It’s no industry secret that Screen Gems is the arm of Sony that produces low cost but highly profitable product, most frequently in the horror genre. This often leads to dissatisfying artistic product, but sometimes fun entries in the Resident Evil series or off genre and shockingly great Stomp the Yard. I’m still cautiously optimistic lest I be too let down, but Legion succeeds in the arena of getting the job done, delivering on expectations and not falling short.
It’s post-apocalyptic but it’s less the survival genre and more just the fighting off outside forces genre. It still works. You’ve got a group of strangers in a diner, all with their “distinct” personality traits, and demonically possessed hordes on the outside. Some are clearly one-dimensional but some are fully formed. The performances help with some as you believe these veteran actors we know debating the validity of a religious apocalypse, and Tyrese can’t help but be smooth with his cigarettes, and he can say MF.
Part of what works is that the situation is crazy enough that they can get away with the usual motions. If some old lady blatantly insults a pregnant mom and swears at your wife, why wouldn’t you stand up to her? You wouldn’t expect her to be a demon from hell. But it’s fun for us because we already know she’s a demon from hell.
The action doesn’t have big studio money to work with but it uses what it’s got. Even the minor introductory sequence of archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) in action has a nice visual and some jumping gun action. The set pieces mix action and horror onslaught together, which is a blend that sets it apart from the usual low budget action fare.
They discuss a little bit of faith and myth, certainly enough for the premise of the movie. There’s not a lot of in fighting and betrayal. It’s more like sniping but not a lot of serious conflict.
It sometimes pads itself out with unnecessary introductions. By the time Michael makes it to the diner, I expect the people have been through enough heck to welcome a guy with heavy artillery. Going through the motions of flipping guns around doesn’t help the story at this point.
There are a few cool visuals we haven’t seen before, most of all the swarm of flies. Otherwise there’s some really cheesy makeup and really fake jumping away from explosions. Some things just look ridiculous, but you’ve got grown men in wings playing it straight. What can you do?