Movie studios are really trying to capture the vibe of the possible end-of-the-world in 2012 and Legion is further proof of that. Instead of a natural disaster, writer/director Scott Stewart is going old-school with religion. Using this premise in a movie, will usually garner a cult following. Legion is deserving enough to attain a cult following. However, that’s probably where it ends for this flick.
So the story begins with Michael (Paul Bettany), one of God’s trusted angels, turning his back on the big man’s orders. Therefore, he is no longer immortal and has set out to protect mankind from an extermination by G’s loyal angels, led by Gabriel (Kevin Durand). Naturally there’s a prophecy about an unborn child that is mankind’s only hope. Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) is a waitress at diner in the middle-of-nowhere Arizona. You guessed it, Charlie is pregnant. The diner, aptly titled Paradise Falls, is run by Bob (Dennis Quaid), and his son Jeep (Lucas Black). On this particular day, the diner is busy with customers (Tyrese Gibson, Jon Tenney, Kate Walsh, and Willa Holland), who all ended up at the diner for some strange reason.
After the first attempted attack by the angels, former angel Michael shows up just in time to protect Charlie’s baby. He supplies the skeptical crew at the diner with tons of automatic machine guns and forms a stronghold. Meanwhile, legions of angels are possessing the weak-minded people of Earth and they’re all showing up to kill the unborn child. This small group has what resembles an old-west shootout with the crafty angels of God.
As mentioned in previews, the premise is intriguing enough to attract the niche market to the theater. Others, are probably waiting for reviews and/or word-of-mouth. A question everyone needs to ask is whether this is action-heavy or story-driven. The answer is the latter. Our action-sequences do have some cool effects to them, but it’s just straight up machine-gun blasting until the last “epic” battle. Choreography on the last battle between “Michael” and Gabriel” is fairly decent to watch. Can’t say it felt all that epic, but it was entertaining. That being said, some more action could have helped, since the dialogue/character development scenes were boring.
That’s where the performances come in. The script had a lot of the above mentioned dialogue/CD scenes with the cast pairing off in twos. Now when Paul Bettany and Tyrese Gibson were part of that pairing, the dialogue was interesting. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast will have the audience tuning out. Can’t blame the script as much as the other cast members. In fairness, Charles S. Dutton’s character wasn’t apart of any real substantial dialogue moments, so he gets a pass. Kate Walsh was seriously out-of-place in this one. So was Dennis Quaid at times. Without Bettany involved, these dialogue moments could have killed the overall tone for this movie.
One of the aspects that the audience may like about Legion, is that it stays serious. Much like the “Michael” character. The script doesn’t work in any humor at all. It’s all business, which works well with the style of this flick. Besides, the drawn-out, dialogue heavy middle, the movie does struggle a bit at the end. Clocking it at 100 minutes, they probably should of wrapped this up around the 90 minute mark. Apparently, Scott Stewart wanted closure for his ending and it seems like he shoved too much in toward the end. The ending kind of had that B-movie type feeling, which can tamper with that satisfying feeling after watching this.
Overall, fans of The Prophecy will be able to get into this. The casual moviegoer will find the 1st half interesting and entertaining. After halftime though, the movie starts to show some flaws in the continuity and storytelling department. Even though Scott Stewart’s vision, in the story department, isn’t all that different than other flicks that have taken on this material. It does show creativity in certain aspects. With a few more tools, Legion could have delivered a more provocative reaction. Depending on one’s expectations, Legion is something to buy into.
Read my interview with Tyrese Gibson.