Behold my unparalleled prognosticative skill: two weeks ago, I predicted angels were one of the next big things.
This week, an angel-apocalypse movie comes out. Who could have guessed?
If you answered "Anyone who's occasionally exposed to ads on TV and at the movies," shut up. Even Nostradamus had to start somewhere. Here, I'll give you one more: the world will not end in 2012. That one's on the house. The Mayan calendar is being misinterpreted. Anyway, those jerks swept themselves into the dustbin of history over a 1,000 years ago, so that goes to show how on the ball they were with the predictions.
OK, OK, turns out I've got one more. You might enjoy yourself at Legion, the aforementioned angel flick, but that feeling's not likely to last any longer than the drive home from the theater.
In the middle of the Southwest desert, the only customers at Dennis Quaid's diner are people who got lost on their way to somewhere else. But what makes for a bad business also makes the perfect place for a last stand.
For God has lost faith in humanity. As He prepares to scour us from the Earth with the mindless, possessed hordes of what were once people, rogue angel Paul Bettany descends to find Quaid's pregnant daughter, Adrianne Palicki, the mother of the unborn child whose life could prove mankind is worth saving.
From its opening scenes, Legion holds the promise of something new: angels with machine guns. How cool is that? About as cool as winning the lotto, then blowing it all on the world's greatest machete collection. Well, maybe not quite that cool, but it's up there.
But by the time the cast is assembled at the remote diner, exactly the kind of place you can defend just well enough to only lose one or two of your buddies every time the bad things try to break in, you start to get the idea you're not really watching the brave new world of angels-with-guns movies. You're watching a zombie movie.
Boards over the windows? Check.
Mobs of ex-people whose only desire is to bust down the door and pull your face off? Also check.
Periods of downtime between assaults that go on just long enough for the emotionally drained characters to spill their secrets to each other so their inevitable deaths will make us sad inside? Oh, you better believe that's a checkin'.
There's nothing inherently wrong with director Scott Stewart's familiar approach. I mean, other than it being older than my pillow, which at this point doubles as a nutcracker.
It is a bit of a concept-waster. Then again, so's the rest of the movie. For the sake of having a story longer than "God smote us, the end," it had to get loose with the details — instead of wiping everyone out with possessed pseudo-zombies, surely He could have simply turned us all into pillars of salt if He really wanted, especially if Phase II of the plan was to see if the deer do any better with the gift of free will.
But Legion fudges too far. I guess when you're infinity, you've probably ended up a pretty patient guy, but damn does God move slow. Except when it comes to Palicki's childbirth, apparently, which lasts for the approximate duration of a sneeze. Also, the secret of salvation boils down to the transcendent feat of "good parenting."
Though it's got a few odd creepy scenes, the old genre tropes aren't all that satisfying and the newish theological twists don't have a whole lot of logic behind them. Legion is a half-decent take that's all too familiar.