Legion Leaves Biblical Truth Behind
- Monday, January 25, 2010
DVD Release Date: May 11, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: January 22, 2010
Rating: R (for strong bloody violence and language)
Run Time: 100 min.
Director: Scott Stewart
Actors: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Dennis Quaid, Adrianne Palicki, Charles S. Dutton, Kevin Durand, Jon Tenney, Willa Holland
In Legion, God gives up on mankind a second time, and sends his angels to destroy humanity. The unborn child of a lowly woman is said to be humanity's only hope, the one who will lead us out of darkness. And the contest between good angels and fallen angels is set at a remote diner called Paradise Falls.
The film has elements of the first coming of Christ and an apocalypse suggesting the second coming, dressed up in all sorts of religious terminology that might make viewers who don't know any better believe they're watching a Bible-based film.
Legion is nothing of the sort. It's a mess—and it can't be saved.
Paul Bettany stars as Michael—yes, the archangel—who shows up on earth December 23, cuts off his wings and drives to the Paradise Falls diner. His trunk is filled with guns, and he's ready for a fight. His mission: To protect Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), or more specifically, Charlie's unborn child, who holds the hope for humanity's future. The baby's due date isn't until the new year, but Michael says the child will arrive on … oh, nevermind. Not significant.
As Michael explains to the diner's employees and patrons, God has tired of humanity. He once wiped us out with a flood; this time he's sent his angels, who take possession of weak-willed humans and set out to destroy the earth, per God's orders. Michael isn't on the same page as God. He wants to save humankind rather than destroy it. Teaming with Michael to prevent God's plan of destruction are Bob (Dennis Quaid), Jeep (Lucas Black), Kyle (Tyrese Gibson) and Percy (Charles S. Dutton). On God's side: the angel Gabriel, who shows up to fight with Michael and cut down anyone interested in preserving life rather than ending it.
Legion has no precise parallel to Scripture, but those who go into it without biblical knowledge might be fooled into thinking that it does. Still, one might wonder if the story works as a fun "B" movie. No again. The script is a disaster. A child is said to be humanity's only hope, but this is not explained. (There's a lot more Terminator here than The Nativity Story, but even that's misleading. Terminator was a fantastic film; Legion is anything but.) The revelation God has already given mankind isn't mentioned beyond a reference to the flood and an allusion to the plagues of Exodus—no Jesus, no salvation, no Spirit, no continuing hope in the midst of trial. It's as if the first coming of Christ never took place.
There are gun battles and a few major explosions, but the special effects involving human possession are a joke. These possessed individuals have short fangs that are supposed to be menacing, but are more ripe for a Mystery Science Theater 3,000 commentary track. Gabriel uses his wings as weapons, but the peace-loving Michael chooses to arm himself to the teeth with guns instead.
The film does have one frightening scene involving a foul-mouthed granny who predicts that everyone will "burn," then rips into one of the diner's patrons. But the scene has been included in the film's ads and preview, muting its effectiveness for many in the audience.
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