Saturday, January 23, 2010

Movie Review: Legion

You know when you watch a trailer that looks awesome in every way, yet somehow you've got this sick feeling in your stomach that the actual movie won't quite measure up to what you think it's about? And then you go see the movie and--SURPRISE--it's actually way better than you could ever have imagined?

Well, that didn't happen with Legion. No sirreee, not at all!

Legion is one of those insipid genre films that tries so hard to be "kewl" and yet edgy at the same time. It attempts to please the action crowd, the thriller crowd, the horror crowd, AND the fantasy/sci-fi crowd all at once. And it fails on all fronts, and fails HARD!!! The writing is some of the worst written, ham-fisted dialogue spouting turd tornadoes I've ever had the misfortune of being subjected to. My mouth was literally agape by some of the atrocious stinkers these characters delivered with totally straight faces. I thought: who wrote this, an 8-year old boy with a bath towel cape tied around his neck?

(Be careful, dude -- the shitstorm's about to HIT!!!)

Well, Legion is directed and co-written by Scott Stewart. Yeah, I know: who? This is his first big Hollywood movie. Before that he did visual effects supervision on some pretty big movies. Hmmm, maybe that should have been my clue? The movie is pretty to look at at times, but that's about all it's got going for it. Legion stars Paul Bettany as the angel, Michael, who has gone against God's wishes to finally up and rain Armageddon down on humanity. He escapes heaven to warn the humans (whom he loves more than God does), and at one point literally severs his ties by sawing the wings off his back (OUCH!) before running off to protect mankind's last redemption.

The redemption in this case--wouldn't you know it?--is a baby not yet born residing within the womb of a woman who does not believe in God or even in happiness. She smokes (whilst 8 months pregnant), she strings along some dull, love-stricken sad puppy-dog of a mechanic, and is forever in full bitch mode it seems for no apparent reason. Oh yeah, that's right, correction: because some dirty low-down MAN left her.

Oh trust me, it gets worse.

As Michael secures a small army's worth of weapons and halls ass across the Mojave desert in search of the soon-to-be-born baby savior of humanity, the diner where the mother works is visited by a particularly gruesome angel-possessed old lady. Oh, did I mention that the "bad guys" in this movie are just humans possessed not by demons, but ANGELS? Oh yeah, that. I'll just call them demons from now on, because--let's be serious here--that's what they really are, for all intent and purposes.

(Old lady pantomining how big this movie sucks)

Enter Tyrese, bringing with him pretty much every black-man stereotype ever perpetuated by white-bread Hollywood writers. He's angry, listens to gangster rap, fights his lady over child custody, and (of course) is packing heat. He happens upon the diner in the middle of this desert on his way to a court hearing in LA, and ends up taking on more than just bad driving directions when he pumps a few slugs into the demon's back from clear across the room. Then claims later that he never even fired a gun before.

Yeah, okay man. Whatever you say. Do me a favor, can we ban Tyrese from Hollywood altogether? No, I don't mean just movies. I mean the WHOLE DAMN COUNTY of L.A. Don't let this guy anywhere near another movie set again, not even to deliver donuts!

Anyway, things go to hell in a hand basket pretty quick. Just like that last line, before long we're being subjected to almost every action movie cliché in the book. Cranky middle-of-the-road proprietor cussin' and packing a 12-guage? Check. Sassy goth teen who simply cannot STAND her straight-laced yuppie parents? Check. Angry black man with a secret heart of gold? Oh wait, I already mentioned him. But, check! Another, less angry, black man but older and spouting biblical wisdom? Oh, and he's the cook, too? Check and check. Survivors holed up in a boarded-up building as shambling zomb . . . er, I mean DEMONS close in on all sides? Again, check.

(der . . . yep. . .yep . . .yup. . . nuh-huh. derrrrr)

I swear, I felt like I was watching a half-dozen B-horror movies I've seen before all rolled into one. The crap just did not stop! And let me not even get into all the pseudo-biblical doom and gloom BS that people in the entertainment biz seem to think passes for good religious-themed thrillers these days. Note to Hollywood: just stop it already, okay? You had your heyday with this theme back in the late 90s when Y2K was a threat people actually took seriously for all of 3 seconds. Leave us alone already!

Anyway, the Archangel Gabriel finally shows up after what seems like a terminally long buildup, and just when you think the action's really going to crank up now . . . it simply peters out and dies. There's a brief fight, sure, between Michael and Gabriel (who exists only to follow God's law to the letter, it seems). But blink and you'll miss it.

Ultimately, the action in this movie can be summed up like so: blam, blam, blam. I'mma bust a cap in you ass, zombies! Clang, clang, clang--their time is up, Michael. No, my brother, their time has just begun. Wah, wah, oh the baby is here, hallelujah!!! Oh shit, we still got 20,000 demons camped outside our diner. Wanna run for it? Sure. This movie won't end unless we do SOMETHING!

And there you have it. You no longer need to see this movie. I just delivered for you the exact same emotional investment you got reading that last paragraph as you'll get from watching the actual film. And you didn't have to pay $10.50 for the privilege because I'm generous like that.

You're welcome.

Rating:   3/10


Kim Kasch said...

I wanted to see that one if only for the little old lady in the diner. That would be a fun part to play. Ceiling crawling old lady :)

David Batista said...

I thought that looked good, too. In the trailer. But because of the hamminess of the dialogue and acting, the scene--like the rest of the movie--doesn't quite work.

Rodney said...

Okay, David, since you're being so vague here, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you didn't like the movie. Is that about right?? :-)

I mean seriously, man, stop sugar coating it and tell it like it is! The last review I read like that was the New Yorker's review of Charlie's Angels, where they compared the director to a hamburger.

I'll wait to download this flick intead of going to the movies.

David Batista said...

Hey, it might actually work better as a download. Lowered expectations, and all.

Let me know.

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