Legion is a strange beast. There is, perhaps, a reason why we’ve never seen angels fighting before. And that reason is this: it’s cock. Absolute cock. And because it borrows from The Terminator for its opening scene and Die Hard 4 for its climax, Legion is a bit of a mess – and an uncreative mess, at that.
Things start off well enough. It has an intriguing and actually quite chilling opening sequence. We find ourselves at a rest stop somewhere in the desert – think Moto or Welcome Break, only sandier. And in fairness to the filmmakers, this whole section is quite good. The principle cast are fairly interesting and their respective backstories are set up nicely. The drama steps up a gear when an old lady turns up, tells the pregnant waitress that her fatherless baby is going to burn, and then calls one of the other rest stop patrons a c***. It’s not at all pleasant. And then suddenly she’s attacking everyone and acting all demonic. Things looked promising. But this sweary old lady bit hinted enticingly at a brilliant horror film which, I’m afraid, never subsequently appeared. I presumed this old bird was a demon, but she turned out to be an angel. And lo, the whole premise of angels doing horrible things was revealed. And while it may be theologically accurate in Old Testament terms, the idea of angels glibly ripping mankind to shreds didn’t sit right with me at all.
As always, I won’t go down the road of plot spoilers. There isn’t much of one to spoil, to be honest. Suffice to say, there’s a pregnant woman, and while God has decided to utterly wipe out mankind in the most bloody and horrific way imaginable, one angel has decided that if this woman’s baby can be delivered, it’ll save mankind. Not sure why exactly. Maybe it’s the new Jesus. So, you have one angel fighting to protect the child, and a bunch of others determined to kill it. A large number of guns help spread that plot as thinly as possible over its 90 minutes, but the momentum fades after about the first third of that. There’s an initial siege (borrowing heavily from Assault on Precinct 13) which is all right, but once that’s over with, it’s downhill all the way to the sequel-inviting ending.
On the face of it, it’s a pretty dreadful premise right from the offset. But it’s executed badly, and borrows so heavily from other films it quickly becomes a matter of spotting the rip. And – seriously, the angel fights are just awful. All spinning around and hitting people with wings. Terrible. Added to which,we’re force-fed a huge number of incredibly unsubtle Biblical references, which initially seemed tongue-in-cheek but which later seemed more transparently patronising. And nothing annoys me more in a film than being spoken down to. So, in summary, it’s a good film to watch on TV – but nothing more – and that’s only working on the basis that you catch it from the start and just need something to fill half an hour of your evening.