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Legion – 5

Director – Scott Charles Stewart

Cast – Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Willa Holland, Kate Walsh, Kevin Durand, Charles S. Dutton, Jon Tenney

Release Year – 2010

Reviewed by John of the Dead

As a man who grew up with a religious upbringing, I have always enjoyed when religion is thrown into horror films, especially regarding the dark ages and the Roman Catholic Church(I am not Catholic BTW).  While this film focuses really on neither of those elements, it does bring on a cool religious element that I have yet to fully see in a horror film.  I was pretty stoked for this flick when I first viewed its original trailer, but as time went on and more and more of the film was exposed in subsequent trailers I got the feeling this would be a lame and mediocre Hollywood watch, and that seems to be the case. 

Legion sets an unworthy diner in the middle of nowhere as the end-all battleground in a war of apocalyptic proportions.  God has become tired of all of the bullsh*t(seriously) in the world, and has commanded his angels to slay all of Earth’s human beings, especially the unborn child of a wayward young waitress employed at the diner.  The diner’s owner, Bob Hanson(Dennis Quaid; Pandorum, Horsemen), his son Jeep Hanson(Lucas Black) and a few other patrons stuck in the mess do what they can to fight off the upcoming onslaught, but they stand no chance until the rebellious archangel Michael(Paul Bettany) joins forces with them to keep the unborn child alive, and do battle with the very angels from the Heaven he descended from, including the archangel Gabriel.

First-time feature film writer/director and accomplished FX man Scott Charles Stewart gave us a fairly clever horror film in Legion, simply because as I mentioned earlier…I have yet to see a film like this one.  Sure I have seen flicks that involve the apocalypse, as well as pestilence, and of course…keeping an unborn child alive, but I have never seen one involving God sending his angels to rid the Earth of the scum that we are.  While this overall plot idea is pretty cool and unique in its own right, the film falls from grace right from the get-go and delivers a merely mediocre watch thanks to both faulty writing and faulty direction/execution.

I enjoyed that Scott Charles Stewart wrote in a nice bunch of colorful characters stuck in the diner together because it usually makes for some fun elements that help pace and move the film during the non-action/horror scenes.  What makes this even more enjoyable is the fact that these characters are stuck in a low-end diner in the middle of nowhere, in other words…a nowhere-to-run scenario, which  you know I LOVE.  So as far as setting and overall plot go this film is pretty positive, but some silly use of characters and dialogue as well as some pretty ridiculous Hollywood-esque scenes towards the end of the film left a sour taste in my mouth.  While the first act of the film as OK, the second and third acts went nowhere with the story as we get little to no background information behind what is going on, and every new element thrown in is one merely aimed at being eye candy and not anything constructive.  The usage of Paul Bettany as Michael was cheezy as ever, but I found him fairly enjoyable due to his ability to kick ass and manipulate firearms.  You should also know by now that I am a huge fan of firearm usage in the horror genre, and we get plenty of that in this film as Michael delivers an arsenal of weapons to these naïve diner patrons to use in their fight against the evil that surrounds them.

Scott Charles Stewart’s direction was hit/miss at times, with most of the positives coming from his visuals and action scenes, and the negatives coming from how he executed his characters.  His background in FX led this film to delivering some stunning visuals that really could not have been accomplished with live-action FX, and helped keep the viewer engaged by combating the negatives we get from the story and some other needless scenes.  As I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the firearm usage thrown into the film, and as far as direction goes this was made even better given it seems Mr. Stewart actually knows a thing or two about firearms.  What do I mean by that?  Well, time and time again we see guns used that still have safeties on, or have the hammer down after firing a shot(the hammer should be up in these types of firearms), or the biggest gun gaffe in movies…guns that never run out of ammunition.  We actually see slides lock back on the frames, an indicator that the gun is “out”, which is something we rarely get in flicks with the amounts of action that this one has.  I mentioned earlier that we get some ridiculous Hollywood-esque scenes towards the end, and the Hollywood cheese feel comes about due to Stewart’s execution of the scenes.  It is obvious he went for the “entertain first, ask questions later” mentality with these scenes, and while he succeeded at doing so I cannot say that I respect it, because I don’t.  There is the good kind of cheeze, and there is the bad kind of cheeze, and most of the cheeze in this film falls in the bad.

Overall, this is a mere mediocre watch that comes with a promising plot but quickly falls apart due to a storyline that comes with numerous holes and uninteresting scenes.  We get some positives as far as direction goes with the film’s action and gore, but in the end both writing and direction fail and leave you with a film you should miss unless you have nothing better to do.

Rating: 5/10

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