There are certain actors that I love simply because they are terrible and make me laugh unintentionally. Channing Tatum and Tyrese Gibson top this list, with Cam Gigandet not too far behind (I actually don’t think Cam’s all that bad an actor, I just think he has “Vin Diesel syndrome” and worry that if he doesn’t play something OTHER than the “bad ass” in his next movie, he will forever and always be “Volchok” in everything he does.) However I’m starting to realize that watching movies with these unintentionally hilarious men is best done in a livingroom with my best friend so we can laugh and shout and be obnoxious. Because paying good money to sit in a theatre and watch the dreck they produce is really just a very bad idea. You’d think I would have learned my lesson after being suckered by Fighting (click here to watch a clip. Literally, one of the WORST movies I have EVER seen. And what is with Terrence Howard’s voice?!) but no, I still chose to voluntarily subject myself – and my wallet – to Legion in theatres.
Oh, in case anyone was wondering, it is exactly as bad as you thought it would be. Maybe even a little worse.
You’d think an action thriller about God sending his angels down to wipe out humanity and one lone angel – played with remarkable gusto by Paul Bettany – choosing to defy God’s will to defend a young, unwed pregnant waitress and all the people with her in the diner she works at in the middle of nowhere would be, if nothing else, kind of fun. Of course, you’d also think that maybe the audience would eventually find out exactly why this unwed mother and her unborn child are worth defending. Not so much. But hey, at least you get to see a bunch of people possessed by angels acting like zombies from the Evil Dead movies! Just don’t ask why angels turn people into demons, it’ll make your head hurt.
Legion’s biggest problem was it couldn’t decide what to focus on: the story or the action. Because clearly, trying to devote time to both wasn’t going to work. So you’d get hints of a back story about the waitress (played by the lovely Adrianne Palicki of “Friday Night Lights”) and the father/son diner owners she’s staying with, then some crazy action scenes. Then maybe a little insight into Tyrese’s lost loner character (He acted out for his father’s attention! He carries a gun around to act tough but never uses it! Now he just wants to be a good dad!) but nothing that has any real significance before more creepy angel/demons show up to wreak havoc. And then of course there’s the whole question as to why this is happening at all. Ok, God has given up on humanity, decides to wipe them all out but with angels instead of a flood this time, but what is so special about this pregnant waitress? Apparently killing her and her child is priority one in the apocalypse playbook, but the angels are a little fuzzy on the “why.” Instead of clarifying, they’d much rather gather around outside a diner menacingly while our ragtag survivors do a lot of shooting and blowing things up. And really, who doesn’t love a good, unnecessary explosion? Especially if it involves inexplicable boils on a person exploding into acidic puss?
I will say that Paul Bettany was not about to phone this performance in. He sells the hell out of his fallen angel, Michael, so much so that when he speaks, you sometimes forget that you’re watching a movie that he is way too good to be in. Adrianne Palicki has experience playing the “slutty southern belle with a sob story” and she does it well. As for my favourite unintentionally funny second banana, Tyrese, I was a little disappointed they didn’t give him more ridiculous dialogue. Although, getting to him try and share a heartfelt confession about his childhood by beginning with, “You know, when I was a shorty…” was probably the highlight for me. That, or realizing that the actor who played “Jeep,” the diner owner’s son and not-so-secret admirer of pregnant waitress Charlie, was Lucas Black from The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift. I like to imagine that he and Tyrese hung out between takes talking about their contributions to the franchise that keeps Vin Diesel’s career afloat.
Lesson learned: if you want a good laugh at a terrible movie, stick with Tyrese. He won’t steer you wrong. Just don’t pay $12 to see it in a quiet theatre, you’ll regret it. There’s just no enjoyment in a Tyrese film if you can’t holler at him on-screen. All in all I’d give it a 2 out of 5, only because Paul Bettany was pretty damn engrossing.
“Boy, I got vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.” – Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid