Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson
Peter Schink, Scott Stewart
When a group of strangers at a dusty roadside diner come under attack by demonic forces, their only chance for survival lies with an archangel named Michael, who informs a pregnant waitress that her unborn child is humanity's last hope.
$17,501,625 on 2476 screens.
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 100 min.
Release Date: 5/11/2010
• “Bringing Angels to Earth” Picture-in-Picture Feature
• “Creating the Apocalypse” Featurette
• “Humanity’s Last Line of Defense” Featurette
• “From Pixels to Pictures” Featurette
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Legion [Blu-Ray] (2010)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 24, 2022)
If nothing else, 2010’s Legion deserves credit as a film about an impending apocalypse that never involves Mayan prophecies, the hot topic of that period. Instead, this one goes Biblical – literally.
The Archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) comes to Los Angeles on a mission. After a quick confrontation with a powerful force, Michael heads for the remote desert town of Paradise Falls.
Why? To protect an eight-month-pregnant single mother-to-be named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki). We learn that her baby – which she plans to give up for adoption – holds the key to mankind’s ultimate salvation.
Michael needs to protect the unborn kid from a vengeful supernatural horde. In a world rapidly being consumed by overwhelming forces, Michael bands with a ragtag group at a Paradise Falls diner to battle the foes and keep Charlie – and her baby – alive.
Traditionally, January serves as a dumping ground for movies studios simply want to wipe off their slate. No one expects them to do much, as they’re often titles that don’t seem to have much going for them, so Hollywood plops them in the winter doldrums to be rid of them.
Legion appeared to fall into that category. It didn’t get a lot of fanfare, it earned mediocre – at best – reviews, and it didn’t do much at the box office. The whole think stunk of “January shovelware” to me.
Which means I must chalk up Legion as a pretty pleasant surprise, as it takes a somewhat stale concept and turns it into an enjoyable action flick. Despite the Biblical/apocalyptic trappings, Legion remains a Western at its heart.
Or at least a horror Western. With its “last stand” motif, Legion clearly reflects the Western theme, but its action emphasizes horror material straight out of the zombie genre.
It also throws in a more than healthy dollop of The Terminator. We find a protector who comes to save an unborn future savior in both.
Sure, the details differ, but the concept feels about the same. Heck, this film’s Charlie and Terminator’s Sarah are both waitresses to boot!
To some degree, I could call Legion a simple mishmash of inspirations and genre basics, and that accusation wouldn’t be far off-base, as the movie never does anything to open up or redefine any of its genres. It also drags at times due to too many long, futile attempts at character development and too much chitchat.
You can take the movie’s theological elements and toss them out the window. Perhaps the filmmakers intended to prompt discussion of various religious topics, but if so, they didn’t succeed.
The flick comes with such a muddled viewpoint that the theological aspects make little impact. The involvement of God gives the movie a grander “end of the world” scale than most, but those components don’t make the movie any deeper than the average action film.
I’m willing to forgive these flaws, however, simply because when it works, Legion works really well. Take the scene in which elderly Gladys Foster (Jeanette Miller) comes to the diner.
This sequence totally plays against expectations and becomes a legitimate hoot. Even though the film’s trailers give away the surprise, the scene still flies and gives us the kind of wild, creepy fun we want from a movie like this.
The Gladys sequence doesn’t stand alone, as Legion comes at us with plenty more action along the way. Some of these sequences prove to be truly memorable, and they allow us to make it through the more tedious parts of the film. Without a doubt, Legion has flaws, but it boasts enough entertainment value to compensate.
The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-
Legion appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though a little spotty at times, this usually turned into a compelling image.
For the most part, sharpness satisfied. I saw some soft spots – usually in darker shots – but most of the movie appeared fairly distinctive.
No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws remained absent.
In terms of palette, expect a lot of blue-green or amber. Within those stylistic constraints, the hues looked as intended.
Blacks were a little crushed but generally deep and dark, while shadows displayed more than adequate delineation. Some low-light shots seemed a bit thick but most offered positive clarity. This was a pretty solid image, if not a dazzling one.
I really liked the film’s stellar DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. As I expected, Legion offered a fairly dynamic soundfield that used the five channels in a satisfying manner.
The action sequences were the most impressive, of course, especially when hordes attacked the folks in the diner. Gunfire and general mayhem swarmed the spectrum and added a lot of punch to the proceedings.
Audio quality was satisfying as well. Effects played the most prominent role. All sounded clear and accurate, and these elements offered nice low-end response, as bass was consistently deep and firm.
Music presented good range and clarity as well, and speech was crisp and concise. I felt pleased with this nice soundtrack.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? This disc’s lossless audio added range and clarity to an already fine Dolby 5.1 mix.
Visuals demonstrated a considerable step up, as the Blu-ray looked substantially tighter and more dynamic than the problematic DVD. The Blu-ray blew away the subpar DVD.
Three featurettes show up here. Creating the Apocalypse goes for 23 minutes, 43 seconds and provides notes from special effects makeup creator Glenn Hetrick, director/co-writer Scott Stewart, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator John Medlen, puppeteer Larry Odien, production designer Jeff Higinbotham, and actors Dennis Quaid, Doug Jones, Willa Holland, Adriane Palicki, Jeanette Miller, Kate Walsh, Paul Bettany and Lucas Black.
The show looks at stunts and various effects related to the “Ice Cream Man” and Gladys characters, and an animatronic baby. The concentration on technical areas makes this an interesting program, as we get good thoughts related to the subject matter.
Humanity’s Last Line of Defense runs 11 minutes, 32 seconds and features Stewart, Walsh, Palicki, Quaid, Bettany, Black, Holland, and actors Charles Dutton and Tyrese Gibson.
This one examines cast, characters and performances. Programs of this sort tend to be high on praise and low on content, and that proves true here. “Defense” lacks much substance and doesn’t give us much of interest.
Finally, From Pixels to Pictures fills 10 minutes, 57 seconds with remarks from Stewart, on-set visual effects supervisor Gray Marshall, and visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer.
As expected, they dig into some of the movie’s visual effects. The piece acts as a good complement to "Apocalypse” and offers nice details about the film’s CG elements.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray, Bringing Angels to Earth offers a picture-in-picture feature. With this activated, we get behind the scenes footage, storyboards and comments from Stewart, Quaid, Gibson, Black, Miller, Holland, Palicki, Bettany, Dutton, and Walsh.
The remarks examine story/characters, cast and performances, visual design and influences, sets and locations, photography, makeup and effects, and related topics.
As far as picture-in-picture tracks go, “Earth” works fairly well. It repeats some info from other programs and comes with a few too many empty spaces, but nonetheless, this tuns into a largely informative reel.
A few ads launch the disc. We get promos for Runaways, Youth in Revolt, and Unthinkable.
Previews adds clips for Chloe, Wild Things: Foursome, 2012, The Road, The Da Vinci Code, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. No trailer for Legion appears here.
I went into Legion with low expectations but discovered a pleasant surprise. Though the movie sags at times, it still offers enough good thrills and action to make it enjoyable. The Blu-ray provides strong picture and audio as well as a decent set of supplements. This becomes a good release for a reasonably fun movie.
To rate this film visit the DVD review of LEGION