Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review: Legion


Legion: Thus far, the best feel-good comedy of the year. This delightful little film is like Juno meets Little Miss Sunshine: it's rife with single mom jokes, hilarious small town life, lovable encounters with the elderly, two (2) colored people (Twice the fun! They Shuck! They Jive! They speak Ebonics! Fried Chicken while you wait!), and Paul Bettany as Michael, a free-wheeling, rule-breaking angel, ready to learn quirky life lessons in the local diner. Also, a guy named Jeep (you may have heard about his siblings, Dodge and Chrysler, who were recently killed in Detroit) blows away a possessed, ceiling-crawling Grannie with a shotgun. What? This wasn't supposed to be a comedy?
Legion has got to be one of the worst movies I've seen in a while. It's completely inane 'plot' involves Archangel Michael, who gives up his divine powers to come save Dennis Quaid and friends from the coming Apocalypse. Michael will test his (and the ridiculous supporting cast's) mettle against an army of angels. And by angels, I mean people with shark teeth (that's what the movie calls them, not me) and prodigious head-banging/ceiling crawling/limb-extending abilities. So, it's like, I dunno, The Exorcist meets Jaws meets The Fantastic Four. That's heaven, folks. Somehow, our Angel and his lovable group of adorable scamps manage to take a stand, stationed in the local diner that must give Fort Knox a run for its money, as far as heavily fortified locations are concerned.
Recurring horror motifs faithfully march across the screen, without ever really attempting to make sense as part of a whole. We get the crazy old woman, the murderous child with an adult voice, the summary execution of the minorities in the group (yup, the oldest horror motif in the book happens twice in this movie), the young couple upon whom everything, improbably relies, and, of course, that oldest film adage: the man who is crucified upside down, before erupting into acid-y puss. Not even joking here, folks. It's that kind of movie, I guess.
The cast approaches something near perfection in its total embrace of one-dimensional, wooden line reading. If Keanu Reeves had an acting school, these performances would be used there as examples of how to act poorly. I suppose Paul Bettany tries hard, and Willa Holland, as a rebellious teen, manages to not embarrass herself (though the script does it for her). From there on out, however, it's a dignity massacre of biblical proportions. Dennis Quaid, whose general silliness can sometimes be used for the greater good, seems to be convinced that he's starring in some kind of regional comedy, and Tyrese Gibson and Charles S. Dutton undoubtedly attended many minstrel shows to gain insight into how to play their characters. The acting laurels, however, must be given to Lucas Black. His character's name is Jeep, which is really rather wonderful, because I've seen many a jeep give better performances than this perfect exercise in the profoundly retarded. This actor would struggle to play a mannequin.
Technically speaking, the film looks cheap, which, admittedly, it was. Still, that's not swaying me: District 9 cost less than this film, and looks amazing. Legion's special effects look like they were created by orphans. The rest of the visual concept for this film is similarly sub-par. It's rare to find a film this universally awful.
One factor I have yet to really comment on: you will enjoy this film, because it's hilarious. It's one redeeming quality is being able to watch a complete and utter train-wreck from the safety of a theater seat. Or better yet, your couch. This movie should get its DVD release in about three weeks. If you have to see this movie, wait for it: for the love of all that is good and holy, do not see it in theaters. The people who waste ten dollars on this abomination go straight to the Special Hell. I might be going there. You don't have to.


  1. This is the movie that I was telling you made me cringe (not sure if you remember me telling you or not). I saw the preview over Christmas break and it looked terrible. Why did you go see it?

  2. Huh, Lawl, Nick, Rhesa, and I had a night at the movies, and we gave this one a gander. It was hilarious, but so, so awful. So, I dunno if it was worth it. It was a fun night, but that's two hours I'll never get back.