Legion (2010)

Rating: C

Dir: Scott Stewart
Star: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Adrianne Palicki, Dennis Quaid

I’m a fan of religious apocalypse films, even though I’m not in the slightest religious. This one starts off by pushing all the right buttons, with Archangel Michael (Bettany), switching sides and coming back to earth. He’s here to defend humanity from the wrath of God, who has clearly had enough of humanity and its flaws; I guess that whole “made in his image” thing was a bit of a red-herring. Anyway, it’s not all humanity that needs to be saved; that’d be a bit much for one angel to handle. Just the most crucial portion of it: an unborn child belonging to diner waitress Charlie (Palicki), who is deemed to be humanity’s saviour.

It’s up to the diner’s owner (Quaid) and his son, Jeep (Black), to come to terms with the situation, then help Michael fend off the hordes of possessed creatures who descend on the diner. And that’s just the start, for when they fail to get the job done, God sends in his heavy-hitter, Archangel Gabriel to finish things off. But is Michael giving God what he needs, rather than what he wants? The main problem here is the way God is turned into an evil overlord, who dispatches minions to do a job he could easily manage himself: if God really wanted Charlie’s foetus dead, an omnipotent being could do it with a snap of his fingers. On the other hand, this is a kid that can apparently survive an unsecured car-crash at 120 mph, so I suppose the child may be immortal to begin with.

So, this is palpable nonsense, yet it just about skates by as entertainment, thanks largely to the presence of Bettany, who does a much better job of selling the premise – which is, basically, a theological version of The Terminator – than you’d expect. However, the rest of the cast are flat and forgettable, and despite some cool moments, like boils that spew acidic pus, or Gabriel’s mace [we wondered whether it takes batteries or is rechargeable], this runs out of steam before the climax, abandoning the religious overtones in favour of implausible action.