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Sunday
Jan242010

Legion

Ok, now it's getting a bit ridiculous. Being an avid film lover, I watch a lot of movies and let's face it, very little separates each one from the next. Leap Year is no different than the countless other romantic comedies I've seen just as The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day mimics innumerable other action flicks. Still, the apocalypse sub-genre is fairly new, or at least has seen an explosion in recent years. Each film tries to differentiate itself from the last, with modest success. We've seen a hard hitting drama in The Road, a tongue-in-cheek B-movie in 2012, the zombie apocalypse in Zombieland and the vampire apocalypse in Daybreakers. But we're pushing it a bit far now with Legion, a ridiculous movie where God sends his angels to demonically possess humans and kill everyone alive.

Huh?

That's the sentiment I had rolling around in my head as this film wrapped up. The story, as foolish as it may be, revolves around an angel who has fallen down to Earth, cut off his wings and made himself human. His name is Michael (Paul Bettany) and he has rebelled against God's wishes to wipe out the human race. You see, God is pissed off. Just as we have lost faith in Him, He has lost faith in humanity. We kill each other over race and greed and we start wars unjustly and He's sick of it. As the movie points out, the first time he lost faith in us, he sent a flood, now he is sending angels. Yep.

Well, for some reason, there's a baby that is the last hope for humanity. It's in the stomach of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), who works at a small diner in the middle of no man's land where the next service station doesn't come around for 50 miles. She works there with a group of disposable fodder played by Lucas Black, Charles Dutton, Jon Tenney, Willa Holland, Kate Walsh, Tyrese Gibson, and Dennis Quaid. Michael's job is to protect Charlie and the baby, the main target of the angels.

This is getting out of control. While not all of the recent apocalypse movies have been particularly good (2012, The Book of Eli), at least they made sense. Legion makes as much sense as using a sterilized needle at a lethal injection. There's so much in this movie that needed to be answered, yet so little is. For example, why the baby is so important is never explained. Who is it? Is it the second coming of Christ? If it is, why would God send his angels to kill it? What the hell was going on in this thing?

The weird thing is that there's plenty of downtime for explanation. For a movie about an angel takeover and the human extermination, this thing moves slow and the copious amount of dialogue does little more than waste time in between action scenes. There were a handful of moments where two characters would have a dialogue, but it was usually about trivial matters, like why Gibson's character carried around a handgun. Well, because he grew up in the streets yo. Great, but who cares? It's irrelevant to the story, existing as nothing more than a sad sack attempt at putting a personality to the character.

Complaining about scenes that flesh out the personalities of the characters feels weird because if we want to care about them, we need to know about them, but Legion takes itself far too seriously and would have worked better as a humorous, balls to the wall action film. Surely the filmmakers knew their movie was absurd. Why not play it for laughs?

Taking the serious route did little to help them anyway. The action scenes, which are meant to be epic battles between heaven and earth, are shot so darkly that not much can be seen. The little bit that can is unimpressive and, more often than not, anti-climactic. In the trailer, a man rides up in an ice cream truck. His mouth opens wide, his arms stretch out and he runs toward the camera. In the movie, he is shot immediately after he starts to run. What could have been a tense battle ended up being a major disappointment.

I've seen lots of apocalypse movies recently, but this could be among the worst. Paul Bettany does a good job and a few moments of what looked to be a good movie were hidden in it, but everything else is a misfire. Even the wanton stupidity of 2012 was more entertaining than Legion.

Legion receives 1.5/5