The plot in a nutshell: God has lost faith in humanity. The worst parts of the Bible are starting to come true, and God’s avenging angels have arrived from heaven to make sure this happens. The Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) believes humanity isn’t beyond saving and tries to stop said apocalypse. The key to our salvation lies in a young pregnant waitress named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), for the baby she carries (for some reason) is humanity’s only hope for survival. Michael finds Charlie and the rest of the middle-of-nowhere-diner patrons already under attack by humans possessed by angels. Much chaos, and much more talking ensues.
Paul Bettany shows a different side to his range, playing Michael more crass than saintly. For an action film with a lot of talking, the lead role would have to be someone who is compelling to watch, and Bettany fills that role effortlessly. The cast as a whole would be considered an all-star cast, just not major league. More of a AAA squad than anything. Lucas “Sling Blade” Black is an actor of a very specific type (read: southern), and he has a strong ability to communicate earnest and pensive emotions. In “Legion”, Black makes you care for his fraidy-cat character, but fails to connect with any other actor on screen. Same goes for Friday Night Lights’s Adrianne Palicki. We care for her unwed-soon-to-be mother-of-the-possible-messiah character, but she makes no connection with the other characters. It felt like these two actors were starring in different films with the same plot. Tyrese and Charles “Roc” Dutton both make memorable moments with their limited screen time, and Private Practice’s Kate Walsh gets an honorable mention for turning in a good performance of a character that completely destroys her own likeability by the end. As the biggest name involved with the film, Dennis Quaid is entertaining but is unfortunately the weak link in the cast. Extra props to “that guy” Canadian actor Kevin Durand for his performance of Archangel Gabriel, and pretty much for making Gabriel the most badass angel ever. If Jesus need bodyguards, this guy’s the one to call.
“Legion” is a film that asks the audience to make gigantic leaps of logic while permanently suspending disbelief. I am no snob to these types of films. It’s a very slippery slope when a director attempts to create a universe from the ground up that is separate from our own. Director Scott Stewart obviously had a vision when making this film, and I give major effort points to him for that. The special effects are solid and vibrant, if not a bit unoriginal. We’ve seen this story before in films like Frank Darabont’s “The Mist”, and that film is more effective because Darabont keeps the audience in the dark about the source of the terror. The premise behind “Legion” seems to be plucked from the pages of an obscure Stephen King short story, but it spends far too much time explaining the pseudo-biblical universe and not enough time with the scares. It has elements of horror, action, suspense, and drama (believe it or not), but none of them gel together to create a complete film. Other critics have been harsher, specifically targeting the amount of talking that occurs. I would agree that there is a lot of talking, but the script and the acting were strong enough to carry the film’s verbosity. I enjoyed the “follow your dreams” scene between Quaid and Black in the first half of the film. The scene illustrates the film’s potential for greatness. As a whole, however, “Legion” is an entertaining talkfest of a horror-action film that will satisfy the action junkie, but will leave everyone else wanting much more. If you have to see this film in the theater, make it a matinee show. Otherwise, make this one a rental.
Filed under: Movie Wire | Tagged: action, Adrienne Palicki, angel, apocalypse, Charles S. Dutton, Dennis Quaid, film, horror, Kate Walsh, Kevin Durand, legion, Lucas Black, movies, sci-fi, science fiction, sling blade, Tyrese Gibson | 1 Comment »