If a movie focusing on angels that are hell-bent on clearing the slate that has become humanity while a loose-canon seeks to protect the next Jesus doesn’t sound like a great idea to you, you aren’t the only one. Despite featuring angels that possess innocent people, I’m more interested in understanding what possessed Sony Pictures to release Legion. Not only is the plot bordering on religiously insensitive, but also it goes unexplained for nearly half the film. Characters simply appear, speak a sentence of meaningless character traits, and then chaos erupts. Beyond that you can look forward to forgetful monologues, the appearance of a child’s grown stunt double, and the disappearance of reason. Legion’s suck-factor is biblical.
Legion stars Paul Bettany as Michael, an Angel who has gone rogue. He’s on his own mission to protect Charlie (played by Adrianne Palicki) and her unborn son. Charlie (somebody likes Top Gun) is a waitress at the Paradise Falls Diner in the middle of nowhere operated by Bob (Dennis Quaid) and his son Jeep (Lucas Black). When the TV goes out and townsfolk start to get devilish, Michael jumps on the scene with an arsenal of guns to wait it out till the child can be born.
Scott Stewart, as director and co-writer, displays no grasp on the fundamentals of effective storytelling. So much happens before any character asks the right questions. There is no explanation to cover why the attackers randomly stop. No evidence to suggest that the evil Gabriel (Kevin Durand) couldn’t have appeared earlier. When he does arrive, you gotta love how Gabriel waits for Michael to give orders to Jeep before engaging in combat. The list could go on for pages. Sadly, post-view ranting and dissection with friends will be the only entertainment to come from the film.
The acting ranges from sleepwalking to untalented. Bettany is an uninterested zombie who seems to have in mind just how bad the finished product will stink. One of the humans at the Paradise Falls Diner is played by Willa Holland, whose interpretation of distressed equates to three seconds of fidgeting.
There is no humor in Legion. The closest any bit comes is when a possessed ice cream man approaches the diner with his melody playing. Naturally I pondered the reasoning behind this choice. It’s not funny, surprising, intelligent, or fitting with the tone of the film. So many lines are played straight that it gets lethargic.
Saying that Legion steals from the Cameron Terminator films is a disservice to the word steal. Again there is gun heavy combat, a waitress expecting the savior of humanity, the protagonist’s bodyguard appears in an alley at night, and a bevy of shots composed with the superior films as templates. You can find better action with more compelling storylines in Daybreakers and The Book of Eli. If you have to see a grown man with wings this weekend, a safer bet would be Tooth Fairy. *