Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Legion (2009)

Legion tries to be an exciting horror/action flick. The idea of an angel fighting to prevent the end of humanity is pretty cool, especially as he has to take on God's army (no spoiler here, it's in the trailer). But, like Icarus, the film can not keep itself aloft, as a gigantic plot hole act like the sun and brings the movie crashing to the ground.

(Okay, Icarus fell into the sea, but give this metaphor to me, will ya?)

Anyway, the movie starts with Kyle Reese...... Uh, I mean the Archangel Michael hitting the ground in an LA alleyway. We know he's an angel, as he immediately cuts off his wings, which disengages a collar around his neck. I don't know if this is a tracking collar, or if God has an invisible fence around Heaven to keep his angels from running out of the yard. It's never explained what the collar is or why Michael has to cut off his wings. Or even where the wings go once he cuts them off, though I suspect some homeless people had a couple of big buffalo wings that evening.

Oh, I'm a sick man....

Anyway, John Matrix.... Oh, sorry Michael then breaks into a warehouse and finds a bunch of high power guns, only to be caught by the police as he leaves. But instead of Rea Dawn Chong coming to his rescue, one of the cops starts shaking like someone possessed by Agent Smith. Only this time, the person grows small, pointy teeth, their eyes go black and they speak in a hollow tone. And they know Michael, who promptly kills the mutated cop, loads up the police car, then heads out of LA as the city starts to go black.

You know a movie is in trouble when you spend the first 10 minutes recognizing scenes lifted from other movies. And don't get me started on the opening voice over.

Anyway, we now meet the stock humans who will be in the film. They're all straight out of the cliche character handbook; the young expectant mother who is giving the baby up for adoption, the boy who loves her but she doesn't really care for him, the concerned father who wants his son to leave their small town diner for a better life, the arguing yuppie-like couple and their rebellious daughter....

You get the idea, I'm sure. Fortunately, the cast is pretty strong, lead by Dennis Quaid and Charles S. Dutton. The cliches aren't too terrible (yet) and I found myself interested in the character's plight as the apocalypse comes at them in the form of a possessed old lady and a giant, cloud like swarm of flies.

Then Michael shows up, and the movie falls flat once again. It's not just the endless rip off scenes (the pregnant waitress is carrying humanity's savior, the siege looks like any zombie movie out there), or the script that can't find a cliche it doesn't have to add to the mix. No, what dooms this film is it's basic premise, which has God losing His faith in humanity and deciding to wipe us out with an army people possessed by angels.

This turns out to be a pretty stupid plan, as the possessed people can be killed. Sure, it takes more bullets than an average person. But if you were God, why would you put your army into a bunch of fragile meat bags? A more sound idea is just to send the angels to Earth on a search and destroy mission. Or cause a plague that only kills humans. Or start up the zombie apocalypse. Anything would be smarter than possessed-by-an-angel maniacs that are only able to kill people with their hands and teeth.

Once you figure out how stupid the setup is, no amount of furious action can save this film. You just sit there, wondering how the film makers could think we wouldn't figure out that God's plan for our extinction seems to have been thought up by a five year old.

The final blow is another ridiculous no-way-they-would-walk-away-from-that-car-wreck moment (I think I should copyright that, as it keeps turning up in movies all the time), followed by the survivors running up a mountain to escape the murderous angel that God should have sent down in the first place. Any good will or suspension of disbelief left in the viewer is gone and the movie limps to a warm and fuzzy ending.

You know, I've changed my mind about the metaphor I picked for this movie. Icarus is just not right, as this film never gets off the ground. Maybe a penguin, although this movie sinks while penguins can swim. Or an ostrich, except they are good runners and this movie can't go the distance.

I know. Legion is like a domesticated turkey, which can't fly and is destined to be carved up by its audience.

Yep, I think that sums up my feelings towards this movie pretty well.