Posted on: July 6, 2010

Angels with sub-machine guns.
Demons that look like little old ladies.
The end of the world.
Dennis Quaid.

So, what’s not to like?

[Warning – there are spoilers below.]

In LEGION, the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) comes to Earth and goes to battle with his angelic brethren to save the life of a child. As mentioned early on in the movie, in the form of a voice over story told by one of the characters, God has gotten tired of humanity’s bullshit. He has decided to send angels down to annihilate mankind. However, Michael hasn’t lost all faith in us and defies God’s orders.

At a diner on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert, a small group of people has come together by happenstance. Dennis Quaid plays the diner owner, Bob Hanson. His son, Jeep (Lucas Black), pregnant waitress Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), and short order cook Percy (Charles S. Dutton) round out the diner staff. There is an urban married couple Howard and Sandra Anderson (Jon Tenney and Kate Walsh) with a teenage daughter (Willa Holland) who are having car trouble, as well as a single guy named Kyle (Tyrese Gibson) who has gotten lost trying to get to a court appearance in Los Angeles.

The first clue that things have gone awry in the world is when a sweet old lady stops in for a bite to eat at the diner. She hobbles in with her walker and takes a seat. Charlie, who is very obviously pregnant, waits on her. The grandmother-type offhandedly mentions Charlies’ baby is “going to burn.” Charlie is aghast and walks away. As the woman continues to tell everyone how they will all burn, Percy and Howard try to reason with her. She takes a bite out of Howard’s neck, then scrambles up the wall and ceiling of the diner like an insect. Percy nails her with a frying pan to little avail. She’s finally shot down by Kyle.

Michael arrives a short while later and after arming everyone, the sky goes dark. Michael explains God has sent his angels to kill off humanity. However, Charlie is carrying the child who is to be humanity’s savior. If the child dies, all hope will be lost.

The diner’s inhabitants fight off attacks by people who have been possessed by angels, including one memorable scene with Doug Jones (Abe Sapien in the Hellboy movies) playing a possessed ice cream man. Howard is dragged off by these creatures and later crucified outside the diner. His subsequent death serves to drive his wife insane.

Charlie gives birth to her baby during the night. Soon after, trumpets are heard and Michael tells everyone this means the archangel Gabriel is on his way to lead the angels in their drive to kill everyone. Sandra, having lost her mind completely, steals the baby to give to the creatures outside. She is killed by Michael and the baby saved.

Gabriel arrives and does battle with Michael. As they go at it, Jeep, Charlie, the baby, and Audrey escape into a vehicle outside, heading into the desert. The possessed are unable to approach the baby so they are able to leave unhindered. However, Gabriel kills Michael and comes after them. Audrey sacrifices herself in trying to stop Gabriel. There is a horrific crash, but the baby, Jeep, and Charlie survive.

Gabriel arrives out of nowhere to finish his God-given task of killing the baby. However, because he didn’t show Michael mercy, God resurrects Michael (now in his full angelic glory) to take down Gabriel, which he does. He then tells Jeep to protect the child and flies off.

What I liked–the effects were well done. LEGION has an interesting premise, though not entirely original. Personally, I love stories and movies involving angels doing battle. Dennis Quaid and Charles Dutton both gave pretty good performances, which is to be expected.

What I didn’t like–the plot was somewhat confusing. There were holes in it big enough to drive a truck through. It is never explained why Michael cut off his wings at the outset of the movie, at least not to my satisfaction, as one example.

All in all, worth renting at Redbox or Netflix. But, I’d not have wanted to pay to see it in the theaters.

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