“Legion” is the amiable drunk at the party. You’ve heard all his jokes before but he puts enough of a spin on them, you don’t mind listening for a while.
He get mawkishly sentimental at times and just when you think he’s in danger of taking himself too seriously, he puts a lamp shade on his head and insists on dancing the hokey pokey with the hostess. At the end of a couple of hours, he invites everyone to his place next Saturday and you agree to show up, but you know that his act, if experienced a second time, will be agonizing.
Once is pleasant enough, but twice is just masochism.
The twice-told jokes are plot elements that have been borrowed from other and frequently better genre films. You’ll see what I mean.
Most of the action takes place in a blue-plate diner on the edge of the Mojave Desert, one of those abandon-all-hope places in which “The Twilight Zone” used to set many of its stories. An upper-middle-class family is stuck there due to a car breakdown; the cute waitress, Charlie (Adrianne Palicki, TV’s “Friday Night Lights”), is eight-months pregnant; owner Bob (Dennis Quaid, “Pandorum”) lives a life of noisy desperation; his son, Jeep (Lucas Black, “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”), is hopelessly in love with Charlie, even though the baby isn’t his; and cook Percy (Charles S. Dutton, “Fame”) puts all his faith in the lord and might as well have “This poor bastard’s dead” tattooed on his forehead.
Then Kyle (Tyrese Gibson, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”), a big-city wannabe gangsta, shows up, soon followed by the mysterious Michael (Paul Bettany, “The Young Victoria”). We know Michael is an angel because we saw him cut off his own wings and sew up the wounds.
Soon, other weird people begin wandering in from the desert. The diner, Paradise Falls, has never had so many customers, even if they are a mite on the zombie side. Note the Biblical hoo-ha in the diner’s name. Trust me, this screenplay is not adapted from Milton’s “Paradise Lost.”
Long story short: God has lost faith in humanity and has sent an army of angels to wipe us out, but Michael believes there is still some good to be found in mankind and is here to help us. The angels take possession of human bodies and turn into “Night of the Living Dead” clones. This is God’s idea of an apocalypse. It’s a lot less economical than sending another flood, but a promise is a promise.
This silliness might offend anyone who takes angels and other artifacts of religious mythology seriously and doesn’t want to see archangels Michael and Gabriel turned into opponents in “WWE SmackDown.” Mostly it’s just mildly diverting junk.
Directed by featuring-debuting Scott Stewart, it’ll be on cable soon, and then on Syfy forever.
You can wait. “Doug Bentin