Details: 100 mins, In Cinemas 3 June 2010, United States, English
Synopsis: After a terrifying biblical apocalypse descends upon the world, a group of strangers stranded in a remote truck stop diner in the Southwest unwittingly become humanity's last line of defense when they discover the diner's young waitress is pregnant with the messiah.
Heaven help these fallen angels.
Oh Lord, here we go again with yet another Apocalyptic saga, this time ascribing the death and destruction to the work of an Almighty who’s displeased with mankind.
Aimed as a horror movie overlaid with religious symbolism, Legion succeeds only in being witless, silly and tedious. It’s B-grade tosh which defeats the sporadic efforts of the predominantly A-list cast.
Released in the US in January, the medium budgeted ($26 million) film earned a tad over $US40 million, a fittingly mediocre tally, and I expect it’ll have a brief run in Australian cinemas en route to its rightful home, DVD stores.
There’s little suspense and few scary moments and the special effects are nothing special, perhaps surprisingly given that first-time director Scott Stewart is an experienced visual effects guy who worked at George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic on such movies as Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace and The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
The screenplay by Stewart and another novice, Peter Schink, postulates that God in his infinite wisdom decides to despatch a flock of evil angels to Earth to obliterate the population; quite why isn’t spelt out, beyond one character’s lazy speculation that the deity “just got tired of all the bullshit.”
Looking uncomfortable and out of place in a genre movie, Paul Bettany plays the archangel Michael, who decides after plummeting to Earth and chopping off his wings that God made the wrong call and he sets out to save humanity. In pursuit of this noble aim, he raids an arsenal that’s handily nearby and in a stolen police car heads to a Godforsaken place on the edge of the Mojave Desert.
His mission is to find an eight-months-pregnant teenager named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), a waitress at a scungy diner prophetically called Paradise Falls, and protect her child: just why the baby is the key to mankind’s survival is never made clear. No Virgin Mary, trailer trash Charlie seems unsure who the father is and doesn’t want a kid anyway.
The diner is run by embittered divorcee Bob (Dennis Quaid, wearing a perpetual snarl), who has a dim-witted mechanic son amusingly named Jeep (Lucas Black), and his business partner, the devout Percy (Charles S. Dutton). The customers include a bickering couple, Sandra and Howard, their slutty daughter and a black dude (Tyrese Gibson) with a shady past.
A harmless-looking granny walks in, takes a bite of raw steak, utters several swear words, chomps on Howard’s neck and scampers across the ceiling before the black dude shoots her. That sets the scene for numerous attacks by zombies/angels and a deranged Ice Cream man.
The humans are so miserable, boring or hateful you may be tempted to shout “Hallelujah” each time one gets mangled or is vaporised. Finally Charlie delivers the baby and, miraculously, is walking around looking fine a few minutes later, minus the baby bump, just as Michael’s brother Gabriel (Kevin Durand) shows up.
The climactic battle is a poorly choreographed Cain vs. Abel contest between Gabriel and Michael. The outcome won’t surprise anyone who believes angels are immortal. The director hadn’t had any experience with actors doing what they’re supposed to do, you know, act, as opposed to being digitally manipulated, and it shows in the inept or wildly over the top performances.
In the production notes, Stewart says he’s already planning the next chapter. I pray not.
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