Director: Scott Stewart
Screenplay: Peter Schink, Scott Stewart
Producer: David Lancaster,
Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Doug Jones, Jon Tenney, Charles S. Dutton, Lucas Black, Kate Walsh, Adrianne Palicki, Kevin Durand, Willa Holland
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 100 min.
There were a number of good reasons to be excited for Scott Stewart’s directorial debut, a film of biblical apocalypse titled Legion. The trailers for the film suggested some serious awesomeness and with Paul Bettany on board as the protector (and perhaps savior) of mankind, there was no way to avoid seeing this. Sadly, Stewart creates a dull, mindless film that doesn’t even manage to be entertaining.
God is angry. He’s not even really angry, he’s just pissed off and tired at the dumbassery of humanity and so he decides to wield his mighty power and set the apocalypse upon the human asses. Rather than simply exterminating us with some doom and gloom that will kill us off instantly, he decides to take his time, letting loose evil and in an Agent-body-take-over way right out of The Matrix, much of the world is taken over and controlled by some sort of evil entity. To the rescue comes Michael (yes, as in the Archangel) who has decided that God isn’t right this time around and needs some help seeing the light. Disobeying a direct order, he removes himself from heaven and falls to earth to yield guns and swords against the possessed in an attempt to save humanity’s only salvation: an unborn child getting ready to pop in the middle of bum-fuck-nowhere.
The biblical bits of Stewart’s film don’t bother me, neither does the fact that everyone in this film seems dumber than a wall post. What does bother me is that Stewart has managed to squander away a decent cast in a film which 1) doesn’t make any sense and 2) fails to be entertaining. It’s true, the entertainment value of this film is hovering somewhere between the first and second ring of hell. The only time that it manages to be save itself (however little) is when Bettany is going around kicking ass and when Gabriel (the awesome Kevin Durand) appears. The fight sequence between the two angels is ill-conceived and laughable but Durand and Bettany’s wordsmithing, as bad as the dialogue is, is easily the most enjoyable part of the film.
Wasted are the talents of Charles Dutton, Lucas Black, Kate Walsh and Dennis Quaid all of whom spend a great deal of their onscreen time either crying uncontrollably or simply sleepwalking though their material. Even Tyrese Gibson who usually does well with small roles seems there just for the sake of it.
Legion trucks along through its story, one scene more ridiculous than the last and none of them manage to elevate the film past almost mediocre. Stewart, a well known FX artist, manages to conceive some bizarre creatures but none of them particularly scare. From scene to scene we’re moved along the plot of the story but none of it has any meaning or staying power and when the end credits roll, I couldn’t help but wonder what on earth I’d just seen. Sure, the story basics are there but Legion manages put that story on display in the most uninteresting of ways.
The film isn’t a complete dud. It does feature some great bits of cinematography, particularly when we’re first introduced to the characters in the desert, but it never goes anywhere and the moments are so fleeting it’s almost as though they were never there.
A spectacular waste of time and effort, it’s safe to say that Legion is the first disappointment of the year. Now that it’s come and gone, I can’t help but wonder how Stewart and Bettany’s second collaboration will turn out. The fact that Priest is based on previously written material gives me a little hope but I must admit I’m now more concerned that excited for that project.
Click “play” to see the trailer:
Flixster Profile for Legion