Movie News & Reviews

'Legion' adds to litany of zombie flicks

Behold my unparalleled prognosticative skill: two weeks ago, Ipredicted angelswere one of the next big things.

This week, an angel-apocalypsemovie comes out. Who could have guessed?

If you answered "Anyone who's occasionally exposed to ads on TV and atthe 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 onthe house. The Mayan calendar is being misinterpreted. Anyway,those jerks swept themselves into the dustbin of history over a1,000 years ago, so that goes to show how on the ball theywere with the predictions.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

OK, OK, turns out I've got one more. You might enjoy yourself atLegion, the aforementioned angel flick, but that feeling's notlikely to last any longer than the drive home from the theater.

In the middle of the Southwest desert, the only customers at DennisQuaid'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 alast stand.

For God has lost faith in humanity. As He prepares to scour us fromthe Earth with the mindless, possessed hordes of what were oncepeople, rogue angel Paul Bettany descends to find Quaid's pregnantdaughter, Adrianne Palicki, the mother of the unborn child whose lifecould prove mankind is worth saving.

From its opening scenes, Legion holds the promise of somethingnew: angels with machine guns. How cool is that? About as cool aswinning the lotto, then blowing it all on the world's greatest machetecollection. Well, maybe not quite that cool, but it's up there.

But by the time the cast is assembled at the remote diner, exactly thekind of place you can defend just well enough to only lose one or twoof your buddies every time the bad things try to break in, you startto get the idea you're not really watching the brave new world ofangels-with-guns movies. You're watching a zombie movie.

Boards over the windows? Check.

Mobs of ex-people whose only desire isto bust down the door and pull your face off? Also check.

Periods ofdowntime between assaults that go on just long enough for theemotionally drained characters to spill their secrets to each other sotheir inevitable deaths will make us sad inside? Oh, you betterbelieve that's a checkin'.

There's nothing inherently wrong with director Scott Stewart'sfamiliar 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 themovie. For the sake of having a story longer than "God smote us, theend," it had to get loose with the details — instead of wiping everyoneout with possessed pseudo-zombies, surely He could have simply turnedus all into pillars of salt if He really wanted, especially if PhaseII of the plan was to see if the deer do any better with the gift offree will.

But Legion fudges too far. I guess when you're infinity, you'veprobably ended up a pretty patient guy, but damn does God move slow.Except when it comes to Palicki's childbirth, apparently, which lastsfor the approximate duration of a sneeze. Also, the secret ofsalvation boils down to the transcendent feat of "good parenting."

Though it's got a few odd creepy scenes, the old genre tropesaren't all that satisfying and the newish theological twists don'thave a whole lot of logic behind them. Legion is a half-decenttake that's all too familiar.

Grade: C