Thomthumb84's Blog

Film Review: LEGION

Posted in Film Review by thomthumb84 on August 11, 2010

I had such high hopes for this movie ever since I first saw the trailer and I’m sure I’m not alone. The said trailer involves a sweet little old lady entering a diner in the middle of Bumsville, Idaho, before turning into something akin to The Exorcists’ own Regan and wreaking havoc among the quiet dinners – she walks on the ceiling, she bites some guy’s neck, she slides across the floor without momentum, and in a coup de grace – before finally succumbing to death by shotgun wound to the head.

It was brilliant; violent, gory, unhesitatingly unsettling, and more than anything – totally fucking stupid. And for a small elite of us within society (such as yours truly) these factors equal a good movie night. So why, then, was this potentially great horror-action movie such a disappointment when the trailer was so good?

More than anything the answer lies in the fact that this is actually the only good scene in the entire move. I can imagine that this whole movie resulted from one writer’s nasty dream about Nanna after too much cheese. Feeling uncomfortable with the idea of actually bringing this up with Gran over tea the next day he felt the only way to gain closure on the issue was to write it up as the introduction to some shitty action movie.

And so Legion was born. One wonders why he ever did this. Why not make this one scene a short movie in it’s own right? Why trick us avid horror fans into two hours of pointless acting and ridiculous plot for one superb scene?

I felt the same about 28 Weeks Later as well. What potential! In addition to the obvious merits of being connected with the superb 28 Days Later my expectations ran high after seeing the trailer. One scene sticks permanently in my mind- that of Robert Carlyle pacing it across a country field as 500-odd infected swarm towards him. Not only did it immediately present a terrifying scene to the viewer but also created the suggestion that the new movie would move the action to the country – an excellent re-examination of the 28 Days concept.

But no! All we get is two good country scenes in the entire movie and then it is back to the city. And this time, pouring salt upon the wound, half the cast are fucking Americans to boot! It was a great, great disappointment.

But… back to Legion. Terrible, terrible movie. As an action-horror movie trying to take a fresh approach to Armageddon this just about beats End of Days. But then again, one has to consider that did star Schwarzenegger so I’m saying not much here.

The plot revolves around the ‘Paradise Falls’ Diner (Did anybody miss that? ‘Paradise Falls’? Clever huh?). The clientele of this suitably named eating establishment must face off the full might of God’s wrath upon the earth in order to protect the child of the second coming (‘Paradise Falls’? Eh? Eh? Nudge nudge).

To help them in this rather unbalanced fight they are joined by the Angel Michael who has left heaven after refusing to kill the child himself. With the assistance of the aforementioned angel they do mightily smite the possessed who come to take the baby from them – including none other than the Angel Gabriel himself.

Honestly. That’s the plot. I actually just checked and this is selling for £12.99 in HMV at the moment.

And yes it is a shitty plot but it is also the general air of indifference that hangs above the movie. Its as though everyone one from the cast to the crew just said ‘Some idiot will buy this no matter how crap it is. Lets just knock it together and go and get a beer.’

Why, for instance, did Michael cut off his wings in that first scene? I just don’t understand. He could of really used them. Was it because they needed some early gore to keep the attention of the audience? Was it due to the inconvenience of getting through doors without going sideways (a common issue among angels perhaps)? Or was it just that they didn’t have the budget to have wings on him through the entire movie? I really need this explained to me!

And why did the chef only have one arm? What did that bring to the plot apart from one attempt at a passable joke? We learnt nothing about his story. No attempt was made to even suggest that he had anything to tell. To empathise with these characters I need to know them. Frankly, the chances of me actually giving a shit about his rather boring death would of at least increased a little if I knew what he was about in the first place.

But what about the acting?! This movie had Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid in it! They have been in real movies! Big movies! Both are actually pretty decent actors and yet even they seemed to have just given up on the whole thing. I actually began to feel sad half way through at having to watch them run through the same old shit again and again.

I really don’t mind a bad movie. In fact in horror movies the one thing that can make a horror movie good is that it is really bad. Really silly scripts concerned primarily with providing scenes of gratuitous violence and gore are great and get my blessing.

But you get the feeling that this has pretensions to something higher with its fallen angles and wrathful God. It just does not deliver. Nor does it provide the necessary quantity of scares to entertain – the line between scary horror and action is all over the place and neither is properly achieved to an adequate extent. It just feels mediocre. The plot is pointless, the acting weak, the lines unremarkable. For such a good trailer this one really was hard work.

The only really scary scene came at the end when the hint of a sequel arose – is that really possible? Who is funding this? What a waste of time.

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