MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Legion’

Paul Bettany stars in Screen Gems' supernatural action thriller LEGION.

Review by J.T. Johnson

DIRECTOR: Scott Stewart
CINEMATOGRAPHY: John Lindley
WRITERS: Peter Schink, Scott Stewart
MUSIC: John Frizzell

Humanity is slowly going down the tubes and everyone is sad and lonely. Only this time, the big guy upstairs is pissed off about it and decides that it’s finally time to bring down some holy justice to Earth. Of course, this brand of justice means sending down angels to possess the weaker humans and bore the shit out of me for 90 minutes.

The film opens up with the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) falling from the heavens and making himself mortal. You see, Michael still has faith in humanity and disobeys God by defying his orders. After his fall from grace, Michael arms himself with so many guns that it would make Rambo blush.

Then he heads to a small diner in the deserts of New Mexico to protect a young, pregnant waitress (Adrianne Palicki) and warn her that all of the other angels are coming to kill her and her baby. Michael knows that the baby will lead humanity out of their current dark state. Therefore, he has all of the people in the diner board up the windows, arm themselves and wait for the baby’s birth.

And this is the first and biggest problem with the film. The characters do nothing but wait through most of the film. In the meantime, characters like Bob Hanson (Dennis Quaid) bitch and moan about all of the inane and stupid problems they have with their lives and the audience just wants to shoot themselves by the end of the flick.

Even Michael has nothing to do except explain what the hell is going on outside and occasionally shoot off his guns. When he finally arrives to the diner, this is where it seems the movie might actually begin to get interesting. However, it is not meant to be.

But the film does change one thing from the past generic thrillers we’ve had in the past. The film does not have just one token black guy.

It has two token black guys!

Another huge problem is that just because a writer makes it angels instead of demons that are coming to destroy the only thing that can save humanity, it doesn’t make it original enough. All of the angels are doing things we’ve seen before. They threaten the lead female menacingly with dialogue like, “Your baby’s going to burn,” before climbing the walls or dislocating their jaws.

Even Doug Jones (of “Hellboy” fame) makes an appearance as a possessed and rather limber ice cream man. Still, it doesn’t save the film. The villain of the piece is supposed to be Gabriel (Kevin Durand) and that would be fine if Gabriel was in the film for more than ten minutes.

One of the things that Michael has to keep explaining to the others is that something worse is coming. He repeats this a few times before Gabriel finally shows up. I don’t feel threatened by the guy because, guess what… I don’t know him.

Just because he comes in with a weird bladed hammer thingy (I guess God retired the flaming swords) doesn’t mean I’m going to find him threatening.

The acting is good for the most part. Bettany has always been good in the films that he’s appeared in and even Quaid manages not to ham it up too much. Lucas Black, though, needs to hang it up. He sucked in “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and he sucks here. I’m putting him on the list with other actors I’d rather see buried alive than in another movie.

Just like in “Daybreakers”, this film comes in with a running time of 90-minutes. That means there is no time for silly little things like plot or character development. Let’s just pull out the guns and start shooting. If this film is any indication of what we can expect in 2010, we’re going to be in for a very disappointing year.

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