Monday, January 25, 2010

'Legion' one unholy mess

One and a half stars

By Gary Buiso

Humankind is in trouble in “Legion” — and so are audiences forced to endure this mostly humdrum apocalypse yarn.

The film is a surprisingly banal affair only briefly interspersed with intense, albeit cliched, action scenes and occasional gore. But it’s mostly an unholy mess. Meaningless, dull dialogue weighs heavy in what would could have been a B-movie gem.

God is fed up with mortal shenanigans, so he dispatches an army of angels to purge the earth of humans. Gunslinging rogue angel Michael (Paul Bettany) has faith in humanity and sets out to save an unborn baby who inexplicably is Earth’s salvation.

Most of the film takes place in a diner in the Mojave Desert, where — surprise, surprise — a ragtag band of stranded customers and staff fight for their very survival against a possessed horde of zombiefied humans. Still, things certainly start off promising enough.

An octogenarian lady saunters into the dusty eatery and sweetly informs a very pregnant waitress (Adrianne Palicki) that her baby will “burn with the rest of ‘em.” Indignation turns to horror as the old lady shows she’s still spry, climbing on the ceiling like a black widow spider, eventually showing the staff that she really likes her meat rare.

Pestilence isn’t far away, along with more waves of flesh-hungry humans under an angelic spell that targets the weak.

Director Scott Stewart doesn’t take the care to make sense out of the film’s down-time, or plot holes, which are considerable. Instead, cookie-cutter characters offer throw-away dialogue that has few, um, revelations.

Bettany, and the eventual clash with rival archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand), offer the film’s best moments. Who knew angels knew kung fu?

Not quite pure hell, “Legion” is akin to cinematic purgatory.

“Legion.” Rated R for strong bloody violence, and language. 100 minutes. With Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Charles S. Dutton and Dennis Quaid.

Playing in Brooklyn at UA Court Street Stadium 12 in downtown Brooklyn, UA Sheepshead Bay 14, Bay Ridge Alpine Cinemas, and Linden Boulevard Multiplex Cinemas in East New York.


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