Monday 8 March 2010

Review: Legion

Year: 2010
Director: Scott Stewart
Screenplay: Scott Stewart, Peter Schink
Starring: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Dennis Quaid, Charles S Dutton, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki

Plot synopsis is here

Convention is fine, Homage isn't an issue and neither is cliche if used correctly. These things will never bother an audience if the filmmakers are creative enough with their material. Legion however is devoid of pesky little things like imagination, in fact it damn near avoids it. But that's not the only thing this little movie has in store. It's also inept in storytelling, full of atrocious acting and lethargic action sequences. Let's not stop there! The film is also full of cheap shoddy symbolism, tried themes and a distinct lack of's also fucking stupid.

Legion is a bad film. A film that takes a tried premise runs it into the ground, but even then has trouble finding the floor. I've never seen an apocalyptic movie which seemingly has so little at stakes. Even when the film tell us (it does love to TELL you things instead of SHOWING) the levels of peril, it can't even effectively display the risk. We are not scared, we are not worried...hell for most of the movie I wasn't even bothered.

Much of this stems from the movies reluctance on building on the (very) tiny sparks of interest and deciding on retreading elements and imagery that were used in better movies. Watch how the angel Micheal (A very bored Bettany) descends to earth and also how he's introduced to the human characters when he emerges out of the LA police car. The imagery is so connected to a certain sci-fi film, that it looks not only out of place within this film but foolhardy. The film constantly does this; a bit of Assault on Precinct 13 here, a little bit of night of the living dead there, the film is a hodgepodge of ideas used better in other movies. The director does nothing to hide this or integrate them properly into the film he lets them hang ridiculously...such is life.

I'll be honest. I really liked the idea that if mankind was to be wiped out by the angels, then our will, emotional strength and our very humanity would be tested first. When these words are uttered in the film I was expecting to see something worthwhile. Director Scott Stewart decides that whats more interesting then testing these characters is more talking in a diner. Like I said before...tiny sparks of interest. It's a damn shame they shrivel and die like weeds in a well kept allotment. What's more interesting to Stewart is absurd character motivations. Check out poor Kate Walsh's schizophrenic mother character for a laugh.

Other unintentionally amusing moments include token black thug (the "wonderful" actor that is Tyrese) and token black gospel guy (Charles S. Dutton...Why?) sprouting stereotypical dialogue that would make Ben from Night of the Living Dead cry tears of blood, perfect t-shaped explosions, Dennis Quaid looking like he didn't get paid enough for his woeful dialogue and of course a whizzing mace that is carried by all angels.

Will I see worse movies than Legion this year? Possibly. But Legion wishes to belong to one of those special inner circles of cinematic hell. You know the place, where the resident evil sequels and American Psycho 2 reside. Imagine the torture to be hellish, however not as hellish as having to watch this again.