Legion (2010 movie) review…

Legion (2010 movie) review after the break…

Legion (2010 movie) review…

When God loses faith in mankind, it’s up to a rebellious angel to save a pregnant waitress at a rundown diner for her child’s birth is mankind’s salvation. Think of it as “The Terminator” meets the Christian religion… Kind of.

Legion is a 2010 movie about how the fate of humanity rests on the occupants of a rundown diner, aptly named “Paradise Falls” (golly, such subtlety…) on a deserted stretch in the American West. Blatant overtures to the Bible are evident, with the waitress (the Virgin Mary, anyone?) not knowing who the father is to her forthcoming child and a young male adult nicknamed “Jeep” (oh, please, couldn’t you have just called him “Joseph” and ended the suspense?) who wants to play Dad even though it’s not his child anyway.

Rounding out the cast of future corpses is Jeep’s father, who owns the diner; An one-handed military veteran and cook; An upper-class family with vehicle problems; An African-American man looking to go “legit” and the aforementioned angel who is now quite admirably equipped with all sorts of modern-day weaponry.

“Legion” isn’t a bad film… Just an unnecessary one. If you want to go easy on the spoilers, here it is – The production values are good but there’s no substance here. We get it – This is a modern-day equivalent of the birth of Jesus Christ. That’s not a bad thing but it’s been done before. Many times. The fate of the planet rests with whether or not a woman gives birth. How many times can you dress that premise up before even casual viewers get bored?

On with the spoilers.

A film like “Legion” is frustrating because, on the one hand, the production values are good but on the other hand, there’s nothing new to the core story. The script is blatant in it’s delivery – There’s hardly any suspense as to the whys and the hows of the plot. We see Michael (the “fallen” angel) fall to Earth, acquire a Schwarzeneggerly amount of firearms and drive to the diner.

One of the main fallacies of the script is that it’s the angels that want to destroy mankind, not demons even though the angels act rather demon-like. How confusing is that? The angels supposedly take over the weak-minded [insert your favorite Tea Party joke here] and use them to attack the patrons at the diner. An ice cream truck driver grows some grotesquely long appendages while a kindly old lady becomes rather Spiderman-like in her mobility. These are angels? With angels like these, who needs demons? I won’t mention the “bobble-head” effect (you’ll know it when you see it) that lost any effectiveness before 2002 rolled around. Hey, “Jacob’s Ladder” called – It wants it’s special effect back. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the snark.

Even if you allowed the “angels now killing humans like demons would kill humans” logic, what makes the film too insubstantial is that we never receive establishing character arcs for anyone but the principal actors. No one is allowed to grow and no one is allowed to change. Take, for example, the ice cream truck driver. We never see him as nice so it doesn’t impact as much when he turns grotesque. He just shows up in his ice cream truck, goes all grotesque and that’s it. He’s only there for the shock value of turning all grotesque. The same complaint holds true with the old lady. We only know of her as grotesque so we only get the shock value of an old lady acting like a big, supernatural btich. Also, why didn’t SHE kill the waitress when she had the chance? That makes no sense, especially when the “angels” later resort to similar but more elaborate ploys to eliminate the humans one by one.

There are some nice aspects to this production that must be mentioned. The lack of credible news is usually a sure-fire way of heightening tension and it works here, too. An old CRT TV is always malfunctioning and radio news is equally spotty. Had the movie been turned into a mystery, then this aspect of the production would have been highly welcomed. However, the audience is ahead of the cast – We know what’s coming and they don’t. Therefore, there’s no real payoff to seeing an emergency broadcast system or the like.

Another aspect of that was nice were the use of the angel’s wings. Angels can apparently wrap themselves up in their wings and twirl around like the Tasmanian Devil, deflecting bullets while being able to slice and dice with their individual feathers. I thought that this was a neat combat tactic. So why didn’t they just directly send angels instead of demonically angelically possessing people? Or, for that matter, drop a bomb on the place? Possess a few people with the power to “push the button” and then push the button and drop a missile there?

Good production values can’t distract from the massive leaps of logic that this film takes. A few cute moments aside, there’s nothing here to engage the viewer beyond some action sequences and a standard religious story. Characters aren’t allowed to grow in a story that doesn’t make a lot of sense.

What might have worked is if the story had been a mystery – The diner is a naturally isolated place. All of sudden, they are cut off from communication and strange things are happening. Is it a terrorist attack? A nuclear attack? Supernatural? THAT story line might’ve gone somewhere and allowed characters to evolve throughout the movie.

Legion isn’t a horrible film but simply an unnecessary one.

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