Ban Phaeo My synopsis: It’s porn for the religious right.
My SO’s: Guns, religion, and the black people die.
I guess this is when I should throw in a spoiler alert warning, because I will talk about plot points and give away most, if not all, of the movie. Why? In hopes I can save at least one person from wasting their time and money on this disaster.
Don’t get me wrong; it started off well enough. The opening monologue ended with a curse word and set you up well for the story. Michael falls, cuts off his wings, sews himself up, gets armed, and sets off on his mission. The beginning was spot on.
And the acting of the cast’s heavy hitters (Paul Bettany as Michael, Dennis Quaid, and Charles S. Dutton) did give moments where I hoped I would walk out of the theatre happy. Dennis Quaid never takes himself too seriously, unless the material calls for it, and never so over the top I don’t believe him. Charles S. Dutton is obviously the conscience and a religious center of the characters. But then again, being as he’s an older black man, this was an easy and rather cliche way to fit him. Still he made it work well. Unfortunately, even this trio of men couldn’t save this movie for me.
Most of the action takes place in and around a diner in the middle of the desert which Dennis Quaid owns. Charlie, the pregnant latter day Mary, is a waitress. Jeep, the new age Joseph, is Dennis Quaid’s son and mechanic for the small auto shop in back. Charles S. Dutton is, what else, the cook. We see a pair of dog tags, indicating he was in the military, but no other information about this part of his past is revealed. Tyrese needs to find a phone. Kate Walsh, Jon Tenney, and Willa Holland are a family stuck because their BMW breaks down. So you have these people in this one place with quite a shock to come.
I can tell you the exact point when the movie turned for me: when Charlie talks about going to the abortion clinic. There are so many ways they could have played this, and I must say the monologue probably lacked because the writers where both men. But it also lacked because, I believe, they wrote this movie to fulfill an agenda and forgot they also needed to entertain, and not piss off, the audience. Charlie describes to Jeep how she felt sitting in the waiting room: like falling into an abyss, like she was dying, how it seemed like it was certain this baby had to be born, like she didn’t have a choice.
It was that last line that put me over the edge. I get they wanted her to not care about the kid, as she then talks about hating the baby. I get they wanted her to be more of a Mary Magdalene than pure and innocent. But you don’t use that term without knowing exactly how people are going to take it, especially if you are the type of person who believes there shouldn’t be a choice. I was pissed; some deaths soon after eased my anger a little, but if I were in a crappier mood I might have walked out.
Another thing I could not abide, much like in other movies, was the inconsistencies. Micheal specifically cites God’s frustration over man warring over bits of rock and killing each other as the reason for his loss of love for his creation. Yet, it takes Micheal “killing” all these people possessed by angels to save the hope of man.
Also, at the end of the movie, the happy couple with their baby, because of course they are the only ones we meet, save Micheal and Gabriel, to survive, drive off in fresh clothes and a car. As the camera pans back, you see in the back of the vehicle a rather large cache of guns. Hello! Isn’t that a repeat of the problem: violence gets God mad. If anything, the movie should have ended with them farming a small plot of land, smiling and waving to their neighbors, or Jeep seeking out the “prophets” while Charlie is safe and protected.
Speaking of the prophets: way to just throw something out there, not explain it, and then think we are just gonna go with it. Charlie and Jeep are suppose to go to find some guys, presumably, and learn to “follow the signs”. I get how they may have thought this was okay to toss in because they hint about Jeep’s dreams. However, this piece of info is yelled to Jeep by Michael as he prepares to fight Gabriel. Literally it’s two lines in the middle of lots of action, with little to no follow up on it. And Jeep, though he is suppose to be having dreams, doesn’t even recognize Michael, when we are suppose to believe he saw Michael’s fall to earth in a dream. Talk about suspension of disbelief. It’s nice that Jeep gets Michael’s tattoos but the lack of any further explanation was just plain laziness on the part of the writers.
Okay, I will say I liked the small twist in the end, when Micheal descends from heaven to save Jeep from Gabriel killing him and the child. Gabriel had previously killed Michael the man. He was now Michael the angel again. I totally got that; Michael showed mercy where Gabriel did not and that is what God needed: someone to believe and hope when he could not. This plot twist, though a little cheesy, I can go with.
What I didn’t get was why Michael slashed Gabriel in the mid section with his heavenly sword, he bled, but did not die. Gabriel asked Michael to kill him, Michael refuses, and Gabriel says he would not be so merciful. And this is when we get the line from Michael about why God choose to restore him: because he showed mercy.
But then Gabriel just flies off. Why not make him a human? That seemed like the obvious point to be made in the moment: Gabriel must learn mercy and regain God’s love. Instead it’s just, “Hey, you didn’t kill the baby yet, so just leave.” Um, yeah, are we to believe he would just go home and relax, now that God saved Jeep and the others. Is he still gonna wanna kill the kid? Come on people, some type of explanation would be helpful here.
Now I, being a black woman, must talk about how I was pissed that both the black folks died. Charles S. Dutton and Tyrese have this nice heart-to-heart on the roof of the diner and in my mind I know one of them will die. I can see it coming; older black man passes on wisdom to the younger and either the older one will sacrifice his life for the younger or vice versa. Wouldn’t you know it, both of them die trying to save a white person. Yes, I was pissed about that. Wouldn’t you be? It is so cliche, so out of nowhere, so annoying.
I think this is also when I should voice my anger at the fact that both the Mary and Joseph were white. Come on! You couldn’t have made one of them African American, Latino, or Asian. For that matter, the cast couldn’t feature anyone who was Latino, Asian, or at least Native American? Just because you have two blacks guys in it doesn’t make it realistic. Laziness, yet again.
What to talk about next? Well, there is part where a young kid goes at Charlie with a knife and I instantly got a flashback of Chuckie. Or there is the part where flies completely surround a car, causing them to turn back for the diner, but then no other plague is used in the movie. Or there is the part where the group gets a radio message saying militias have formed and are holding off the invaders and everyone wants to run to join them. Yup, you got that right. The movie advocated militias. In fact, that is where Jeep and Charlie run to in hopes of protection at the end of the movie, and we are to assume that’s where they got their new clothes and car.
After all this angst, I feel I should mention there were some good parts to this movie. The first possessed person was an old lady with a fowl mouth that took everyone by surprise. Michael & Gabriel have a somewhat interesting back and forth on the merits of following God’s decree. And the daughter of the stranded family was slightly less than one dimensional: she deals with her mother’s breakdown after her father dies on an upside down cross, tries to save Tyrese, helps to deliver the baby, and sacrifices herself so Jeep and Charlie can get away from Gabriel.
Oh my God, delivering the baby! Okay, this must have been the fastest contractions to push time frame ever. Charlie goes into the labor and seemingly delivers the baby in like five minutes. Horns are blasting and you know something is coming, so Michael gets her to push when she shouldn’t and the baby is delivered. Then, of all things, she is able to walk AND climb a mountain. This movie was written by men who obviously didn’t bother to do any research beyond jacking off to the Bible.
Oh, and the sudden freezing of the possessed folks was yet again weird. Gabriel busts in and starts barreling through the diner, so Michael gets Jeep, Charlie, and the daughter to run out the back. When they do, everyone outside is just frozen. Jeep leads with a gun, but they basically form a line to the police car Michael drove in to the diner. As the group gets to the car, there is this kid with a bag on his head, swinging a stick that he hits on the hood. No, I have NO IDEA what this was for. None what so ever.
When I see a movie like this, I get offended. Not just because of the obvious proselytizing, but because of the lack of quality. Plot points were thrown out willy nilly. There were obvious contradictions from message to action. And certain things just were not possible, I don’t care how much I’m suppose to suspend my disbelief. It is movies like this that piss me off, but also tell me my goals are quite attainable. Because if a piece of crap movie like this can get made, I know my ideas are solid gold shit.
There were so many things I could have spent the past hour writing about: the controversial SCOTUS decision, the State of the Union, Evan Bayh. But no, Legion pissed me off that much.
Take my advice: SAVE YOUR MONEY!
Categorised as: Rant
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