Angels in the Outhouse


Legion, directed by Scott Charles Stewart, written by Scott Charles Stewart and Peter Schinck, starring Paul Bettany, Kate Walsh, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black, Kevin Durand, Jon Tenney and Tyrese Gibson (2010): A pretty dire supernatural action movie in which a host of good actors can’t overcome a derivative and often nonsensical script. A scene that pretty much sums up the entire film comes early, as a person at a diner is served a rare steak. Except the steak she’s served looks raw, not rare, and is served a la carte in a manner pretty much foreign to any diner I’ve ever been in. So much for verisimilitude.

A young waitress at a desert diner way off the main drag is about to have a baby out of wedlock. But that baby is the Second Coming! But God doesn’t like humanity any more, so he dispatches a bunch of angels to kill the baby. Luckily, archangel Michael (Bettany) disagrees with God’s plan and comes to Earth to save the baby. Hilarity ensues. The attacking angels possess “weak-minded” humans and make them act like angry zombies. Or something.

Early on, the possessed gain dynamic limb-altering and wall-crawling abilities, but the visual effects budget seems to run dry about 30 minutes in, and the rest of the possessed just stand around a lot getting shot. The possessed, hundreds of which surround the diner in which the “last stand” is made, have even worse tactical skills than Imperial Stormtroopers — no one thinks to just drive a car through the walls of the diner. Or a dozen cars. The ineptness of the angelic cohort leads me to believe that God laid off all these incompetent angels, and the whole ‘end of the world’ thing is just a smoke screen for some sort of job action.

The actors work really hard to sell their mostly crappy lines — this is a really top-notch cast to be in such a bottom-notch movie, and Bettany and the others at least make the whole thing bearable. Some critics note how derivative the film is of the first Terminator movie. To be fair, the first Terminator movie is derivative of the story of the Annunciation, though this film also lifts the final scene of The Terminator pretty much verbatim. Not recommended.

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