The Bible is a pretty sick book, especially the ultra-nasty Book of Revelation. Crazy shit goes down in that chapter, and I've always wished somebody in Hollywood (other than Kirk Cameron) would take a faithful cinematic shot at the biblical apocalypse.
When I saw the previews for Legion, I thought maybe—just maybe—somebody was going to give us the end of times, full-bore-angry-Bible style. I'm talking rivers of blood, satanic dragons, horses with human heads and scorpion tails, the mark of the beast, violently antagonistic goats, the Antichrist ... all of the stuff your minister has been scaring you with for years (right before passing around the offering plate).
Legion stars Paul Bettany as Michael, who is having a bad day at work. God wants him to kill a baby, and that baby is the last chance for humanity. The movie doesn't have the balls to say the baby is "the Messiah," because that's the sort of psychobabble that Stephen Baldwin would spew, and producers don't want his fans anywhere near a cineplex. Those nutty assholes would start speaking in tongues every time somebody said "Messiah!" and that would result in all sorts of inner-theater turmoil and mockery.
Michael thinks humans are kind of neat, and he doesn't want the Earth party to end, so he lands here—Terminator-style—removes his wings and gets himself some guns and bazookas. He's tooling up for a big showdown with the King Badass of All Angels, Gabriel (Kevin Durand).
As it turns out, the special baby isn't being born in some big city somewhere, because that would've cost producers money. Instead, the battle for humankind will take place nearby: in a greasy-spoon Arizona diner owned by Dennis Quaid's crusty Bob Hanson. The killer angels—rather than flying to the diner, as angels normally would do, because they come equipped with wings—possess some humans and drive to the diner for some raw steak and to harass fellow patrons. A scene with a demonized old lady crawling around on the ceiling and taking a chunk out of some poor bastard's neck is actually the film's finest moment.
This is one of those movies where you wish you saw what was going on elsewhere. Are rampaging angels giving the pope noogies and calling him a dick? Are the four horsemen of the apocalypse blasting through Seattle, causing trouble in coffeehouses and taking in some sweet concerts? Alas, all we see are possessed humans surrounding a diner, a bunch of flies and Dennis Quaid yelling at his TV set.
Is Jesus seeing stuff like The Book of Eli and Legion on his big heavenly hi-def, and is this starting to piss him off? How come people haven't been able to make a decent biblical apocalypse film since The Rapture, nearly 20 years ago? Seriously, Jesus should have a powwow with his Pops, get a team of lawyers together, get his holy ass down here and slap some injunctions on the hacks screwing with his epic Earth death story. I know the Bible is public domain, but, seriously, this is Jesus, and the man must have some pull. He should've halted this production and replaced director Scott Stewart with Martin Scorsese. Scorsese did a bang up job on The Last Temptation of Christ. The J-Man even got to have him some hot sex with Barbara Hershey in that one.
The movie leaves plenty of opportunities for a sequel, so maybe we'll get the scorpion tail horses in Chapter 2. Or maybe, with a bigger budget, the locale can be upgraded from an isolated diner in Arizona to a McDonald's in an Albuquerque suburb. But, please: No crazed Christian actors in the next installment.
Well, teaming up modern-day Chuck Norris with Gary Busey would be kind of cool.