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Legion (2009)

by on 2012/10/08

“Don’t do anything brave.”

* * *

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research into disaster preparedness. How much water, food and medical supplies do you need to amass to survive a natural disaster like a massive solar flare, earthquake or plain old power grid failure?

I have some of the lingo down. TEOTWAKI is the end of the world as we know it. Prepper is a person who stockpiles supplies and readies for the worst. GOOD bag is a ‘get out of dodge’ bag in case you need to evacuate.

I guess I come by it honestly. I grew up in the middle of nowhere in the far North and my mother was a back-to-the-lander who baked, canned, raised her own animals. She wielded a mean shotgun.

That’s also probably why I like films about the apocalypse or post-apocalypse. Maybe it is fact-finding, maybe I’m looking for tips. Maybe.

Legion is the sort of end of the world picture where there isn’t much practical information to glean, because in this case, the world is ending because GOD is MAD at humanity. And the bringers of death are rat-bastard angels. Or something.

I’m not a big fan of watching characters suffer. I miss the old horror trope of the most bigoted, irritating jerks going first and dying bloody. In movies like the Legion, it is often the bravest, most noble characters that get it in the neck for doing the right thing.

It held such promise and I’ve been so dying to see it. There’s a bunch of reasonably interesting folks, trapped in a desert diner in the middle of nowhere, fighting off wave after wave of torture-happy cherubim and seraphim. They’ve got help in the form of rogue angel Michael (Paul Bettany) equipped with a small army’s-worth of guns and ammo. Seemed like a plenty good enough idea to me.

Such promise. But the promise was bitten in half by a sweet-looking old lady in a fluffy pink cardigan and tow-headed little toddler – both with huge nasty, bite-y teeth.

“With huge, sharp… er… (they) can leap about. Look at the bones!”

And you’ll pretty much never chase an ice cream truck again after watching this movie. Never. Again.

The actors don’t have much to do except scream, cry and generally have a horrible time. Poor Charles S. Dutton who plays nice-guy Percy, he can’t catch a break in these thankless films. First the travesty that was Gothika and now this.

Dennis Quaid, as diner owner Bob Hanson, need only shout, grimace, frown and wave the gun around. His son Jeep (Lucas Black) needs to blink slow and look dim. He’s noble. Or something. Adrianne Palicki, playing Charlie the pregnant waitress, is the flinty damsel in distress.

Chuck in a dysfunctional family, a street-wise gang-banger with a heart of gold, and you’ve got yourself the fundamentals of a good survival/disaster horror flick.

Or do you?

I say nope. These folks are just there to fry up on the filthy griddle of that desert diner. And we get to watch.

If I wanted to watch people having a miserable time, I’d wander over to the nearest shopping mall or peek into some suburban windows this Thanksgiving weekend.

* * *

100 minutes

Rated R for strong bloody violence, and language

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