Saturday, December 4, 2010

Movies That Suck: Legion

The year is 2010 and God has decided that humanity deserves to be eliminated (it is unclear whether or not watching The View factored into his decision) so he distributes a memo to his full-time angelic staff to “clean house” a la’ Noah and the Ark. For reasons known only to the big man, it is imperative that the unborn fetus of a specific Arizona waitress is violently executed before mankind can receive its supernatural comeuppance.

This new corporate policy does not sit well with the Archangel Michael (painfully referred to as "Mike" throughout the film) and after he and Gabriel kick it around the heavenly water cooler, Mikey decides two put in his two weeks’ notice. In short order he finds himself on the streets of Los Angeles without his wings and on a mission to save the aforementioned fetus from God.

While Mike is on his way to the isolated coffee shop to protect said waitress, heavenly angels begin taking over the bodies of motorists in the area. This angelic possession can be easily identified by two characteristics:
  • The affected suffer violent seizures from the neck up.
  • Their teeth become both symmetrical and pointy.
However, if the host is elderly they are immune from both the seizures and involuntary dental work and  instead they use the f-word excessively and favor undercooked beef.

Eventually, Mike and a band of customers find themselves hold up in the Arizona dinner (owned by Dennis Quaid) fighting off the hordes of angels. The film’s climax involves a showdown between erstwhile angel Mike and his old buddy Gabriel. I will not spoil it by telling you who wins, but I can assure you that it will not be the audience.

I am more than willing to make certain theological concessions when it comes to apocalyptic films, but come on. Are we really expected to believe that God almighty, who by the films own admission wields infinite power, is unable to snuff out a particular pregnant waitress without the help of possessed motorists? And while I am on the subject, why do the angels sport tattoos and carry what appear to be prison shanks? Was the heavenly defense budget cut this year?

The exception, of course, is Gabriel who has been issued a motorized mace that functions like a holy-ghost power tool. It is also worth noting that Mike, who presumably has spent his entire existence removed from the trappings of humanity, has a strong British accent and received extensive training in both Taekwondo and the handling of automatic firearms.

All of this must be quite discouraging for Satan, whose job of torturing and punishing humanity has essentially been outsourced. I am not sure what is left for the dark master to do if angels are violently murdering the width and breadth of mankind.

The film, however, does excel in certain areas; the most notable being the subtle art of stereotyping. Kyle Williams, played by Tyrese Gibson, is an African-American traveler who drives a chromed-out SUV with dark tinted windows, carries a pistol, and has a disgruntled baby-mama that he may or may not be late making child support payments to.

Conversely, the single nuclear family that appears in the film is Caucasian but is imploding because the couple’s teenage daughter is disrespectful, sexually promiscuous, and may or may not use large amounts of recreational drugs. They only find themselves in such an undignified eatery because their BMW broke down and the dinner apparently employs a part-time mechanic. The film’s remaining character is the dinner’s grill cook who possesses only one hand.

Thankfully, the child is safely delivered and God changes his mind and decides to give humanity another chance. Let’s just hope that he doesn’t put Legion in his Netflix que…

This film has been rated R for geriatric profanity, theological innuendo, and an intense scene of Dennis Quaid mismanaging a small business.

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