|Directed by||Scott Stewart|
|Produced by||David Lancaster
|Written by||Peter Schink
Charles S. Dutton
|Music by||John Frizzell|
|Editing by||Steven Kemper|
|Distributed by||Screen Gems|
|Release date(s)||January 22, 2010|
|Running time||100 minutes|
Legion is a 2010 American apocalyptic-thriller film, directed by Scott Stewart, written by Peter Schink and rewritten by Stewart. The film features an ensemble cast that includes Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Adrianne Palicki and Dennis Quaid.
The Archangel Michael (Bettany) falls to Earth in Los Angeles, cuts off his wings, and raids a police arsenal for a cache of automatic weapons. Confronted by two LAPD officers, one becomes possessed and kills the other. Michael kills the possessed cop and steals his car.
Most of the remainder of the story takes place in a small roadside diner and garage in the middle of the New Mexico desert. Its semi-permanent residents are the diner's owner, Bob Hanson (Quaid), his son Jeep (Black), the short-order cook Percy (Charles S. Dutton) and the waitress, Charlie (Palicki). Charlie is pregnant with an absentee father's child, and Jeep has always loved her, though he is afraid to say so. Also present are a single father on his way to L.A., Kyle (Tyrese Gibson), and an urban married couple, Howard and Sandra Anderson (Jon Tenney and Kate Walsh), and their rebellious teenage daughter, Audrey (Willa Holland), who have been temporarily stranded at the diner after their car has broken down.
Soon after, an old woman arrives and tells Charlie that her baby is going to burn. Enraged, Charlie leaves before the old woman taunts Howard and Sandra, thus setting Howard off into a rage but the old woman bites him in the neck. She climbs up the ceiling and knocks out Bob, though Kyle shoots her with his pistol that he was hiding. Later, they try to hurry Howard away via car though are forced to go back after passing through a fly swarm. When they return later Michael arrives.
God has lost faith in humankind so he sends down his angels to kill all of mankind. First an ice cream van arrives, with the driver being possessed. Then later a large convoy of cars with possessed passengers. They fight them all off though one of them drags Howard away. Later, Sandra finds Howard Crucified upside down with many fatal boils, Sandra tries to save him but his boils pop resulting in his death, and the death of Percy, who grabs Sandra to save her. Afterwords, the Archangel Gabriel is sent down by God to kill the inhabitants of the diner, when the other angels fail, as Charlie's baby is deemed to be the saviour of mankind. When Gabriel reaches the diner, Michael gives Jeep the keys to the police cruiser he arrived in, urging them to take it to escape. Gabriel and Michael fight, and Gabriel wins, stabbing Michael through the chest with his mace.
Then he sees the dying Bob, who lights a flame to the diner's gas main, blowing up the diner and destroying the remaining possessed. However, Gabriel survives, and swoops down on the fleeing car. As he tries to reach Charlie, Jeep slams on the brakes, sending the car into a crash that pitches Gabriel out. Gabriel finally corners Jeep, Charlie and her baby in the mountains. He is about to kill them, when Michael appears, fully angelic again. His refusal to give up on mankind, including sacrificing his own life, has convinced God to change His mind and give humanity another chance. At this point, a surprised Gabriel is wounded when Micheal runs him through with a blade. Gabriel flies off, leaving Micheal and Jeep alone. After a brief conversation, Micheal flies off, leaving Jeep to collect Audrey and the baby and move on.
The film begins and ends with the same monologue by Charlie: telling how her mother's view of God changed while Charlie was a child, from a loving and merciful God to a stern and unforgiving one. When the young Charlie asked why He had changed, her mother said, "I don't know. Maybe He was just tired of all the bullshit."
Legion was released on January 22, 2010 in 2,476 theaters and took in $6,686,233—$2,700 per theater its opening day. On its opening weekend it grossed $17,501,625—$7,069 per theater and placed No. 2, only behind Avatar. It placed No. 6 on its second weekend, and grossed an estimated $6,800,000—$2,746 per theater, a 61.1% drop from the previous weekend. The film has come to gross $50,292,857 worldwide.
The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 17% of 60 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 3.7 out of 10. Among Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critics", which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 25%, based on a sample of 8 reviews. The site's general consensus is that "Despite a solid cast and intermittent thrills, Legion suffers from a curiously languid pace, confused plot, an excess of dialogue." Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 0–100 reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 33 based on 13 reviews.
Nomad of Dread Central gave the film a one and a half out of five, saying, "The finished product is shockingly bad. If countless angles of people firing guns with spent shells clinking to the ground is all your heart yearns for, then Legion may be your ideal Saturday night. Hoping for anything more is an exercise in futility. Spare yourself the agony." Brad Miska of Bloody Disgusting.com gave it 1 out of 5 skulls, calling it "a prude film with some seriously wasted potential. It’s boring, slow-paced and takes itself way too goddamn seriously." Variety film critic Joe Leydon gave the film a mixed analysis. Lyedon claimed "Even when the blood-and-thunder hokiness of the over-the-top plot tilts perilously close to absurdity, the admirably straight-faced performances by well-cast lead players provide just enough counterbalance to sustain aud curiosity and sympathy." Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter also gave the film a mixed review stating "As the above description demonstrates, the goings-on in Legion are seriously silly (not to mention more than a little derivative of endless movies, especially the Terminator series), but director Scott Stewart has provided enough stylish finesse to make the proceedings a real hoot." Some critics and groups have also expressed the view that Legion is "blasphemous" and is actually sending an "anti-Christian" message against them.