Review: LEGION (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Review: LEGION (2010)


On paper, LEGION sounds like an entertaining movie of mishmash genre. Angels fighting with machine guns? Now that's what I called "fun". Too bad the final product turns out to be a huge disappointment.

The movie opens with a mysterious hero, Michael (Paul Bettany), appears out of nowhere in a city street ala Terminator-style. He gets straight down to business -- removing the metal collar soldered around his neck and clipping off his expansive pair of white wings. Michael is of course, an angel-in-disguise, and he's on a mission of sorts for settling a score. After stealing guns and ammo, plus battling a possessed cop for his cruiser, he sets off to the Mojave desert. There is a place called Paradise Falls, which is a combination of cafe, gas station and auto shop all in one. Among employees and passerby are including father-and-son Bob (Dennis Quaid) and Jeep Hanson (Lucas Black); cook Percy Walker (Charles S. Dutton); lost and frustrating traveler Kyle Williams (Tyrese Gibson); and a family with car trouble, parents Howard (Jon Tenney) and Sandra Anderson (Kate Walsh) and teen daughter Audrey (Willa Holland). Strange things happen when phones, televisions, radios and any form of communications stop working. It gets worse when a cheerful and ordinary old lady (Jeanette Miller) arrives at the cafe before she turns into some kind of wall-crawling demon. Not long after, Michael appears to save the day. Apparently the God has grown fed up with the world and hellbent to eliminate all mankind once and for all. The only key to the earth's survival lies with the unborn child of waitress Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), whose all the other angels want dead.

A fundamentally silly post-apocalyptic action thriller that starts out with quite a bang but falters halfway with excessive dosage of heavy dialogue and languid pace. For a genre piece that set in a supposedly claustrophobic place of a small diner, the movie is surprisingly slow-moving. Given its somewhat promising setup (at least judging by its trailer), there are little thing going on throughout the course of its running time.

No doubt first-time writer/director Scott Stewart -- a veteran of ILM -- has cooked up a lot of ideas but just doesn't know how to execute them in an engaging way. Instead, everything are pretty much half-baked and most of them are utter nonsense that either makes little sense or no sense at all. For example, how come among all the pregnant women in the world, Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) is the chosen one for possessing a so-called baby that can bring hope to the world?

While the cast are better than average especially from this kind of genre, it's still kind of disappointing to see the usually-competent Paul Bettany looks rather stiff and oddly disconnected as the leading actor of the movie. There are some genuinely creepy moments here and there: notably the one with the nice grandma who suddenly turned into cursing, flesh-eating zombie and another one involving an ice cream man.

Too bad LEGION is a monumental waste of effort that could have done better.

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