(MA) Stars Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black, Adrianne Palicki
An angel, Michael (Bettany), refuses to obey an order from God. He falls to Earth, cuts off his wings, steals an armoury of weapons and dashes into the Mojave Desert to protect the unborn child of a young, single woman (Palicki), who works in a middle-of-nowhere truck stop.
Welcome to The End of Days, Hollywood style, as the hordes of “Heaven” descend to wipe out humanity because God has, well, had enough of us.
While it’s fascinating that two apocalyptic action films have been released this year that focus prominently and unashamedly on biblical matters (the other is The Book Of Eli), lightweight, cheesy and C-grade Legion demonstrates how unsatisfying and misleading it can be when God’s Word is cherry-picked.
Just as The Book of Eli bit off more than it could chew, Legion’s impressive amount of “Christian” content has been appropriated for entertainment, not enlightenment.
Beginning his debut feature with Psalm 34:11 — “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord” — writer-director Scott Stewart proceeds to simplify a prophesied event into a gun-toting case of angry God vs confused humans.
God’s “extermination” of his people clearly turns the Almighty into Legion’s petulant bad guy. Michael is the goodie, professing to have “faith” in the few humans who “realise being lost is so close to being found”. Whatever that means.
Generic “religious” dialogue peppers Legion, with offhanded mentions of prayer, the Great Flood, and how this isn’t the loving God we thought we knew. Too true.
Without making clear reference to exactly why God sees fit to judge/punish humans (sin is never brought up), Legion also has no place for Jesus Christ — a glaring omission — presumably left out because The One Way To Salvation is inconvenient in a pulpy tale of divine aggression.
“The movie isn’t attempting to say anything about particular beliefs,” Stewart has admitted. “It is about the idea of faith, using things that are familiar to us from Judeo-Christian ideology as a way to tell the story.”
Pray your non-Christian friends do see it that way and don’t mistake this ambitious but empty action flick for a literal translation.
Ben McEachen is the Reviews Editor for Empire magazine and attends Christians in the Media Church Annandale.