Hollywood is going back to Sunday school. First we had The Book of Eli, a film about the survival of religion in post-apocalyptic America. Now we have Legion, an end-of-days tale with wrathful angels starring Dennis Quaid and Paul Bettany. But does this make good entertainment and good box office? Movie goers will get an opportunity to decide that this weekend as Legion opens in North America.
Charlie (“Friday Night Lights” Adrianne Palicki) is an unwed pregnant waitress in the middle of nowhere Paradise Falls. A few days before Christmas an un-named disaster and unspeakable horror maroon a handful of strangers at the restaurant, leaving owner Bob (Dennis Quaid) with no answers. The wind blows in the mysterious Michael, (Paul Bettany) whom seems to know what’s going on but offers very little in the way of hope of survival. He reveals that he is a fallen angel and his mission is to save the child Charlie is bearing, that that child is the last chance for all humanity and that the hosts of angels in heaven are coming to destroy the baby and the world. Drawing on faith none of them knew they had the band of refugees struggle against insurmountable odds and their own weaknesses to survive.
Legion is part supernatural thriller, part action film. It’s The Terminator meets The Prophecy meets The Seventh Sign. With the cast this film has: Quaid, Bettany, Charles S. Dutton, Tyrese and TV’s Kate Walsh I was hoping there was something to the story. Sadly, the talky scenes of character development are clunky and uninteresting. There are some nice interactions, like a bit between Dutton and Tyrese when the older man is urging the younger, troubled man to take stock of his life but ultimately they’re all clichéd characters in an all-too familiar story.
I’ll admit I don’t normally think of Paul Bettany as a gun-wielding bad ass. He has that charisma that Chow Yun-Fat has, an unexpected action hero. In the quieter moments you are reminded that Bettany is still a respected actor. Paul bulked up a bit for this to give Michael presence which he needs when going toe to toe with the angel Gabriel (Kevin Durand). As a female member of the audience I was most appreciative of that.
A movie like Legion, it all comes down to special effects and action since at the end of the day, that’s what we’re coming to see. The angels are impressive, the fights choreographed well. Audiences shouldn’t be disappointed in that respect. There were cheers and claps of appreciation at the screening I was at. If you don’t over think the story you may just find yourself enjoying the ride.