Every day Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: Touched by an angel!
As a huge fan of the Prophecy trilogy (yes, I know there were actually five films in the series, but I refuse to acknowledge the last two because they didn’t star Christopher Walken), I was really looking forward to watching Legion, the latest killer angel movie to somehow get made and released in the conservative wasteland that is modern America.
Granted, I wasn’t excited enough about Legion to see it in theaters but when I finally sat down and watched director Scott Stewart’s angelic take on the classic siege sub-genre, I walked away a little disappointed. But just a little.
Legion is not a good movie by any stretch of the imagination. I had huge problems with the script and the film’s uneven pacing left me feeling a tad restless during the halfway point of the movie. But, if you can look past the film’s blemishes (and there are quite a few), you’d find that watching Legion is a lot like making out with a burn victim with a nice (but not amazing) personality.
Paul Bettany stars as Michael, the formally winged servant of God who rebels against his creator when he is asked to help usher in the extinction of mankind. After the Lord decides he is bored with his current crop of playthings and puts the plan in motion to wipe out all of humanity, Michael arms himself with enough high-powered weaponry to overthrow a small South American country and heads out in search of mankind’s last hope — the unborn bastard baby of an unwed waitress played by Adrianne Palicki.
Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Charles S. Dutton, Dennis Quaid, Jon Tenney, Willa Holland and Kate Walsh all play the unlucky patrons of a roadside diner that are thrown into the mix when they find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. Part of a good ol’ fashioned “us vs. them” siege, Michael and his new flock of red shirts must do their best to defend the diner from a hoard of humans possessed by angels.
But don’t expect any life lessons or words of wisdom when these angels reach out to touch you. With their creepy baby teeth, stretchy snake-jaws and raspy voices, these angel-possessed minions have more in common with Captain Howdy then John Travolta’s charming overgrown cherub from Michael.
And if the possessed weren’t bad enough, God has sent Gabriel, played by Kevin Durand, to be the film’s equivalent of a video game final boss. While Durand is no Christopher Walken, he has quickly become one of my favorite character actors after his scene-stealing roles in Lost, Dark Angel and Smokin’ Aces. Armed with a truly wicked mechanical mace that looks like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon, Gabriel proves to be a nice Big Bad for the film’s climax.
Speaking of Saturday morning cartoons, Legion suffers most from its weak script full of terrible dialogue and questionable logic. Co-writers Stewart and Peter Schink took what could have (and should have) been an awesome concept and drained it of any ounce of awesomness — presumably in a cost cutting measure (crappy CGI effects cost money!).
While Stewart, a mainstay of special effects work, knows how to frame a shot and move the camera, the film never manages to overwhelmingly impress on a visceral level. Even the work of a solid cast of character actors can’t save Legion from its eventual fate — a short life of unending repeats as Spike TV or FX’s “Man Movie of the Afternoon” before eventually winding up in the heap of forgotten supernatural action flicks (see: End of Days).
Legion is fun for what it is — a mind numbing popcorn action flick with a blasphemous twist. Violent death scenes and some creepy looking monsters should help attract the attention of those that love Dokken or Dio.
For everybody else, Legion is worth catching when it begins to play ad naseum on the basic cable television channel of its choosing. Unless The Prophecy is on, that is.
Robert Saucedo would love to see a buddy angel movie staring Paul Betteny and John Travolta. They would get their orders from the corpse of George Burns. Follow Robert on Twitter @robsaucedo2500.
Robert Saucedo is an avid movie watcher with seriously poor sleeping habits. The Mikey from Life cereal of film fans, Robert will watch just about anything — good, bad or ugly. He has written about film for newspapers, radio and online for the last 10 years. This has taken a toll on his sanity — of that you can be sure. Follow him on Twitter at @robsaucedo2500.