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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, 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.
For more about Legion and the Legion Blu-ray release, see Legion Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 27, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Charles S. Dutton, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki
Director: Scott Charles Stewart
» See full cast & crew
Legion Blu-ray Review
...as in "legions of moviegoers walked out of the theater."
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 27, 2010
This is an extermination.
An angel holding a knife and an H&K submachine gun? OK. Unusual to say the least, but OK. That's the face of Legion, the all-impotant poster image that does indeed sum this one up rather well. A mixture of the heavenly and heavy assault weapons, Legion tackles the Post-Apocalyptic genre by tossing God and angels with a bit of Maximum Overdrive, The Stand, and The Terminator in a blender, spitting out some nasty concoction that's reminiscent of Arnold's breakfast of champions in another religiously-oriented end-of-the-world Thriller/Action picture, End of Days. Sure to offend Christians and make everyone else just laugh at the absurdity, Legion does little right; it has its moments to be sure, and Director Scott Stewart shows some promise, but the premise and script are just so bad that not even a hybrid Director of Hitchcock, Spielberg, and Tarantino could have saved this mess that ultimately feels like "God meets Skynet."
At a remote diner in the middle of a Western U.S. desert, a group of unsuspecting people will become humanity's last stand against the most powerful force in the universe: God. It is a time of darkness, where the fate of the world would be influenced by a cook (Charles S. Dutton, Rudy), a father (Dennis Quaid, Vantage Point) and his son (Lucas Black, Sling Blade), a pregnant waitress (Adrianne Palicki), a stranded family (Jon Tenney, Kate Walsh, and Willa Holland), a lost motorist (Tyrese Gibson, Transformers), and the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany, The Young Victoria). God has had enough of mankind's wayward ways, and as he did with the great flood millennia before, he's decided to once again wipe out the human race. Michael has chosen not to follow God's orders -- which include killing the pregnant waitress Charlie and her unborn baby that's destined to grow into mankind's last hope -- and has joined the band of what is to become human resistance fighters against God's army of angels who inhabit the bodies of human beings. It's spiritual warfare taken to a whole new level.
Legion actually works here and there in short spurts; atmospheric in one sequence, chilling in another, but it's mostly just, well, boring. Even when it's not necessarily outright dull -- those few times where guns are going off, stuff is blowing up, and angels are beating on one another with mechanized clubs -- it never gets much better than "goofily generic." Bad dialogue -- and stretched out far too long in some cases at that -- slows the movie to a crawl, and the cast to a person seems to be doing little more than going through the motions and maybe having a bit of fun as they wave their guns around. Whether Dennis Quaid's over-the-top-where's-my-paycheck antics, Paul Bettany's lifeless effort, or any of the other parts that are played sans the emotion, awe, fear, and sense of grandeur some event like this would really engender, Legion's poor script is never once made better by the performers that act it out, despite a roster with several appealing names. Legion's efforts to add some depth and substance to the movie is noble but ultimately futile; the extended dialogue scenes and shots at character development only seem to slow the movie down, but at least it tries. Still, this is a case where more action and atmosphere and less talk might have worked in the movie's favor, but then again, Legion even gets some of its scares and action scenes wrong.
Indeed, some parts of Legion might have actually proved somewhat effective if they weren't so lame, poorly executed, and at times downright (unintentionally) funny. Whether a demon in the guise of an ice cream truck driver or a grandma that likes her steak bloody and buzzing with flies or her flesh straight off a man's neck, some of what goes on in Legion seems like it would be better suited to a genre parody rather than a would-be serious post-apocalyptic Action movie. There's also the obligatory "introduce all the characters in rapid succession" segment that was done well in Identity but is here little more than the first of several slow stretches throughout the movie, and the worst part is that there's very little surprise as to who is to live, who is to die, who will prove important to the story, and who is destined to become angelic-demon fodder as soon as they're introduced. Still, when Legion is on top of its game, it proves at the very least a competent and watchable film. Director Scott Stewart manages to squeeze some tension out of those several scenes that aren't quite as goofy as the rest and gives a bit of heft to some of the more frighteningly plausible end-of-times scenarios, but the jumbled story and hackneyed characters just don't do much in support.
Finally, Legion's take on God and His wanton destruction of human life will prove downright insulting to Christians and laughably far-fetched even for nonbelievers or those of other faiths. The picture tries to justify this second "God-wrought apocalypse" by citing the flood (of Noah's Ark fame), but it ultimately paints God as the de facto "bad guy" of the movie and ignores most everything else in the Bible; sure, God goes unseen, but His powers, angels, and minions -- the latter of whom are, apparently, humans possessed by angles who become demonic zombies turned against their will and working for God to kill an unborn baby and its mother -- are front-and-center, while Michael, the "hero" of the film, is supposedly an Angel that now has more peace and love in his heart than does God. Whatever, it's a terrible premise that seems to go out of its way to upset anyone of faith that sees it, but the real kicker comes in a scene that seems to go completely against the entire presupposition of the story. With the gang holed up in the diner, a van carrying a father and child arrives; the father frantically tries to quickly pump gas into the vehicle, but it's a trick. When the father is killed, a character heroically tries to rescue the small boy who, it turns out, is one of these angel-demon-zombie things. In essence, "God" -- who has lost all faith in man because of his evil ways -- plays on a man's honest and well-intentioned humanity so "He" may kill this individual and, by extension, more easily kill the mother and her baby. It makes no sense; the human character obviously had enough good within him to save a random child, but God uses the character's goodwill and humanity against him, even when, supposedly, there's none of that left in the world.
Legion Blu-ray, Video Quality
Legion swoops onto Blu-ray with a nearly flawless 1080p, 2.40:1-framed transfer. Aside from a hint of banding in a couple of places, Sony's high quality transfer leaves no room for complaint. Legion is a dark movie, though there are several very bright exterior shots -- particularly during the film's first act -- that deliver striking detail all around; though these scenes take on a somewhat dusty, tan-colored hue, there's absolutely no shortage of impeccable detailing whether on the gravel-and-dirt parking lot outside the diner or the many dusty, rusty, and well-worn objects and façades scattered about the location. Close-ups of faces reveal an incredibly lifelike texturing as well. Indeed, Legion rarely exhibits a soft shot; this is a crisp, sharp, and clear image that offers fantastic depth and retains excellent detailing even in longer shots and on distant objects. Darker scenes generally exhibit faultless blacks, often appearing absorbing and true but without devouring any details around the screen. Flesh tones are accurate throughout and are usually only influenced by surrounding light sources, or as the case may sometimes be, the lack thereof. Legion retains a moderately heavy layer of grain throughout that completes what is an always solid, sometimes breathtaking, film-like transfer that's another winner from Sony.
Legion Blu-ray, Audio Quality
For as good as Legion's 1080p transfer is, its DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack proves its equal. Loud and immersive but natural and enthralling, Legion's high definition soundtrack positively submerses the listener into the world of heavenly warfare-on-Earth. Several effects are almost clear and precise to a fault, for instance a loud barking dog in an early scene that's disturbingly close to the real thing. Likewise, rain envelops the listener in one instance, and plenty of action scenes later in the movie deliver a deluge of sonic goodness in the form of gunfire, explosions, and the like that seem to tear the soundstage to pieces. The track also creates a seamless sense of space through finely-tuned atmospherics; the desert location comes alive with buzzing insects or the subtle hiss of an electrical current that brings the environment to life, and one scene featuring the constant piercing of a "stand by" television tone that proves just as chilling as anything in the movie. Various musical numbers, particularly a hard rock piece later in the picture, enjoy pinpoint clarity and exceptional power. Also featuring the expectedly clear and precise dialogue reproduction, Legion makes for a captivating and mostly seamless high definition listening experience.
Legion Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Legion fails to bring with it a heavenly assortment of extra content, though what is included is of a relatively high quality. The highlight of this package is Brining Angels to Earth: Picture-in-Picture, a running video commentary/behind-the-scenes feature that contains Director/Co-Writer Scott Stewart and a host of additional cast and crew speaking on the construction of the film, the traits of the characters, the themes of the story, the picture's place within its genre, the special effects, the shooting locations, filmmaking techniques, and much more. The interview footage of the cast and crew is intercut with effects sequence shots, hand-drawn storyboards, and other assorted goodies. It's a solid, competent piece that's fairly all-encompassing and proves superior to a more traditional one- or two-man audio-only commentary. Fans will find enough of value in here to give the movie a watch with this feature in tow. Creating the Apocalypse (1080p, 23:43) is a somewhat generic but effective making-of piece that sometimes plays as a bit superfluous after the picture-in-picture extra, but there's some good information here on the creation of various effects sequences, with emphasis on the ice cream man, the baby, the crazed grannie, and several additional stunts. The piece also looks at the importance of hand-drawn storyboarding and computer-aided previsualization to an effects-heavy picture. Humanity's Last Line of Defense (1080p, 11:32) is a pat-on-the-back piece examines the quality of the ensemble cast. Next is From Pixels to Picture (1080p, 10:57), a more in-depth look at Legion's special effects. Also included is BD-Live functionality; Sony's MovieIQ connectivity; and 1080p trailers for Chloe, Wild Things: Foursome, The Road, 2012, The Da Vinci Code, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. Disc one also features a PSP digital copy of Legion; it was unavailable for download at time of publication and will be re-visisted at a later date. Disc two features an iTunes digital copy of the film that was available for transfer to a second-generation iPod Touch. The presentation is strong for what it is, audibly satisfying with a clear and surprisingly punchy presentation across the board, while the video sports fine clarity and detailing with minimal blocking, at least compared to other iPod-compatible digital copies.
Legion Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
This may very well be a first for a major motion picture: Legion is at times halfway intense, invigorating, and fun, but it's also completely devoid of significance and proves downright goofy at the same time, and that's not to even mention the ridiculous "God as the bad guy" angle. The movie can't even get that right, as if God would need angels masquerading as demon-zombies to do His work for him (no fire and brimstone to get the job done in three seconds?), making an already passably lame movie just plain stupid. Legion earns a couple of halfhearted points for some decent direction and atmospherics and a few spurts of entertaining action, but it gets little else right. Sony's Blu-ray release of Legion, however, lives up to the studio's typically high quality technical output. The picture and sound qualities rate as exemplary, and while the supplements are few, the picture-in-picture track proves a worthwhile experience. Fans can buy with confidence, but Legion comes recommended strictly as a rental, if that; the movie is borderline terrible and there are other Blu-ray discs that deliver similarly impressive technical qualities while also offering a superior movie.
Legion: Other Editions
Legion Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Lightning Deal: Legion, Superbad, Angels & Demons Blu-ray $5 (Exp... - November 26, 2010
Amazon is kicking off Black Friday with a Blu-ray Lightning Deal. Starting 12.30 a.m. PST, and for a very limited time, you can get Legion, Superbad and Angels & Demons for only $5 each (80% off list price or more). This price is valid until 4 a.m. PST, or when ...
• Legion Blu-ray Announced - March 15, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced Legion for release on Blu-ray on May 11. This post-apocalyptic thriller, starring Paul Bettany as the Archangel Michael waging war against the armies of evil from a diner in the New Mexico desert, opened in theaters ...
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