Friday, June 4, 2010

Hi-Def Blood Movie Reviews

LEGION (2010) Blu-Ray
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Scott Stewart
Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton, Kate Walsh.

So are badass angels going to be a thing now? These winged warriors of the Lord seem to be popping up more and more lately. The first, and best, example of this that I can remember was 1995s THE PROPHECY where Christopher Walken, sporting a very noticeable dye job, plays an angel on a mission to destroy humanity. This film was followed by three sequels, each more horrible and inept then the last. Then on TV the cult favorite show, SUPERNATURAL introduced last season a whole bunch of angels looking to destroy humanity and pretty much everything else. Now we get LEGION where another group of angels look to destroy the world again. However this time we get at least one of the big bad bird men on our side. Will one angel and a rag tag group of normal people be enough to stop the legions of heaven from their appointed task? Well, grab your bible and your machine-gun; we’re off to the apocalypse.

As soon as the movie starts we see an angel descend from heaven to a dirty back alley where he promptly cuts off his wings and grabs some high powered guns in a scene right out of Schwarzenegger flick. That right there pretty much tells you what you’ll be in for in this film. Cut to an isolated diner in the middle of a desert and we meet the rest of our cast. There’s the emotionally wounded but still good hearted diner owner and struggling single father, there’s his physically wounded best buddy, his pregnant and plucky daughter, the young hired help that still carries a torch for the pregnant girl even though she’s carrying someone else’s kid in her belly, the young, tough black guy with a shady past but a heart of gold, and the husband/wife/rebellious teen daughter travelers who’s stuck at the diner with a broken car. Into this den of clichés comes one more, the typical nice sweet lady. Well one good thing this movie does is to turn that last trope on its head, but that bit of goodness is all but ruined if you’ve seen any of the trailers for this movie, because they all show how the old bat goes batty and starts climbing the walls, literally. Way to go, marketing guys!

After grandma goes ga-ga, the TVs and radios go on the fritz, swarms of bugs (locusts?) are seen in the distance blotting out the sun, and our hunky, pistol packing angel shows up and tells everyone on that, “It’s the End of the World as we Know it” but everything’s going to be fine as long as they keep the daughter’s unborn baby safe. Safe from what? A whole horde (legion?) of creepy people possessed by…well you’ll have to see this movie to find out, but it’s safe to say that they’re not nice. So begins the siege of the desolate desert diner, an ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 with zombified, body contorting, would be baby killers taking the place of gang bangers. But oddly enough, guns are just as effective against these supernatural things that can climb walls and stretch out their mouths and limbs to impossible lengths as they are against the local crack dealer on the corner. That seemed kind of week to me, but it’s good news for the survivors at the diner because the rebel angel with a cause has brought a trunk full of bang bangs with him.

And that’s about it for this flick. The bad guys outside the diner want in to get at the unborn baby, the good people inside the diner use overwhelming firepower to keep the creeps at bay, and then at the end we get Heavenly version of WWE’s Monday Night Raw with an angel on angel throw down. Again, I don’t think I’m spoiling anything as this was also a highlight of all the trailers for this movie. Will the good guys win? Will the baby get make it to term and save the world from oblivion? Will there be a LEGION 2, thus spawning a whole bunch of sequels in an attempt to milk this franchise for all it’s worth a la the aforementioned PROPHECY flicks? Well for that last question, all I can say is heaven help us.

As for the Blue-ray it comes with a few extras of note. There are three featurettes; Creating the Apocalypse (a doc on physical effects), Humanity's Last Line of Defense (interviews and such with the cast), and From Pixels to Picture (a doc on CGI types effects). While there is no audio commentary track to be found here, there is a BD exclusive Picture in Picture feature that runs during the movie and offers video commentary by the director. And the BD also comes with a digital copy if putting this movie on your PC or iPod is important to you.

In closing, LEGION wasn’t a bad film, but it wasn’t really great either. It offers nothing new and is more of an action flick with supernatural overtones than a horror movie. Some of the effects are neat, but look pretty damn bad. As an example of that, the possessed ice cream truck driver (also shown way too much in the trailer) is a great idea, but to me it just looked to cartoonish on the screen. But if you’re into people shooting people a lot, and don’t mind the heavy Christian themes, then this may be the film for you.

--Brian M. Sammons