Thursday, August 20, 2015

Legion

3/4

Starring: Paul Bettany, Adrianne Palicki, Lucas Black, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson

Rated R for Strong Bloody Violence, and Language

I love a good action movie.  As long as it's violent and bloody enough, and the action scenes are constructed with an acceptable level of skill, I'll probably like it (note: something like "Speed" or "The Rock" is the good exception...if those were my standards, I'd probably do best to find another hobby).  "Legion" fits that descriptor.  It's light on plot, and it's a stretch calling any of the characters one-dimensional, but that's because there isn't time for any of that.  It's essentially action, action, and more action.

The film starts out like either an art film or a noir movie.  You choose.  A group of people meet at a diner in the middle of nowhere.  Owner/cook Bob (Quaid) and his mechanic son Jeep (Black) run the place for the few people who drift in and out.  Also there is the heavily pregnant Charlie (Palicki), who is living there until she figures out what she wants to do with herself.  The dynamic changes when a little old lady comes in and starts acting like a demon (she even climbs on the ceiling).  That's when Michael (Bettany) shows up.  Apparently, God got tired of the pettiness of humans, and decided to kill them off.  It turns out that Charlie's little dividend is mankind's salvation, and Michael is there to protect it.  Of course that begs the question why God would destroy humanity if he knew that the bringer of peace was on the way, but this isn't a movie where we're supposed to care about stuff like that.

That's essentially it: a group of people stuck in one place while evil people/demons/whatever try to get in and kill them.  It's a tried and true formula, and director Scott Stewart, making his directorial debut, doesn't stray far from it.  Unfortunately, what is there is acceptable (although not spectacular), but I wished for more.  More action, more explosions, more gore, what have you.

The acting is surprisingly effective.  Few people would think of Paul Bettany for this role.  While he's certainly angelic-looking, the actor is too soft-spoken to think of him as an action hero (then again, his break-out role was playing a vicious gangster in "Gangster No. 1").  Still, he works as the gun-toting badass.  Adrianne Palicki is lovely as Charlie; she's sympathetic from moment one.  Lucas Black is a little too low-key as Jeep, the boy who loves her even though she may not reciprocate his feelings.  And few actors are as reliable as Dennis Quaid.

"Legion" is a violent and bloody adrenaline cocktail that could have used a bit more of all three.  It's not anything special, but for what it is, it's not a disappointment.

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