|Movie Review: LEGION
||[Jan. 22nd, 2010|01:39 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
I'm glad that I saw Legion for free. It's very pretty and has some excellent actors. Plus, if you like your apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic Biblical last-stand-in-an-out-of-the-way-place that's the deciding battle for the fate of humanity, you're covered.
But, there were several problems...
FIRST problem, the bad guys are humans possessed by angels. You'd think that would make them stride tall and burn with fiery eyes and righteous vengeance. Nope. It made them creepy and EVIL with mouths full of shark-like teeth and foul commentary. That ain't angelic at all. That's more of a demon possession, to my mind. (Given the huge amount of exposition, they could've passed it off as something like... angel-possessed humans go batshit insane & violent. But no.)
Which leads me to the SECOND problem - no Lucifer. No Hell, no demons, no nuthin from the adversary. We're going whole hog heavenly host and the traditional bad guys get left out? Weird.
To back up for a moment, the premise is this: the archangel Michael lands on (falls to) earth (in LA of course), cuts off his own wings, and after accessing a random HUMONGOUS cache of guns and engaging in a brief action scene, steals a cop car to DRIVE to a little diner aptly named "Paradise Falls" (unclear if that's the name of the diner or the town or both) somewhere between CA and AZ. He is defying God to save a baby who is the last hope for humanity. For, you see, God is tired of humanity's bullshit and has decided to wipe 'em out again. Instead of a flood, though, he's sent his angels (the titular LEGION) to possess half of humanity and kill the other half. The "weak-minded" are most vulnerable to possession.
Before Michael arrives at the diner, the motley crew of randoms there encounter and dispatch (with a certain amount of difficulty) a very evil grandma.
After that, it's essentially a "last stand" rehash.
However, it gets kinda boring in the middle, when we have to have exposition time between the medium-sized battle and the BIG battle (not to be confused with the FINAL battle).
Which leads me to the THIRD problem, which is a random ANTI-CHOICE message jammed into the middle. Don't have an abortion, you might kill humanity's last hope!
There's also a bunch of miscellaneous stupid. A giant undeveloped plot hole about "her" and how "she's coming" and, so far as I can tell, all "she" does is gibber under her bloody pillowcase and smack the cop car with a stick when the survivors escape the diner. WTF? One of the characters sees giant freaky clouds on both the western and eastern horizons, but mentions it to no one. There are only two plagues.
FOURTH and finally, there are three really well-done and creepy scenes. The first two - evil grandma and deformed ice cream man, sure, they switch-up to surprising evil quickly so it's not so bad they're in all the previews. You're not surprised by them, because you saw them in the previews, but both have some development that you only get in the movie. BUT, the little kid should have been a surprise, a very creepy little surprise and yet, it's in the previews as well. ALL the good scenes are in the previews.
On the plus side, but still spoiler-ish, I will admit that I liked the Mary & Joseph parallel. I also liked Michael's tattoos and the fact that it's the ONE THING they didn't friggin' explain to death. Plus his offhand reference to prophets amused me . Oh, and if you linger til the end of the credits, they play the ice cream truck jingle to finish them off. That amused me as well.
On the plus side (but without spoilers), there's all kinds of homoerotic tension between Archangel Michael and Archangel Gabriel. And since both are very pretty, this is not a bad thing. Also, it's nice to see Dennis Quaid back in an SF&F film again after some of the more drama-type stuff he's been doing lately. I'm very fond of Lucas Black and have been since Sling Blade. Tyrese Gibson's performance is excellent; understated, but surprisingly intense, although there was some jeering chuckles when he spoke "street." Jon Tenney delivers the snark exceptionally well, as usual. And who doesn't love Charles Dutton? Idiots, that's who. He gets one of the few intentionally funny lines (versus a few unintentionally funny ones sprinkled throughout the film). The women are kinda lame, though.
Upshot: not really worth the money, I'd say. Especially if you're jonesin' for some strong female leads.