End times, please
Being an unabashed fan of stupid goddamned shit, I have to say … this is some of the stupidest goddamned shit I’ve seen in a long time. And sometimes, that’s not a good thing. This is one of those times. I’m not even a Christian, and the thing offended me with its lack of a basic grasp of the mythos within which it’s banging around. If you’re gonna use someone’s religion as a launching pad for a horror film, at least show some class and drop by Wikipedia. Legion is insultingly boneheaded for a movie that had enough money thrown at it to make a swing by the multiplex. Still, for those who can adjust their head space to the setting that Christianity is just another mythology, then Legion does have it's own absurd charm.
The Archangel Michael (yeah, that one) gets honked off at God and drops by Earth to set things right, at least in his book—not His book; Michael’s book. This involves landing in a rainy alleyway as ominous percussion pounds, cutting off those wings with a long, shiny piece of blade, dropping by a convenient neon-lit armory to steal some guns and kill a couple of L.A. cops for their cruiser before setting off for a desert trailer-park-with-a-diner called Paradise Falls. (Shoulda kept the wings for a while, saved some travel time.)
But then, Legion has a lot of that don’t-bother-with-the-details kind of stuff going on (like how the hell the angel is flying around with a trench coat over its wings). And seeing that the opening borrowed kind of heavily from The Terminator, Legion keeps up with the ethos of the mooch and keeps on borrowing: Seems a waitress at the diner is all knocked up with Jesus 2.0 and God has sorta changed his mind about letting that one come to fruition. The why of why is never really explained. Maybe he don’t like her smoking with baby on board. So instead of nailing the waitress with a bolt of lightning, God decides to just end the world. By having his angels possess people and making ’em act like they’re on a road show of 28 Days of Christmas Later. And after a nice little old lady shifts into skittery Evil Dead mode, Michael steps in and offers the waitress the ol’ “Come with me if you want to live” line. Mothers-to-be of the next Messiah dig that line.
So we’ve got a bunch of tired archetypes sitting around the diner waiting to be deathbait as God sends down The Termin… ah, Archangel Gabriel and his platoon of zombie angels to … wait. Why do angels need to possess humans? Oh, to help the deathbaits fulfill their obligation.
That makes no goddamned sense at all. But then, Legion offers nonsense in spades. Other than a couple of energetic set pieces, it’s just your basic bunker horror that pretends to be something more, but coasts on the hook and delivers with less. This might be cool if they compensated and filled in the blanks with lots of explosions and firefights and creative deaths. Well, OK, they do. It’s just sort of stupid how they go about it. It’s pretty sad, really. Posit God as the bad guy, and then not have the game to back it up. Just build a narrative Frankenstein out of pieces from other apocalyptic flicks and hope that if anyone notices, they’ll chalk it up to homage. If the filmmakers even cared that much.
It’s not a total loss, though. There’s a sense of absurdity that peeks through on occasion, like the writer had his tongue firmly in cheek while tapping away. It just seems no one else involved got the memo. Still, Legion might make for a good DVD night with friends and beer. And low expectations. The only thing scary about Legion is that someone with the clout read the script and thought it might make for an interesting movie. (And then wasn’t at least bright enough to cast Nicolas Cage.)