themselves into a corner with making God the villain? How do you possibly beat him?

    I suppose the baby is born and causes him to relent or something? And if the baby is the second coming–which it doesn’t sound like the movie knows– does that mean God’s actually trying to commit some weird bit of round’a bout suicide?

    And does Quaid really explode in the middle of the movie like those redband trailers show?

  4. Bartleby says :

    ok, finally got my best of 2009 up in a format that doesnt suck…

    Check it out guys when you get the chance. It will be fun to discuss the past year, since recently we’ve been mostly doing decade stuff around here and over at Cinematropolis and AIBN…

    I cheated a little with one tie and a few extra categories, but I think it’s an accurate representation of what I thought of the year

    Here ya go: http://tiny.cc/Q53UK

  5. Bartleby says :

    Jarv are you at work, or did you finally fix the internets?

  6. Tom_Bando says :

    No Giant Robot Lions? or at least Robotic Seraphim???

  7. herrmilflover says :

    Yeah Frank, that’s what I was thinking before I saw it. They have a ton of elements to really make a cool movie out of, but it all just fails. There are a few nice moments, but they are buried in a ditch of lameness.

    I havent seen much else that Black did besides Drift, and neither makes me want to see anything else he’s in.

    A correction: it’s KATE Walsh in the movie, not Mary. I dont know how I got these two confused.

    Robots of any kind would have made it better if it meant upping the carnage quotient.

    To answer a couple questions: ***SPOILERS ALERT!!!!!***

    -How does it end? Basically, after Gabriel makes Michael his complete bitch in their fight, it seems that God just changes his mind and calls them off. No idea if the baby being born is part of the decision. What a fickle deity. Of course, if he was really convinced about wiping out humanity in the first place, he should have sent whole armies of Angles to do the job instead of just Gabriel and lame possessed souls, who mostly just stand there after the initial onslaught. But they likely didnt have the budget for armies of mace-wielding angles flying around making hamburger meat with humans.
    And speaking of Gabriel, Marc Durand was okay, but they should have got Ray Stevenson or someone badass like that.

    -One guy explodes by being boiled alive on an upside down cross (a very godly moment indeed) and another when the Diner is destroyed. Quaid is #2.

    I dont remember The Prophecy, but it has Christopher Walken so I’ll wager it’s better than Legion.

    When you look at both Daybreakers and Legion on paper, you wouldnt expect one to be better than the other, they’re both genre movies with plenty of cool and shit ingredients to them. In the end, it comes down to how you bake the fucking cake.

  8. jarv says :

    They made a whole series of Prophecy films- I sense a challenge for Frank

  9. jarv says :

    Maniac cop and maniac cop 2 are great- I saw them yonks ago but was waiting for 3 before I reviewed them

  10. jarv says :

    Did you watch city of god?

  11. jarv says :

    There are no boobies in City of God.

    It’s understandable.

    I’m at a bit of a loss what to do next week. I was thinking about Copland or Alien 3 for the next underrated one, and Swamp Thing on the weekend as either underrated or schlock becuae I’m going to screenshot Barbeau’s tits and therefore it will be NSFW- which leaves a bit of a hole for schlock.

    If you don’t mind- can I do Maniac Cop?

  12. jarv says :

    Cool- cheers.

    See you tomorrow

  13. kloipy says :

    Great reveiw Herr. Trailer basically told me exactly what I needed to know about this one. And that was that I didn’t give a fuck about seeing it

  14. Xiphos0311 says :

    Milf event though you’ve gotten in the wind and this review is nearly 2 years old I have to say its spot on. i watched this thing a few days ago and by watched I mean after the first five minutes it mostly became background noise. Outside of Willow Holland being a sexy little minx and The Angel Fu that uses wings as both armor and weapons this movie was a failure. I guess the first 5 or so minutes were good and the angel fight was serviceable.

    Lucas black was excellent in Friday Night Lights

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