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Legion (1970)

Starring:

Adrianne Palicki

Charles S. Dutton

Dennis QuaidDennis Quaid

Doug Jones

Jeanette Miller

Jon Tenney

Kate Walsh

Kevin Durand

Lucas Black

Paul BettanyPaul Bettany

Tyrese Gibson

Willa Holland

Directed by:

Scott Stewart

Rating: 6/10

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

At least Legion isn’t another horror remake destined for mediocrity—though there are enough references in both story and visuals to so many movies that it might start to feel like a remake if you could pin down what was being re-imagined. There’s a sort of sweet (??) charm to paying tribute to the genre so blatantly, which goes a long way in a film wracked with unexplainables and inconsistent storylines.

Newly fallen angel Michael (Paul Bettany) has some news for folks at the Paradise Falls Diner, including owner and operator Bob (Dennis Quaid), his good guy son (Lucas Black), and religious fry cook Percy (Charles S. Dutton)—God’s pretty darn tired of all our worldly shenanigans and, instead of sending a flood or fire or some sort of blight, he’s sent what appears to be the cast of 28 Days Later to exterminate the human race. Oh, and why is Michael fallen, sans wings? Because he doesn’t agree with God’s assessment of mankind, so he refuses to join the destruction, starting with just saying no to killing the baby that can somehow lead the world out of darkness—a baby just about to be birthed of Paradise Falls waitress Charlie (Adrianne Palicki).

At least Legion isn’t another horror remake destined for mediocrity—though there are enough references in both story and visuals to so many movies that it might start to feel like a remake if you could pin down what was being re-imagined. There’s a sort of sweet (??) charm to paying tribute to the genre so blatantly, which goes a long way in a film wracked with unexplainables and inconsistent storylines.

Newly fallen angel Michael (Paul Bettany) has some news for folks at the Paradise Falls Diner, including owner and operator Bob (Dennis Quaid), his good guy son (Lucas Black), and religious fry cook Percy (Charles S. Dutton)—God’s pretty darn tired of all our worldly shenanigans and, instead of sending a flood or fire or some sort of blight, he’s sent what appears to be the cast of 28 Days Later to exterminate the human race. Oh, and why is Michael fallen, sans wings? Because he doesn’t agree with God’s assessment of mankind, so he refuses to join the destruction, starting with just saying no to killing the baby that can somehow lead the world out of darkness—a baby just about to be birthed of Paradise Falls waitress Charlie (Adrianne Palicki).

Religious viewers will cry foul about the not-so-pro-deity view of the Almighty, and non-religious audiences may not like the Christian themes. From someone that watches a movie as a movie, Legion isn’t necessarily bad in the way that other horror films of the last few year’s, like The Unborn, were bad. There were intentionally funny lines that made me laugh out loud, some of the acting—Bettany, in particular—was quality stuff, and there really were some genuine scares. But seriously—God, who’s known for doing all kinds of stuff, can’t destroy the population and kill off one baby without turning half the world into really evil, scary zombie-angels? And why do they have to be so freaky and mean anyway? Plus, even if we somehow just ignore all our questions and try and enjoy things just for the kill-fest it is, there are stretches that get stuck in verbal quicksand with too much exposition or bonding dialogue moments, slowing things way down—and when a lot of these intimate moments involve either the slightly hammy Quaid or Black, who was better as Slingblade’s friend back in the day, slow becomes slower due to cheese. Legion is a movie so full of flaws that it SHOULD be unwatchable, but it’s actually somehow interesting in a way, and depending on how much belief you want to suspend, this one has its moments, you just have to be patient enough to wait for them.

It's Got: Some cool effects, lots of horror references, a scary old lady on the ceiling

It Needs: Less touchy-feely moments, more why, more impressive God

DVD Extras Featurettes: “Creating the Apocalypse” (Physical Effects); “Humanity's Last Line of Defense” (Cast and Characters), and “From Pixels to Picture” (Visual Effects) DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

The Mist, Dogma, The Terminator

Summary

Legion presents some interesting ideas, and a bunch of movie references, but it’s definitely got some issues to work through.

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