Coming in the wake of Avatar‘s cultural tsunami and its controversial take on—among other things—earth and ancestor-based spirituality, Legion is decidedly old-fashioned in its monotheistic bible-thumping and fear-mongering. While director Scott Stewart (who penned the script with Peter Schink) obviously can’t compete with James Cameron’s mega-budget visuals, he does share with Cameron an affinity for cliché-addled storylines. Unbeknownst to eight months pregnant, cigarette smoking waitress Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), the baby she’s carrying is coming to save us all. The heavily tatted, gun-toting angel Michael (Paul Bettany), drops from the heavens to act as protector, with a cavalry of “demons” (they’ve got a secret) in fast pursuit, setting the stage for a bloody biblical showdown. This wan rebooting of the Christ tale has decent acting, serviceable if familiar visual effects, a few jump-in-your-seat moments, and the always crowd-pleasing gimmick of a senior citizen cussing up a storm. But the down time between action scenes is deadly dull and the film’s hoary cinematic shorthand (i.e., a young Black man enters the film to the sound of hip-hop and fights with his baby mama) is more terrifying than anything else served up.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 19, 2010