Posted on January 26, 2010 by Steven Dawes
Soundtrack available at Amazon.com
Let me ask you a question or three; you ever watch a movie and think “Hey, isn’t this movie ripping off such and such movie?” You ever watch a film and ask yourself “Is this movie going anywhere?” And after watching a flick, do you walk away thinking “What was the freaking point of this movie?” Well my fellow legion of Da’ flames… I have the displeasure of telling you that I asked all three questions during the course of this picture, in some cases multiple times.
The poor excuse of a story goes something a little like this; god almighty above has washed his hands of the human race and he’s hiring a cleaning service to mop up the globe, namely his angels. His entire “legion” is gonna come down and lay a god sized smack down on all us mud monkeys. However, we’ve still got one angel on humanity’s shoulder that’s ready, willing and able to stand up for all of us schmucks.
Enter the badass of angels himself, that flaming sword wielding broheem himself, Archangel Michael (only there’s no flaming sword here, but I’ll get to that later). Mike is all that’s standing between us and the rest of the angels, including his brother, Archangel Gabriel. He’s chopped off his wings, he’s taken up mucho guns, he wears his bad attitude on his sleeve, and he’s looking for a woman. Not just any woman will do however, he’s looking for a pregnant gal who’s about to deliver the mail anytime now (hey, whatever your into Michael, I wont judge you.)
The girl of his earthly obsession is a waitress in a middle of nowhere diner and mechanic shop in Arizona (the diner is named “Paradise Falls” coincidentally… yuck, yuck, yuck, I get it.) She’s been given a poor hand in life and things don’t look to get better for her. She lives with a nice guy and his dad who’ve taken her into their home to help her out as it seems her baby’s daddy is nowhere to be found. They all work at said diner, and the first big question is who gets to the scene of the action first, Michael or the legion? The second question; even if Michael gets there first, can he stop the legion and his brother Gabriel? I’d say fasten your seat belts cause it’s gonna be a bumpy ride, but I’d be a liar if I did.
Within a span of about thirty minutes, my “rip off radar” (Note: I patented this radar and I plan to start selling them on eBay soon) detected several movies from where I’ve seen it all before. Off the top of my head I recall such films as The Terminator, The Seventh Sign, Demon Knight, The Prophecy and a plethora of zombie films to round it out. From what I can tell, the writing and creative crew had no vision of their own and decided it best to take the best parts/ideas of all sorts of religious & zombie films and try to hide this fact behind an action based film.
While I can understand the desire to follow in the proven footsteps of other films (any of the films mentioned above are good to great films) there is something here I just can’t wrap my head around. If you’re using such a treasury of proven inspiration and ideas… how could you manage to fail at making this Frankenstein of a film worth watching? For such a loaded subject, there was no real theological debates to be had, no real explanation as to why god is putting us all on the chopping block or what’s so special about this unborn child all the fuss is over. Who is this kid, the second coming of Christ? I don’t know, and the film aint telling.
Another set of questions I had; why were the legion of angels so eager and maliciously evil in carrying out their duties? Are they really just as evil as those red devils residing deep in the Earth? Are the angels really just a bunch of evil fiends being held back on a leash by god almighty all this time? Actually, I may have answered my own question here as I couldn’t figure out what was up with that slave collar Michael pried off his neck at the beginning of the flick, the film sure didn’t bother to explain that either. Speaking of whom, is Michael the only angel gifted with any real sense? And where was his flaming sword? What’s the point of giving him “the sword” in the film if it’s not flaming? That sword kicked ass during the days of the rebel angels and its Michael’s shtick… use it by god, USE IT!!!
Honestly I don’t think the writers know the first thing about Christianity. Now I’m not saying I’m a devout student of the subject. But I have served my time in Sunday school, I’ve read many debates and theories on the parables and lessons the bible has to teach us, I’ve read many fictional stories that are either based on the subject (in fact I’m currently reading and enjoying This is My Blood by David Niall Wilson to review soon) or is influenced by the subject (like the incredibly good Menagerie series), and these stories all made sense and followed the bible’s tales “religiously”. Not once did I have to question or disagree with the storyline. With Legion, I was questioning it in a matter of minutes.
As far as I can tell, the writers and film crew gave the bible a big FU and came up with a flimsy and unexplainable story line for the sake of coming up with an action flick with angels. Again, I’m more of an interested party of the subject than a spiritual bloke, and yet even I took offense to what was being portrayed on screen, I can only imagine what the variety of offenses any self respecting Christian will feel while watching this god awful crap. Actually, I’m offended that I paid to see this beyatch to begin with, but I take these bullets so you won’t have to. Such is the passion of the reviewer.
My next question is on the “legion” itself… just exactly where were all the angels?
Riddle me this Batman; if you are a big bad angel, fully capable of delivering the wrath of god, with his expressed permission I might add, when why do you make the trip all the way down to Earth, only to possess human beings who are easily killed by gun fire? And why make them all look like rejects from The Dawn of the Dead? Cinematically it made sense as an excuse to tally a high death toll, but logically it makes about as much sense as seeing your dentist to check your prostate. And don’t get me wrong here; I don’t need lots of reason in an action flick. I don’t even mind a religious angle in said action film; I’m a firm believer in that it’s easier to spread the gospel with a full clip. All I ask is that the story and the methods make some semblance sense. None of that to be had here.
So what it all boiled down to was a film that’s really a poorly masked zombie apocalypse like film with two angels and a rag tag cast of humans all putting up their dukes in a senseless and tasteless stew. And about those rag tag humans and angels? An extra punch in the gut here is that the cast really didn’t do too bad of a job, considering what schlock they all had to work with. Dennis Quaid does his best impression of “Downtrodden Dennis”, did it well and took home a paycheck. The rest of the ensemble was newcomers for the most part, most of whom I recognized from various TV shows (look for Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice “McHottie” Kate Walsh amongst the crew).
The two bright spots in this otherwise deep void of celluloid bleakness were the cast who played the archangels. Paul Bettany (Michael) and Kevin Durand (Gabriel) both carried a presence and style that gave their roles more that what was really deserved. In fact, there are two scenes in the film with the two of them discussion god’s will and their differences of opinion concerning it that actually grabbed my attention and displayed for the briefest of moments what this film REALLY could have been. They are the highlights of this film and I hope and pray to see more of these actors in future films. In fact, if there’s ever a sequel to this piece of crappola and if it were to be centered on these two doing more of what they did in their scenes together, I would be the first in line to witness it! However, as it stands these bits only served to frustrate me more as an example of what could have been if created to be more than just an excuse to make a quick buck.
In short, it’s a zombie flick, it’s a lame excuse of film way too loosely based on the teachings of Christianity, its should be offensive to Christians everywhere, its lame and confusing to try and follow, it’s a blatant rip off of several films that are worth watching and don’t deserve to be compared to this flick and possesses two brief shining moments of what Legion could have been.
In short, short… it’s a film that makes me prey that god will have mercy on the souls of both the writers and creative team behind this blasphemy on film.
Review by Steven Dawes