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Call us Legion

- For our flaws are many.

A review of “Legion” by Skimble

Archangel Michael on a poster from "Legion" Before I continue I should confess that I enjoyed this film quite a lot. That is not to say that “Legion” is a good film by any stretch of the imagination, but I certainly found it to be enjoyable.

What’s it all about?

If you’ve seen “The Prophecy” (Starring Christopher Walken at his best as a creepy Archangel Gabriel) then the basic premise of the plot will seem at least vaguely familiar to you.

This time around it’s God who has decided that humanity is no longer worth keeping around, so he reneges on his deal with Noah and dispatches a horde of angels to get rid of them.

In particular this involves slaying an unborn child who is the potential saviour of the human race. The archangel Michael decides to go against his father’s orders and trips down to Earth to protect the child from the bad times a-coming.

The Good

The film’s premise is interesting, and the first scenes do a good job of setting the mood for the rest of the film. We are introduced to the ensemble cast in a way that makes each character memorable and easy to empathise with.

Paul Bettany deserves to be praised for his portrayal of the Archangel Michael. He manages to imbue the role with a sense of otherworldly calm for most of the film that makes him seem other than human.  In particular I enjoyed the scene where he explains his reason for acting against God’s orders.

The rest of the actors do a reasonable job as well, although the only other performance that really stands out in my memory is Dennis Quaid’s as the owner of the diner where the humans make their stand. He reminded me of a younger Harrison Ford at times.

Perhaps unexpectedly for a film of this nature, there is a thick vein of dark humour running just under the surface; I for one appreciated this. It helped to leaven the grim tone of the rest of the film and made the experience as a whole more entertaining.

The special effects are generally decent, with moments that stand out being the old lady from the trailer and the portrayal of the archangels’ wings.  Some of the gore effects are a little less impressive, with obvious prostheses used at times.

The film overall has a real sense of style, even if at times they perhaps push their stylistic choices slightly too far and end up with something a bit ridiculous (for example the Mace-O-Matic).

The Bad

The theology of the film doesn’t make a great deal of sense and the portrayal of the possessing angels is also somewhat off-kilter.  I’m not quite sure why they chose to portray the angels as twisting and corrupting their hosts, giving them razor teeth or extended limbs and so on. Traditionally these sorts of visuals are the purview of demonic infestation, but apart from that it was a strange contrast with both the archangels and their minions as they are seen flying around in some scenes.

Certain incidents strained credulity to an undesirable extent and seemed like sloppily written escape routes for corners into which the writers had painted themselves.

The plot itself is a bit jerkily paced, with the pressure relenting midway through the film to allow the characters to share a series of heart-to-heart talks as they are under siege, even though the angels might easily have pressed the attack and ultimately overwhelmed the diner with sheer numbers.

For Gamers

Legion perhaps offers more to a gamer than to the average cinema-goer. It might provide inspiration on modern day siege tactics, new monster ideas for a horror game, a different spin on angels or demons or just a decent soundtrack for use as mood music.

The Bottom Line

Is Legion worth going to see? Well, maybe. If you happen to like the genre and feel like a trip to the cinema then you could do worse than Legion.

For most people, I suspect, this is one to wait for until the DVD release.

One Comment

  1. avatar

    Ian Warner says:

    This got a very low mark in the Times review. Usually that’s a good sign.

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