Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.



Review by Patrick Hodges

There’s a fine line between “guilty pleasure” and “nonsensical garbage”, a line that is often the distinction between a good review and a bad review.  “Guilty pleasures” are called that because you feel guilty admitting to anyone that you liked them.  But everyone has them; the G.I. Joe’s, the Death Race’s, the films with the terrible acting and shoddy editing that despite the fact that mainstream critics, your closest friends and even your queasy stomach tell you that you are supposed to hate but end up liking anyway.

I wasn’t supposed to like Legion.  The very idea that God, in His infinite wisdom, gets “tired of all our BS”, and sends an army of angels to exterminate mankind, is laughable but tolerable as plotline.  The idea that mankind’s sole champion is the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany), who must fend off an army of “possessed” humans (who exhibit their possession by their darkened irises and pointy teeth) along with his winged brother, Gabriel (Kevin Durand), is just as laughable.  But there we are.

Taking place at a remote diner in the middle of nowhere, Michael shows up to protect a waitress named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), whose unborn child is (apparently) the second coming of Christ and humanity’s only hope.  Sharing her plight are a motley crew of people, including: diner owner Bob (Dennis Quaid) and his son Jeep (Lucas Black), who has a not-too-subtle thing for Charlie; fry cook/veteran Percy (Charles S. Dutton); a lost traveler (Tyrese Gibson); and a family with car trouble (John Tenney, Kate Walsh, Willa Holland).

If you ignore the film’s editing (several gaping holes in the plot and many, many unanswered questions about God’s motivations behind all this), this is actually a pretty good action film.  There’s no situation as tense as a small bunch of individuals who must hunker down in an enclosed, isolated location (see: Tremors, et al.), beset on all sides by danger, a danger they can’t even begin to comprehend.

Enough clues are given that the terrible situation the characters are facing is not just local, but widespread.  However, any view or input we might have from the “outside world” is never elaborated on, which is, I suppose, why this film was directed by newcomer Scott Stewart and not Roland Emmerich or Michael Bay.  Still, the acting, such as it is, is ample.  Quaid is usually good as the gruff-but-lovable guy, and Bettany – in my mind, still a vastly underrated actor - has got the perfect face, demeanor and delivery to play Michael. 

So I will add Legion to my long list of “guilty pleasures”.  Not that I’ll go out of my way to see it again, but in the future, it may win the battle of what to watch some night on cable.

3 ½ / 5 stars

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