Legion (2010)

Legion was released in January, a month that rarely sees a movie of substance. I knew this going in, but I had seen the trailers some time ago and remembered the creepy old lady in the diner. I thought the film might be entertaining at the least, and maybe even be a bit creepy. What I got was one of the worst movies I’ve seen in quite a while, matching the abominations of Transformers 2 and 2012 while reducing the entertainment and pace. Frankly, I wish I had stayed home.

Legion begins with a very Terminator-like scene of an angel falling to Earth. He subsequently cuts off his wings and goes to a random stockpile of weapons that’s conveniently near by. This introduction sets up for one of the worst premises imaginable: God has decided he is sick of humans and wants to exterminate them. Instead of using his omnipotence to do so, he sends down angels. The angels possess the weak-willed humans in a VERY demonic way and kill all the other humans around them. The angel who cut off his wings is Paul Bettany’s Michael, who has apparently out-faithed God, still has hope in humanity, and decides to fight on their side. His goal is to protect a pregnant woman whose unborn child may be the second coming of Christ. There are also swarms of flies for some reason. I don’t really know, the entire idea was embarrassingly stupid.

There’s an “ensemble cast” here, but the only reason for having an ensemble is because the writers are bad at character development. The characters are stuck together in a diner with the pregnant woman, and it’s this setting where Michael and the cast make their stand. The movie is mostly a “holed up defense” film in the vein of Dawn of the Dead, but instead of a mall for the characters to play around in, they’re just stuck in a very boring shithole diner in the middle of nowhere.

Lucas Black plays the most annoying of the crew, a southern kid named Jeep (yeah, really) whose drawling lines made me laugh at their outlandishness. Dennis Quaid is stand-out awful as Black’s father, a man who has lost faith and is in the rungs of alcoholism. Other cast members like Tyrese Gibson and Charles S. Dutton are inoffensive, but Bettany’s really the only one who is able to do anything with the garbage material he’s given.

The main problem with this movie is that it’s just so damn boring. The trailers show a demonic old grandma and a twisted ice cream man getting their creep on, but the unfortunate reality is that the trailers showed everything there was to show. Both of these horror draws are gone as soon as they come, with the ice cream man serving literally no purpose. They try to make the old lady creepy by having her swear a lot, but it just comes off as childish and campy. There’s also a possessed child somewhere in the chaos of all this, and whether they meant to or not, the kid looks like a direct rip-off of Chucky from the Child’s Play series. He has some of the worst lines in the film, lines that someone apparently thought would be cute, funny, or scary. They were none of the above. They were just trite.

The scenes I just described are intermittently strewn throughout the film, with long durations of character scenes between them. The dialogue is stiff and uninteresting, with a lot of discussion about faith. The film’s last line is a message to have faith, but I’m not sure what they’re trying to say here, because you have to keep in mind that God is essentially the film’s antagonist. So I’m not entirely sure, but I think the film’s message is to keep your faith in God even when he possesses the weak-willed half of humanity and tries to kill off your species.

The fact that the angels came down and possessed people at all is, in my opinion, a gaping plot hole. Durand shows that the angels are fearsome warriors when they’re in their winged form, so why bother having them possess people at all? I guess to have the very poor-looking CGI where peoples’ heads shake violently as they’re being possessed. But it’s not the only instance of stupidity in the film – there are a laundry list of them, from having the world’s LOUDEST ice cream truck ever to having a newborn baby survive a horrifically violent car crash.

That same car crash sees the hands-down laziest killing of a character I’ve ever witness. When the previously pregnant woman climbs out of the car, she inquires about her child, who she’s told is safe. She then asks about the fourth passenger, a young girl. Jeep shakes his head no, and the couple and baby move on. If only someone had shaken their head no to the making of this film, perhaps the world could have been spared one of the worst films made in recent years.

No matter what you’re interested in, there is no reason to see this movie. It’s not scary or creepy, it’s not entertaining, and it’s not badass. The swarm of angels flying around that you saw in the trailers is shown as a flashback, and there are never any battles of epic proportion in the film. It’s just people standing on a roof and shooting zombie-like folk who are possessed by angels but acting like demons. It even has a horrible ending, with a character reciting the same exact quote that they began the film with. It really doesn’t make any sense to end the film with this quote, but by that point I had come to expect nothing better from the horrible filmmakers that brought us Legion.

Final rating: 1/10

–James A. Janisse





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