The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.
It's a week of superstars returning to the Top Ten! Dennis Franz is back, after a lengthy custody battle with Sela Ward over the 10 p.m. Tuesday timeslot. Many people apparently still love Raymond, even though he was starting to think, maybe ... you know, there might be someone else. And it's good to know that a classic clash of wills between Charlton "let my people go" Heston and Yul "let's see them make bricks without straw" Brynner can still pack 'em in front of the TV, year after year.
Here now, for your edification and amusement are the Top Ten shows of the past week in TV, according to the fine people at Nielsen Media Research (each rating point represents a little more than a million viewers).
1. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" (Tuesday, ABC - 18.7) ABC executives, concerned about losing some of their regular Sunday audience, actually had a plan to digitally insert Regis into the "The Ten Commandments." When Ramses says to Moses, "I will not let your people go," Regis was supposed to jump out from behind the Pharaoh's throne and forcefully demand, "Is that your final answer?" Thankfully, Regis thought this was in poor taste and refused.
2. "ER" (Thursday, NBC - 18.2) Last week they knocked off No. 1. But this week's plot, "Dr. Greene must provide 'intimate' care for his crotchety and humiliated father," just wasn't quite sexy enough to pull off another upset.
3. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" (Thursday, ABC - 17.7) This is where the "Daddio" audience is rushing off to just as "Frasier" is coming on.
4. "Friends" (Thursday, NBC - 12.8) And this is where the "Daddio" audience actually comes from.
5. "Dharma & Greg" (Tuesday, ABC - 12.1) Again, you have no problem sticking around after Regis for this show, but when "Sports Night" was on at 9:30, you always had to floss your teeth! And now look what happened! "Talk to Me" finished in the Top 20 in their old spot! You know, we're starting to think that maybe you don't even like "Sports Night."
6. "60 Minutes" (Sunday, CBS - 11.0) In an exclusive interview, Dan Rather was finally able to ask Juan Miguel Gonzales (father of famous Miami Dolphins fan and budding non-Communist Elian) the two questions that have been burning a hole in the minds of Americans everywhere. Namely, "how dare you be from Cuba?" and "what possible justification can you offer to Americans everywhere for wanting to raise your own son?"
7. "Daddio" (Thursday, NBC - 10.9) How is it that guys such as Daddio, or Bob Newhart for that matter, always have really hot wives? Is it because Daddio is going to play Curly in the Three Stooges movie next week? Is that what brings in the babes?
8. "The Ten Commandments" (Sunday, ABC - 10.8) And the Lord said unto Philbin, "Let my time slot go!" And he did, and it was good.
9. "NYPD Blue" (Tuesday, ABC - 10.7)
10. "Everybody Love's Raymond" (Monday, CBS - 10.0) Well, of course they do, honey. And you just keep on saying that, over and over again until the bad voices stop. And in other ratings news ...
ABC's "Once and Again" did an 8.8 on Monday night, continuing its dominance over all other shows with "... and Again" in their titles. "Now and Again" on CBS finished second with a 5.5 and MSNBC's "Time and Again" was a distant third.