January just hasn’t been a very good month for movies. Daybreakers made me sad. My hopes were slightly buoyed by the I-Guess-It-Works Book of Eli, but were finally and completely dashed by the miserable Legion. Seriously, I’m seeing trailers for From Paris with Love and thinking, “Hey. John Travolta!” I mean, it has to stop.**
War. Death. Destruction. Republicans. God has finally had enough with mankind, and rather than keep a few around to jump-start the human race ala Noah, he’s decided to wipe them all out…with angels…who are mean now. Paul Bettany is Michael, the Protector of Israel, who decides to disobey and return to Earth to give humanity one last chance at surviving the coming extermination. Can he do it? I have a feeling he just might.
Alright, look. Legion wasn’t all bad. The first twenty minutes are well-acted. The movie actually has a pretty good cast. Paul Bettany! Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton and Kate Walsh, who I’ve been dating off and on for several years now. Anyway, after watching the very beginning of the movie I thought to myself, “Alright. Okay. Let’s see where this goes.” Then I watched these accomplished and well-respected actors all fall into their separate action-hero stereotypes. Tyrese Gibson as the inner-city dad who just wants to see his son. Lucas Black as the lovable hick who can’t do enough for Adrianne Palicki even though she walks all over him. It all becomes so predictable that you know where the movie is headed before it gets there. It’s all very paint-by-numbers.
Unless you’ve seen the movie, it would be easy to look at the plot in the most simplistic of terms. Hey! Let’s make it so that instead of loving everyone, God hates everyone! And then the angels kill people! Oh I love pissing off the Church! In the end, it isn’t as clear cut as that, but this revelation (which I won’t spoil) comes literally in the movie’s last ten minutes. It’s almost an afterthought and definitely isn’t the message the movie was trying to deliver – if there’s any message to be had at all.
You have to ask yourself, was there ever a chance that Legion was going to rise above mindless popcorn fluff? Probably not. I can’t even bring myself to say that the movie had lofty aspirations that it ultimately couldn’t live up to, because I honestly don’t believe it did. It’s filled with so many cliches and makes everyone in it look so ridiculous that, by the time Paul Bettany bursts through that cross-shaped hole in the wall, you’re telling yourself, “Ah. I can turn my brain off.” The movie leaves us with a Terminator-style ending that’s just screaming for a sequel to be made. Let’s all join hands and pray that it never comes. C-
**Rave review of From Paris with Love coming soon!