Why are films about the biblical end of the world always so terrible?
I mean Christian films are near universally, unwatchably terrible in general *Cough Assassin 33ad Cough* but in this case I’m talking about films where either God or the Devil has decided it’s time to wipe out the world.
I mean just imagine it, the ground cracks open spewing lava and creatures of unimaginable horror flow out and begin slicing through humanity with neither pity,remorse or regret.
Or the face of God appears in the sky, his mouth opens and as humanity turns to hear his words, instead a Death Star style beam hits the Earth turning it into an asteroid field in seconds.
Hell, what about a beam circling the world just wiping people from existence irrespective of how much they beg, plead or prey.
My point is, the end of the human race in the face of we know not what should be an excuse for a director to let their imagination run riot. Or, if your budget doesn’t stretch to armies of angels pouring from the clouds wielding all manner of weapons against the technically superior but actually completely unarmed humans, the idea of a group of humans trapped somewhere under hopeless siege from beings that they can barely understand, let alone fight has certain appeal.
And as long as you look at something like Legion (2010) and do exactly the opposite, then you shouldn’t go far wrong.
All-right not maybe exactly the opposite, there were a few touches I liked. The film gets half a point for calling it’s main setting (a diner in the middle of nowhere) Paradise Falls. Well done. You’ve read a book or done a quick google search. Also on the positives you’ve got a pretty solid performance from Paul Bettany as Gabriel, leader of the angel army sent against humanity who has decided that humanity deserves a second chance.
For some reason.
Remember, this film was released before Cats (2019).
With what little he’s given, Bettany does a great job as someone who’s defying everything he’s ever known or loved for what he believes in.
I guess Douglas Quaid is OK?
The trouble is everything else. Like I was saying, this film is set in a diner in the middle of nowhere which is a good idea seeing as this thing had a pretty low budget but that and a moderately fun final battle is pretty much where the good news stops.
Like was hinting for the first 200 words of this review, the end of the world should be an excuse for directors to allow their imagination to run riot. Can you imagine what you would have the armies of Heaven look like? On a limited budget though so no CGI but… make up? Nope. In Legion, the villains are…people. People with black eyes showing that they’ve been possessed by Angels (Legion is the angels of Heaven V Humanity, the devil/Hell is apparently sitting this film out. I think they saw the script.)
Now OK, the idea that angels need to possess humans to exist on this plain or keep the budget down, is not without merit but the trouble I have is that people possessed by the angels can be killed by bullets. Not special blessed bullets or bullets made from a limited metal but just generic bullets that you can buy anywhere. (Assuming you live in the colonies, in grown up countries, you have a few hoops to jump through first.) Which, given that most of our angelic opponents don’t seem to have any plan beyond CHAARRGGGEE!!! Means that most of the time our heroes (for want of a better term) defeat them by ye olde strategy of firing guns with spent shells clinking to the ground which never(!) gets old.
It’s also very dull. The whole film is dull. After the first ‘action’ scene, we get 20 minutes of our heroes (for want of a better term) hanging around in a diner, chatting and I guess developing character? But instead it just felt like a bunch of people waiting for Godot, which would actually be a pretty cool film, a bunch of people, trapped in limbo (which looks like a diner in the middle of nowhere) waiting to be judged wounds like a pretty cool film.
But that’s not what I got. Instead, it’s a bunch of people hanging around a diner being boring or flatter than someone who’d tried to have an argument with a steamroller until Bettany turns up and tells them that their waitress is pregnant with the new messiah and they have to keep it safe at all costs from the army of angels coming to kill them since he was supposed to but decided he didn’t want to.
So now Legion is a siege movie until a woman gives birth against what might as well be a zombie hoard.
And there were so many little things that annoyed me. The film takes itself so seriously that it’s no fun at all. If the job is to protect the new messiah do you want to have 12 people do the protecting? You’ve got a plague of flies so do you want to change all the water to blood? Give the cast Boils? A thunderstorm of hail and fire? Hell, you say that the world is covered in darkness now but then have a ton of scenes in daylight.
Consistency, Whats that?
One of our lead hero’s is literally called Jeep,the film (according to IMDB) IS allegedly a horror film but is actually about as scary as my washing up. There is a slightly tense moment at the end of the first act which sadly turns into a moment of unintentional hilarity which sadly isn’t the last.
Look, Legion, despite having a great (if completely wasted) premise is a boring dull which wastes it’s cast, it’s setup, it’s budget, and most importantly of all, my time. I mean there is one slightly interesting fight scene towards the end but it’s not worth slogging through the film for. You won’t care about anyone on screen, the death scenes are boring, it’s nether scary nor tense and I’m never going to think about it again.
Let alone check out the sequel series that ran for two series on SyFy. (Naturally)
See you next time.
My Score- Bomb