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With Jim Sabatini


Legion

Legion
Starring:
Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Jon Tenney, Charles S. Dutton


Rated: R strong bloody violence, and language
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: January 22, 2010 Released by: Screen Gems

This cliched inspired action horror flick is a confused, fetid rendering of films like The Terminator, Dawn of the Dead, and Maximum Overdrive. Not to mention Prophecy as the opening title card quotes Psalms.

Legion stars Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, and Kate Walsh, and it's mindless entertainment that goes in its silly way from the notion humankind is supposed to be wiped out (at Christmas time) because of its incessant misdeeds using possessed, weak-minded folk. An army of angels is to use them as vessels as they become as ravenous as the subsiders seen in the concurrent, more plausible Daybreakers.

Bettany, ironically espousing evolution as Charles Darwin in the indie Creation, now is sentimental Archangel Michael out to protect the unborn child of unmarried, aimless, eight-month pregnant waitress Charlie (TV actress Adrianne Palicki). Action fans will like the arsenal Michael brings with him in an LA police cruiser to a diner on the edge of the Mojave Desert aptly named Paradise Falls.

The tale by scribes Peter Schink and Scott Stewart (who also directs) uses a religious framework with a diverse group in a confined area put into dire circumstances by a sinister, collective force on the side of an all-powerful angry deity. But, Michael (a lot more serious than the one played by John Travolta) wants to get humanity back on track. So, he gets the diner's inhabitants ready for the vicious assault.

There's jaded redneck owner Bob (Quaid of the dreadful Pandorum) and soft-spoken yokel mechanic son Jeep (Lucas Black of Friday Night Lights) who is smitten with Charlie. Along with them is Bible-inspired cook Percy (Charles S. Dutton) and waylaid yuppie couple Howard (Jon Tenney) and Sandra (Walsh) along with scantily clad, rebellious daughter Audrey (Willa Holland). And, Tyrese Gibson has some good lines along with Dutton as passerby Kyle trying to contact his family in order to spend time with his son.

The descent of the angel-possessed begins with old Gladys Foster (Jeanette Foster) who would make a fine companion for the ravenous stalker from Drag Me to Hell. A screening audience will find her segment as hinted from the film's ads one of the amusing parts of the mayhem to come as Legion turns into a muddled, somewhat graphic rendition of "Ten Little Indians" (or about eight here). Finally, Kevin Durand's expressionless Gabriel comes ready to complete what Michael's been undoing like a mechanized medieval knight.

Fans of this sort of fare will feast on the mayhem with its zombie-ish spurts, but the action tires out as one wished there was a little more thought or less gratuitousness as the same kind of premise was used better in Stephen King's The Mist. Stewart uses his special effects expertise to evince a very shadowy look to it all, but the result is a series of fits and starts that is too verbose and risible for its own good.

British actor Bettany is too dull and drab as the well-intentioned Michael whose first scenes with wounds and tatoos remind one of his malevolent presence in The Da Vinci Code. It's getting a bit tiring (as Quaid's visage proves) to see this kind of dark, thrashing religious hokum that some higher power thinks will draw legions to see it reaffirmed by the opening and closing voiceovers.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Legion  C-      D+                  D+ 

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