Gah! Legion (2010) Movie ReviewPosted: October 24, 2010
Sometimes the best parts of a movie are all in the trailer. Such is the case with 2010’s film, Legion, directed by Scott Stewart. The premise of the film (God has grown sick of the humans, and so has decided to wipe them all out) is one I found appealing, and in the previews there was a shot of an ice-cream truck driver who turned into a gangly weird creature straight out of Oz (which delighted me)… and the creepy old lady who bit a man’s throat out was good for a laugh… but where do you go, narrative-wise, once you opened up the giant can of whoopass that is “the end times”?
Unfortunately, Legion takes itself a little too seriously. Archangel Michael (yes, he is a character in this film) is a good angel who has been cast out of the “angel corps” or whatever and falls to earth in LA where he cuts off his wings (why is not explained… if I had wings like FUCK ALL would I cut them off… wings are bound to be useful (as Gabriel later proves)). He raids a toy warehouse which is filled with SMGs and rocket launchers (OK, I guess the toy warehouse is supposed to be a front for gun smugglers) and steals a cop car after one of the cops gets ‘possessed’ and tells him that the rest of heaven is coming for him (Michael) — and they may have mentioned ‘the child’ who is mankind’s only hope. That child gets mentioned (a lot) later. It seems that angels (or spirits of some kind) can possess some of the “weaker willed” humans and use them to do bad things that our angry God wants done. After taking care of this situation, Archangel Michael takes off in the cop car with a trunk full of weapons.
Cut to a shithole diner/truckstop on the edge of nowhere in the desert. Here we meet the diner’s embittered owner (played by Dennis Quaid), his son ‘Jeep’ (who has a heart of gold), the cook, Percy, and a dysfunctional family consisting of a bitchy mother, a loudmouth father and emo/sexually promiscuous daughter. The family is passing through but their car has broken down. The young waitress, Charlie, is very pregnant but the father of the baby is out of the picture and it’s made painfully obvious that the son of the diner’s owner, “Jeep,” dotes on her. Why he is named after an off-road vehicle is not clear. A black guy/gang banger (who turns out to be a stand-up guy who wins the respect of others) comes in, wanting to use the phone. He’s lost and can’t get a signal on his cell.
Well, just when you think that this is going to become a film where loveable misfits are tossed together by circumstance in an out-of-the-way desert truckstop (like “Bagdad Cafe,”), things start getting weird. An old woman pulls up, enters the cafe, orders a steak and, after inquiring about the baby’s due date, starts calling Charlie the waitress nasty names and telling her the child will die.
The old woman goes berserk and bites the throat out of the loudmouth husband and then scuttles across the ceiling as Quaid shoots at her with his 20 gauge and Percy the cook hits her in the face with an impressively hurled frying pan. Black guy/gangbanger pulls out a Glock and drops the old lady. They are all still freaked about this when Archangel Michael pulls up and explains that Charlie is going to give birth to the savior of mankind, but God is sending his servants to kill the child so they better board up the diner and hunker down and try to save the child.
At this point the movie becomes more like a cross between “Assault on Precinct 13” and “Night of the Living Dead.” Led by Michael, the good guys fortify the diner. The angels send waves of weird possessed losers/cannon fodder whom the good guys mow down with all of the weapons Michael brought with him. Eventually Archangel Gabriel shows up. Unlike Michael, he still has his wings and has a neat trick where when someone shoots bullets at him he can brush the bullets away with his wings.
I don’t want to give any spoilers beyond this point other than to say that eventually the day is saved and even God doesn’t seem like such a bad guy after all. I don’t mind that the film is probably “theologically unsound.” But the degree to which it takes itself serious kind of busts it for me. If you saw the preview, you have the gist of what the movie is like. Unfortunately, there is not a lot more to it.