Legion (2010)

(In theatres, January 2010) The second religious-themed action/fantasy thriller in as many weeks in North American theatres, Legion has the elementary decency not to be terribly serious about its usage of Christian mythology.  God has decided to wipe out mankind, angels are out to zombify humanity and only one renegade can save the world by protecting the mother of an unborn child.  No, it doesn’t make any sense: Legion’s screenwriters would rather spend five interminable minutes setting up character relationships between cannon fodder than actually making sense.  But some of the character time is worthwhile: For a cheap B-grade horror film that blends zombies with angels and demons, it’s unusually generous with the patter, and that almost makes it better than average.  It’s a good thing that all of God’s forces are well-mannered enough to line up zombie-style for maximum usage of conventional firepower by our small band of survivors, and that we’re never asked to think too much.  Which is sad, really, because in-between the tattered script and the conventional execution, there are glimmers of a terrific concept, character set-pieces and several cool scenes.  (Paul Bettany is better than expected as a renegade angel, while Dennis Quaid provides a dependably gruff presence as the owner of the small lonely diner where everything happens.)  But the banal dialogue, indifferent scenes and dumb mistakes keep ruining the fun: For such a self-aware, borderline-camp film, Legion never fully realizes its potential.  What remains isn’t much more than the type of genre picture that sinks to the bottom of the remaindered bin, and becomes an unfair trivia question within years of its release.

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