Review: Legion

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia

legion-posterLegion (2010). Director: Scott Stewart. Cast: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Dennis Quaid.

I decided to rent Legion because it looked like a cross between Demon Knight and The Prophecy, and that sounded like a decent combo. Unfortunately, Legion doesn’t measure to either of those movies and ends up a disappointment of Biblical proportions.

The story is simple: God has started the Apocalypse. He sends his angels down to Earth to kill a woman pregnant with a child. Why is the child so important? We don’t know. All we know is that if the child dies, the world ends, but the cause and effect link is blurry, to say the least.

The woman is a waitress in a diner in the middle of nowhere and all the action takes place in this diner where a group of survivors are fighting the zombie hordes of God, err…I mean the angels. It’s difficult to tell that they are angels and not zombies because they behave just like zombies: possessing human bodies, then shuffling around without doing anything interesting. You’d hope God’s army would have a bit more mojo.

Anyway, this – so far – is the exact same setup as of Demon Knight, with angels outside the diner instead of demons. The difference is Demon Knight had a good internal logic and developed its universe in a coherent fashion, something Legion doesn’t bother with. For example, in Demon Knight, the demons could not cross through doorways that had been protected with blood from a sacred object. This meant that the people were safe inside and the demons had to figure out ways to break in – including resorting to trickery. However, the angels in Legion do not have such restrictions and one wonders why they don’t simply get into the diner and why some bullets are able to scare them off. Or, if the baby-murdering gig was so important, why somebody didn’t ring Gabriel sooner. What, he had to wax his eyebrows before heading down to Earth?

For example, we have Michael who decides to cut off his wings and serve as the mother’s protector. I couldn’t figure out if Michael had lost his angel powers when he renounced his wings, or if he still had them, because the movie never deigns to make a choice on the matter.

Another example of how little attention the writers paid to the small-yet-crucial details happens during the delivery scene. One minute, the actress says, “It’s coming!” The next, that baby is just sliding out. I’ve had two children. With my first child, I went into labour for 12 hours. The second was easier. Nevertheless, you start feeling contractions way, way before you yell, “It’s coming!” Hours beforehand. Even if someone goes into premature labour, there are symptoms. Yet, the waitress is daisy fresh, never complaining about cramps until that crucial moment.

You might think this is small potatoes, but it’s these kinds of flaws in logic both small and large – Where is Lucifer? On a cruise? – which pepper the script and ultimately doom Legion.

The movie’s biggest flaw is its lack of ability to elicit chills or thrills. It’s an action/horror flick without gusto, and we never get to know the leads well enough to care about their ultimate fate. Plus, the mega-angel-vs-angel fight I pictured in my head does not happen. Come on. We all paid money for the angel-on-angel action. We wanted to see a legion of angels, not a legion of zombies.

Legion is a composite of several horror and action flicks, and lacks any originality or freshness. It does contain some chuckles, like the broadcast revealing the National Guard is fighting the angel invasion (somebody read the Cliffs Notes version of the Bible) and the pro-life message embedded in the movie. Don’t get an abortion or you might end the universe, missie!

Umm…but if the baby was so important, why wouldn’t somebody send the chick a Heaven telegram and tell her to stop smoking during her pregnancy? Just saying.

My final verdict? Get The Prophecy. Same idea, more fun and Christopher Walken is in it.

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IFPReview: Legion