Thursday, 11 March 2010

Review - Legion

The angel Gabriel comes to Earth, and it spells bad news for the human race. Gabriel is looking for a certain child he wants to kill as part of a plan to bring about the end of days. Only a good angel, who teams up with some unlikely human allies, can prevent the Apocalypse. It makes for a cracking film, featuring Christopher Walken as Gabriel and Viggo Mortensen as Lucifer!

But enough about The Prophecy. This review is about a different Angel movie.

In Legion, God loses faith in humanity. Whereas before he sent a flood to wipe out the human race (and all the others), this time he reasons that we've built pretty good flood defenses (except in Gloucestershire) and sends angels instead. Angels who possess people, turning them into rather demonic type creatures. For some reason. One angel though, Michael (Paul Bettany), decides he wants know part of this plan, and seeks to save humanity. By saving a few errant humans in a diner. One of whom is pregnant. With a child who means something important to the future which is never really made clear.

Cue lots of shooting down zombie types (this seems to be how angel possession manifests) and... er... no, that's pretty much it.

Legion looked like it could be a pretty fun action movie. It's the kind of thing we don't normally see from Paul Bettany, plus the whole "wrath of God" thing often makes for a good story. The problem with Legion is there is no story. Nothing is explained and nothing makes any sense. Character development? Plot twists? Even exposition are all largely absent. There are some vague attempts at each one, but the writing is so bad that it all falls flat.

The characters are all one-dimensional cyphers, making any attempt to develop them or build their relationships utterly pointless. You just don't care about them at all. It's not helped by the acting. There isn't one actor in Legion who looks anything but bored. The usually reliable Dennis Quaid is wasted here, and he clearly knows it, sleepwalking through the film to the paycheque at the end. Bettany himself is on record as saying that he really enjoyed the shooting of Legion. You wouldn't know it to watch him. He coasts through, apparently as bored as everyone else.

In some films, this can be saved by the action sequences. After all, it's an action movie, so the script, characters, acting, none of it really matters. As long as the action sequences are plentiful and fun, then you can still get by. Sadly for Legion, it's action sequences are a massive let down. They are badly choreographed and badly shot, making it difficult to work out exactly what's going on at any one time. The end result is that these are just as boring as the talkie bits (which think they're being worthy when in fact they're nothing but cliche after cliche). Also, why are angels wings bullet proof, but you can cut them off with a knife?

Throw in a dodgy English accent from Kevin Durand as Gabriel (because everyone knows angels are English), an absolutely nonsense ending and some pretty crappy effects, and what you end up with is an early frontrunner for worst film of 2010. It's going to take some beating.

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