Horror films seem to come and go throughout the year at odd times; while you’d think most would focus around the Halloween months, there are just so many “great” ideas for the genre that they often can’t wait. Which is why we just got a remake of Nightmare on Elm Street in the middle of May and why we rang in the new year with Legion, a pseudo-apocalypse tale that pitted angels against…well, other angels who refused to follow God’s commandments. It’s not really a fresh spin on the tale, especially with the TV show Supernatural amalgamating all of the best elements of those kinds of stories into one super-awesome season so far this year. I mean, that show is really fantastic and…oh, right, Legion. Yes, well…this movie stinks.
At a remote desert truck stop, the fate of the world will be decided. Evil’s armies are amassing. Armed and united by the Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany), a group of strangers become unwitting soldiers on the frontlines of the Apocalypse. Their mission: protect a waitress and her sacred unborn child from the relentless, bloody siege of the demonic legion. Also starring Dennis Quaid (G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF THE COBRA, VANTAGE POINT), Tyrese Gibson (TRANSFORMERS) and Lucas Black (JARHEAD).
I actually really dug the trailers for this film, as the possessed people on Earth were some of the coolest animations I’ve seen come from that concept. Hell, that scene with the crazy granny in the diner alone was almost worth sitting through this mess of a film, but considering it came so early on in the film it made the film feel a lot less entertaining after that fact. It did have a nice “last surviving humans vs. the world” thing going on with what essentially amounted to demonic zombies trying to attack them, but that grew tired and old within the first half of the film and by the time the cast finally started to thin out we were left with the two least interesting characters of the whole thing (no offense to the actors who played them, they were just incredibly generic and uninteresting).
I also couldn’t help draw comparisons to the aforementioned Supernatural show. While that show can’t show near the amount of gore and violence that this film did, the film also apparently can’t have competent writers to draft a compelling end-of-the-world story. Angels acting like jerks is nothing new to fans of the genre and as entertaining as I find Kevin Durand in just about everything he has done lately, not even he could add anything of value to this film with his Dogma-like attire and Rambo-combined-with-an-angel attitude that he exhibited.
There’s a whole religious theme that goes along with this film, of course, but even as so many people complain about how it ruined the movie, I honestly don’t think it would’ve been any better had they actually gone another route. The whole savior of mankind, God wanting to wipe out the human race…it just felt like it’s been done before in other films and done much more efficiently. This feels like a film that was written to be some kind of deep meaning and spiritual outing that was also a gorefest with body parts and fleshy chunks of meat bounding around on the screen.
It’s a shame the film stumbled so violently, as it could’ve been something that was a worthwhile viewing for fans of the end of the world kinds of films. The main actors were nicely cast and it certainly started out with promise, but it just spun into mediocrity extremely fast and couldn’t dig its way out into something that was actually worth watching. You can safely Skip this film as you really aren’t missing anything at all with this one.
Sony releases Legion in double disc Elite Blu-ray case (second disc is a digital copy) without any fancy frills about it. Inside the case itself is the usual array of inserts, ranging from advertisements for other Blu-ray titles to the details on how to redeem your digital copies of the film (disc one features a PSP copy, while disc two features an iTunes copy).
Video is an AVC encoded effort and oversaturated/blown out visual look of the film translates brilliantly to 1080p. There’s a nice bit of grain to accompany the picture, but certainly nothing that detracts. In fact the only thing that really leapt out at me as anything was any kind of detractor was a few mild cases of banding, but even then it wasn’t enough to ruin the movie experience (that was left up for the writing to do). Everything from close-ups to long shots were just filled with detail and anytime any kind of gore flashed on screen there was a proper amount of gooey detail to accompany it. The opening scene with Paul Bettany stitching his wound after he tore his wings off is especially difficult to watch because of the clarity of the transfer—you can see just about every detail of his gaping wound.
Audio is equally as good, with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track hammering every gunshot and subsequent torn piece of flesh with superb detail and clarity. The opening to the film, again, is probably the greatest example of the films technical presentation as the rain in the beginning was incredibly well done as it resonates all around the room. Plenty of LFE output to keep you engrossed in the film as well and all of the films (poorly written) dialogue comes through clean and clear through the center channel.
Extras are thankfully pretty light as I’m not sure I could take too much more of watching this film and things about it.
movieIQ™+sync and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie!
BD Exclusive: Bringing Angels To Earth: Picture-in-Picture
Creating the Apocalypse – Behind the Physical Effects (23:43, 1080p)
Humanity’s Last Line of Defense – The Cast and Characters (11:32, 1080p)
From Pixels to Picture – A Look at the Visual Effects (10:57, 1080p)
Of course they look light as there are only about forty minutes or so of featurettes to watch, but there’s actually a running visual commentary throughout the film (“Bringing Angels to Earth”) that is really quite well done. I have to say if more films had “commentaries” like this, I probably wouldn’t fall asleep during so many of them. Granted it is still a fledgling technology, but I would love to see it implemented on more films (especially better ones).
Overall a decent set that’s worth a Rental if you truly want to watch all of the extras, but the film really is quite a mediocre mess and not something I recommend checking out unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
Legion is now available on Blu-ray and DVD.