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.
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.
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 Stephens – See all reviews