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.
I won't give away the film's clever opening except to say that it's
playfully inventive and if you buy into it it ties together nicely
with the rest of the film. Essentially it's a film about the American
dream Hollywood style: Two young kids growing up in Smalltown USA who
go to Tinseltown with delusions of grandeur hoping to escape their
insulated world for fame and fortune. Oh yeah and one of the guys sells
his virginity to get funding for their film.
Jeremy Jordan and Mark Ballou as CFDS (Chronic Filmmaking Dream
Syndrome) sufferers Dave and Ethan are believably earnest in a 1990
"Dawson's Creek" sort of way. Ruth De Sosa is the Beverly Hills
housewife exploiting the sexually repressed boys for cheap thrills and
Courtney Gains plays the dim-witted producer. No stars here but no
Probably the most amazing thing about the film is Lu's fascination with
and affinity for Americana. It's hard to believe the director has only
been in the United States for five years; her feeling for the small-town
characters and their situations is dead-on. And Lu has a great sense of
visual style particularly for such a low-budget affair.