Well, what can be said about Legion? It’s a bit too nonsensical for me to call it good. On the other hand it isn’t really badenough for me to talk about that either. It’s not remotely accurate to its subject matter, but it’s not irreverent enough to be offensive. Ultimately, when the lights go on and you’re walking away from this one, scratching your head, what you’re most likely to remember about the movie is exactly what you saw on the poster: an Archangel with a machine gun. And if that by itself isn’t worth a “hell, yeah,” it’s got to be at least worth a “heck, yeah.”
The movie opens with the text of Psalm 34:11, and actually builds on that theme pretty well. For all its faults, Legiondoes make God seem pretty scary. Fed up with man’s wickedness, He dispatches His angelic legion to exterminate us. However, the Archangel Michael (Paul Bethany) refuses to give up on man, and possibly refuses to believe that God has really given up. He drops into Los Angeles on Dec. 23 and hacks off his wings with a combat knife. He then breaks into and loots a gun store, steals a police car, and drives to a trailer park in the middle of nowhere called Paradise Falls.
But wait. It gets better.
At the Paradise Falls diner, we meet a motley crew of characters from different walks of life who either work in the diner or have had the misfortune to get lost/break down there. Most notably, we meet Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), a seemingly insignificant, poor, unwed mother to be, and Jeep (Lucas Black), her live-in boyfriend. Not only is Jeep not the father of Charlie’s child, but she has slept with just about everyone in town except him. Nonetheless, he loves her and offers to help her raise the baby.
There follows an unintentionally comical scene, in which a little old lady (Jeanette Miller) orders a rare steak, uses the c-word, bites a guy on the neck, and then climbs the wall ala The Exorcist, before being shot to death by Kyle (Tyrece Gibson), the token gangsta of the film. Then we see a swarm of bugs that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. Then Michael shows up and shoves sub-machine guns into everyone’s hands, telling them more like the old lady are on their way.
Michael explains that the deformed maniacs now assembling around the diner are possessed — not by demons, but by angels! He has come to protect Charlie, because her child is humanity’s hope for survival.
Yep. The male child of an insignificant, young, single girl, born on Dec. 25 in the middle of nowhere is humanity’s hope. Ever hear a story like that before? Other than a vague reference to the child “leading mankind out of darkness,” no explanation for Michael’s assertion is ever given. From there, Legion shifts from The Exorcist to Night of the Living Dead, as the Possessed try to fight their way into the diner.
The whole ordeal raises a lot of questions. If God has truly despaired of humanity, why is He committing so many resources to killing this child? And if He hasn’t, why not let the child live? Why do the Possessed sometimes exhibit a survival instinct and other times not?
What are the rules on angels? Are they truly immortal, or just tougher than humans? Do they lose their powers if they cut their wings off? The movie never seems to make up its mind. If humans possessed by angels can’t come near the child, why can Gabriel (Kevin Durand) walk right in the door? And when we see that God has apparently resurrected Michael and given him a new set of wings, just in time to save the day, are we to assume that Michael somehow changed God’s mind, or that this was what God had in mind all along?
Such questions matter not to director Scott Stewart. I don’t believe there was ever a hope on his part to do anything more than make a cool, scary action movie.
And action there is. Bethany gets a few fight scenes that would make Chuck Norris jealous. Near the end, there is a scene where Michael and Gabriel go one-on-one in the diner and tear the place apart. This scene, if you will pardon my technical jargon, is probably the most freakin’ awesome action sequence I have seen since Spiderman 3. It’s worth sitting through the rest of the movie for.
I can’t say I recommend this movie, but I definitely recommend searching YouTube for the angel smack-down scene. Can I get heck-yeah?