Review: Legion

An angel falls from heaven and turns into the Terminator to save mankind after God decides we’re not worthy in Scott Stewart’s convoluted Legion.

Directed by: Scott Stewart
Written by: Peter Schink, Scott Stewart
Starring: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Kate Walsh, Dennis Quaid
Released: 2010 / Genre: Horror/Fantasy / Country: USA / IMDB
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Discover More: This review is part of 31 Days of Horror

Legion surprised me for the simple fact it was far better than I imagined it would be. However, I forgave myself for my brief moment of shock, as it was fleeting and short-lived. Legion quickly degenerates into a rather confusing mess following the equally head-scratching demise of Charles S. Dutton. By the end I was left wondering whether I had actually seen a film about angels from heaven coming to earth and blasting their way through an army of zombies with the US Government’s latest automatic weapons, or whether, as was surely the case, I dreamt the whole thing.

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The film begins when Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) falls to earth in Los Angeles (where else!). He cuts of his wings, raids a weapons cache, and escapes in a police car after one of the policemen is possessed. Are you with me so far? Meanwhile, at a diner in the middle of nowhere, a few people gather – namely, Bob the owner (Dennis Quaid), his son Jeep (Lucas Black), the cook (Charles S. Dutton), the waitress (Adrianne Palicki) and some diners including a family of three and a man stopping off on his way to Los Angeles. When the television and radio stations stop broadcasting everybody begins to get nervous. Those nerves become sheer terror when a sweet old lady turns up, tells the waitress her baby is going to burn, and bites the neck off one of the diner’s. Evading capture by walking along the ceiling, she is eventually subdued by several bullets to the chest. Something has gone terrible wrong in the world but maybe there’s hope when Archangel Michael, a sort of heavenly Terminator, turns up to protect them.

I’ll admit, the bit with the demon Grandmother is brilliant. She comes tearing into the parking lot like she’s just come off the set of Death Proof and appears entirely pleasant as she slowly makes her way to a seat in the diner with the aid of a walking frame. Her smiling face and pleasant hello is however just as false as her teeth. She reminded me of the sort of characters Stephen King has been concocting in his novels for the past forty years. But, although it’s a fun moment of outlandish horror, it is derivative and the joy of seeing Granny tear up the diner is short-lived.

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Quickly the film falls foul of a convoluted plot but while the mystery of what is occurring remains intact the film manages to maintain your focus. But it is around the time the excellent Charles S. Dutton meets his maker that switched me off. Again, making little sense, Dutton’s cook falls down dead after being sprayed by an acid-for-blood substance. The Terminator – check. Alien – check. What else can we borrow from? Oh, I’ll have some of Stephen King’s characters, as well as the basis for his novel The Stand.

Admittedly, merit has to be given for some of the performances. Dutton is always good but his role is cut short, Quaid has been doing this for years, and young actor Tyrese Gibson draws you in with his nice-but-dim personality. But Legion is a confusing cocktail of other films that loses its way and the audience’s attention halfway through.

Review by Daniel StephensSee all reviews

31 days of horror

About the Author
Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Avatar
    Custard Reply

    See I wanted this to be cool. I wanted the Angels to be bad ass. Have you ever seen ‘Supernatural’ TV series? The angels are awesome in that show. They are God’s soldiers after all.

    But this film sucked so bad.

    It could have been great.

  2. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    You’re right Dan, this film does belong in the 31 Days of Horror. Because it’s truly a horror to watch.

    I can’t remember how many stars I gave it in my own review, but I think it was less than yours…

  3. Pingback: » Movie Review – Legion Fernby Films

  4. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    @Rodney & @Scott: I have to admit the film has to thank the Demon Granny for its second star. I loved that bit. Take her out and you’re left with very, very little.

  5. Avatar
    DEZMOND Reply

    I also liked this film 🙂 But I knew what to expect, I wasn’t unrealistic. Loved the angels in it and the naughty granny 🙂 And I love that Bettany does movies like these (PRIEST was also great for me)

  6. Avatar
    Rodney Reply

    Dezmond – if Bettany continues to do films like this, he’s not gonna have much of a career soon….

  7. Avatar
    amy Reply

    I wanted to kill all these characters hahaha, that’s bad right there for the movie. Die, all of you, die!!! xD

  8. Avatar
    Dan Reply

    @DEZMOND: I thought the whole concept was rather absurd. It was like Ray Harryhausen meets George Romero without their skill.

    @Rodney: That’s true.

    @Amy: It doesn’t bode well for a film when that’s the general consensus! 🙂

  9. Avatar
    Novroz Reply

    I hate this movie!! but I watch it anyway because of Bettany. The movie is total rubbish…and just like Dan said, so absurd!!
    However, Bettany is really good there and looking really hot…but even so, I am planning to see it for the second time

  10. Avatar
    ruth Reply

    This looks beyond terrible… but with an absurd plot like this, it’s doomed to fail.

  11. Avatar
    Sir Phobos Reply

    Dude, have you ever seen a movie where Charles S. Dutton doesn’t die?

    The part with the granny would have been great except for the fact that they spoiled it all by showing it in the trailer. I knew exactly what was coming before she even showed up.

    As for the rest…dunno. I think I either turned it off or fell asleep shortly after the diner debacle. F-

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