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Paul Bettany in Legion

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

PAUL Bettany’s apocalyptic action thriller Legion is – like the recent From Paris With Love – a film to be filed under so bad it’s actually kind of fun!

A religious action thriller of epically stupid proportions, it keeps you glued if only to see how outrageous things can become.

But crucially, it also takes itself far too seriously, undermining its ability to be treated as a pure guilty pleasure.

Bettany stars as the Archangel Michael who decides to turn rogue after God, having tired of humanity, decides to wipe out mankind.

The battle for Earth’s salvation subsequently takes place at an isolated diner in the middle of the Mojave Desert, where the key to who wins rests with the fate of the unborn child of an unmarried waitress (Adrianne Palicki).

Helping Michael fight the good fight, meanwhile, are a bunch of misfits, including Dennis Quaid’s diner owner, his son (Lucas Black) and a trigger-happy drifter (Tyrese Gibson).

Former effects supervisor turned helmer Scott Stewart describes his film as “a character driven action thriller with supernatural themes”. It’s not designed to be too provocative in religious terms either.

And, for the most part, there’s a lot of fun to be had in seeing how events unfold, particularly as God’s apocalypse delivering army includes a swarm of flies, a crazed roof-crawling granny and, eventually, the Archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) – many of whom bring plenty of laughter.

As you’d expect, there are also some nice effects and the odd ‘surprise’ death, which heightens the interest value.

But sadly, the film’s characters take themselves a little too seriously, while the innumerable do or die speeches come at the expense of the humour that would have made Legion a better all-round experience.

As things stand, it’s ludicrous and occasionally fun… but clearly aspiring to be something more serious in the process, which marks it down.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 100mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: August 9, 2010