169 of 191 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
God has lost faith in humanity, something that hasn't happened since the days of Noah. But instead of a flood, He has sent down a legion of angels, who possess the bodies of weak-minded people, turning them into ... certainly not demons, but then again, there's nothing angelic about these people, so maybe there's no other way to describe them. Anyway, it seems the only one who has kept the faith is the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany), who directly disobeys God by protecting what he was sent to destroy: A pregnant young waitress named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), whose child was prophesized to be humanity's salvation. Upon finding her in a middle-of-nowhere New Mexico diner - named, appropriately, Paradise Falls - Michael leads a stranded group of strangers in an apocalyptic battle against the angels, who descend in droves.
What I find fascinating is that, for a film that comes across as nothing more than a violent, gory supernatural thriller, "Legion" tells a thoroughly absorbing story, one that, oddly enough, sends a message more hopeful and satisfying than the one sent by the duplicitous "The Book of Eli." I suspect few will latch onto this, since more time is spent on bloody shootouts and cornball dialogue; a basic shot consists of Bettany toting heavy artillery while someone over his shoulder swears loudly. Another basic shot shows a possessed person transforming hideously, and yes, this includes the overhyped scene of the old woman in the diner. And yet, in spite of all this, the subtexts are there, and there are moments of compelling character development.
Consider the relationship between Charlie and her boyfriend, a simple but decent mechanic named Jeep (Lucas Black); he wants to provide for her despite not being the father of her child, which she finds difficult to understand since she doesn't believe herself to be all that good of a person. She has no plans for the future. She contemplated an abortion, and even in her eighth month of pregnancy, she smokes. "Why do you have so much faith in me?" she asks Jeep, as if to suggest that it's wrong to care for someone who doesn't have it together. "Am I another one of your lost causes?" Jeep then leaves, refusing to indulge a woman who spends every moment feeling sorry for herself.
Another important relationship is examined. Jeep and his father, Bob (Dennis Quaid), haven't been getting along too well lately, although we quickly learn that Bob is really not a bad guy - he just doesn't want his son making the same mistakes he made, mistakes that left him without a wife in a poor desert town working a dead-end job. Although he has difficulty showing it, he sees the good in Jeep and wants him to put it to better use than fixing cars in a rusty garage.
From Michael's point of view, Jeep is a sign that, in spite of wars, injustice, bigotry, greed, and waste, humanity is indeed worth saving. But it won't be an easy fight; even if Charlie's child manages to be born, it will still be vulnerable to the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand), leader of the angel army on Earth. Unlike Michael, he believes that if God gives an order, it should never, ever be questioned. Needless to say, he and Michael are now enemies, although one gets the sense that, deep down, Gabriel wants to side with Michael.
I'm probably in the minority here, but I think that there are deeper aspects to "Legion." I also think that they redeem the disappointing screenplay, parts of which seem to have been written by a potty-mouthed sixteen-year-old. Some of the worst dialogue is given to Quaid, who at times portrays his character as nothing more than a country/western stereotype. And then there's Charles S. Dutton as a God-fearing veteran with a hook for a hand, who at one point recalls his father's words of wisdom about dying before waking up. It wasn't profound by any means, but the fact that he tried to make it seem like it was caught my attention.
"Legion" is not a great movie, and will never be seen as one. But I do think it's better than some have suggested. It tells a Christ-inspired fable that consistently kept me interested, and in spite of some bad dialogue, ridiculous action sequences, and overly gory special effects, it had surprisingly good depth of character. Its greatest accomplishment was its ability to tell a hopeful story without having to cheat at the last second, which is more than I can say for Denzel Washington's latest movie. Keep in mind, however, that this is coming from the guy who loved the critical flop "Knowing" and hated the much praised "Babel," so maybe my priorities aren't yet straight when it comes to spiritual parables.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
E. (Harry) Hernandez
- Published on Amazon.com
"You askin' me to explain the behavior of a #%^#%%^-ing pestilence?!"
Only after my review is completed will I glance at the other 40 presently available.
LEGION is the type of film silly kids dreamed of doing back in the 1980s, but I see its broad appeal. So, if I have this correct: God is sick of all the "BS", so he's decided to demonize all his angels and send them after us. OK, stupid sloppy theology so far. Hell of an action plot.
Archangel Michael, the most powerful and the leader of the heavenly host, defies God "to give Him what he needs, not what He Wants." Michael takes the fall (WINGS OF DESIRE, FAR AWAY, SO CLOSE!, CITY OF ANGELS). To further our disgust and buy screen time, we are treated to a ten-minute I-have-to-hack-these-damned-wings-off scene. Cute. (DOGMA.)
In a dusty desert diner populated by weird patrons and owners (TREMORS) lives a special and rather cute young man named Jeep. He is guarding a rather grouchy girl who happens to be carrying a baby. This baby is...what, exactly? Another Muhamet? Another Moses? (TERMINATOR, DOGMA.) This is Michael's destination. He's got to keep that baby alive because the entire heavenly choir is out to murder this baby before he's born (THE SEVENTH SEAL). They are led by a rather out-of-his-angelic-mind Archangel Gabriel (CONSTANTINE, THE PROPHECY series), dying to please God instead of 'help' God.
Why is Gabriel always the nutter on the job? Why?
Also I noticed the wicked dog collars on the angels--which Michael strips off at the beginning. Dog collars?? On angels?? And what gives with their PREDATOR technology? Are they angels or are they Rambo with wings? Then Gabriel later says something about the "hounds of heaven". I know all dogs go to heaven, but....
Well, all I can say is the film showed me some good acting and a wonderful symbolic array. Rarely do we see such straightforward symbolic characters. That makes this an actor's film, not necessarily an action film. It did remind me a great deal of the zombie movies of George Romero. And it isn't as gross as people say...though the old lady with the foul mouth who crawls on the ceiling, well, EXORCIST III, anyone? Even her sweater's the same color!
Now...why all the films in parentheses? Well, they represent but a sample of all the films this film stole from--and it is pathetic. The director was said to have been working on this film for six years before he got to make it. Paul Bettany is absolutely in love with Dennis Quaid and Tyrese Gibson, and Tyrese fell in love with Bettany watching him act. OK, fun for Follywood. What do WE get out of this?
After all I wanted to like about this film, I felt robbed. It's stupid, it only makes you think for a moment or two. I love Michael's line when he tells Jeep that Michael was the first to bow down to humans when we were created...it's the only genuine theology in the film. The rest of it was like a very, very bad hangover/pizza binge.
I should have put this before the review, because apparently it is so sorely needed: there's some info here for future readers, who may be a bit confused by this pestilential film and my severe critique of its rotten theology. I always say a film ought to stick to known theology if it is to be even remotely interesting. They never learn: "putative" can be a good thing.
This stuff for the most part is NOT in any Bible. Let's begin with an angel defying the Eternal, deciding to hotdog it all the way. Happened once--name, Samael, a/k/a Satan. The angels got one shot at choosing sides back then. In this film, no less than Michael and Gabriel both seem to lose their minds. If they even have minds.
Why?--to prevent the killing of an unborn baby carried by an unwed mother who doesn't want it. The reason? This baby will save the world, and God does not want it saved. Bible citations anyone?...no, I didn't think so. Especially the part about Michael being in a way superior to God because he has decided to give God not what God asks, but what God needs. So now he knows better than God! That's brilliant. Not.
We have super-powered fallen angels who must inhabit the bodies of the dead, so we can have a zombie army. Nowhere in the Bible, cool as it would have been. Possession does not count, because those nasties do not inhabit corpses and they fell long ago. Nobody falls since then, got it?
Gabriel swoops down to take over and finish the murderous job. Again, no deal as far as any Bible is concerned. Michael's job is to defend us and especially the Jews; Gabriel's job is to be God's messenger. Period.
With this slop, there's no need for an Adversary/Opponent (Satan) and we never see him in this clunker of a film, do we??
Now if this film had been set before and right after the creation of humans, for example, I'd have been all for it. As it is, ummm, not much Biblical stuff here.
Yet I gave it 3 stars (revised from 2). It DID make me think, for a second or two, and that is worth a second star. It's also for Dennis Quaid, who at times in this film reminded me of his unfortunate brother Randy, whom I also love. And yes, Tyrese AND Paul are both adorable and riveting! So sue me!
Or send Archangel Rafael after me with a hypodermic full of Borax!