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At the Movies: LEGION: One Dangerous Angel

1/5 Stars Rating

It is understandable to question those in power, dissecting the reasoning behind certain motives. Those in authority positions eventually run into questioning parties that alter their objectives. However, more often than not these proceedings occur after an injustice has taken place.

Such is the case with many Hollywood flicks including the new apocalyptic horror-action movie, Legion, in which a fallen angel must protect an unborn child from the wrath of heavenly destruction. The fallen angel, Michael (Paul Bettany), questions the choice of God to basically exterminate all life and start from scratch. He believes this to be a hasty decision, choosing to put faith in the tarnished humanity. But here’s the deal; to do that he must cut ties with his devote obligations, symbolically represented in the shedding of his angelic wings and armoring up with as many semi-automatic firearms as humanly possible.

At the same time, a group of townies and lost travelers at a deserted restaurant aptly named Paradise Falls, bear for the worse as life goes from desperate to downright bizarre in a matter of one afternoon. The group includes Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), young mother-of-savior-to-be, Bob (Dennis Quaid) the sour restaurant owner, Jeep (Lucas Black) Bob’s optimistic son, and a collection of lost or stranded characters. After dealing with a deranged flesh-eating elderly woman, the group must trust in Michael’s statement that this is the termination of mankind at the hands of their creator. At this point the film becomes a collection of Night of the Living Dead episodes with the survivors fighting off zombie-like humans and swarms of poisonous insects. Eventually, Michael must face the head angel, Gabriel (Kevin Durand), in a last stand to protect the survival of humans.    

What could be more interesting than a stubborn, gun-toting Angel Army dropout killing off thousands of bloodthirsty minions? According to the Hollywood executives that greenlit the film, not much. The outfit behind this project, especially writer/director Scott Stewart, should have taken some insight from the script’s premise and question their motives in actually producing this ridiculously absurd cliché movie. There definitely is a strategy to making great action and horror movies alike, even if there is no real in-depth story. Yet it seems that Stewart has abandoned any real creation of his own, slapping together a badly borrowed and hodgepodge film.

There are killer children, virus-infested humans and chain-cutting angel weapons to keep the action pulsating throughout the film. Yet, the action is still stale and edited horribly, making the scenes not only confusing, but also boring. If the filmmakers would have taken a little time to fine tune and question their processing, Legion could have been a new and exciting installment in the action/horror genre.

It’s one thing to be campy and ridiculous at your own expense; however, Legion is trying to be as serious as possible and failing miserably. Even with all the injustices, lead Bettany plays well as the solemn Michael and the one good thing to come out of this movie.  

The city turned out to remember Mayor Ken Genser on Sunday, January 24, and the memorial was almost as remarkable as the man being remembered. The mark that Genser left on the community was clearly reflected in the recollections and the sentiments that he inspired that day.

Patricia Hoffman, who described herself as “a friend, colleague, collaborator, and admirer” of Genser, welcomed the hundreds of people who came to Samohi’s Barnum Hall to remember “a family member, a co-worker, an ally, adversary, councilmember, and mayor.”

From vocalist David Winston Barge’s and pianist George Emerson’s performance of “On a Clear Day” as the ceremony opened to “There Will Never Be Another You” as it closed, Ken Genser was remembered. And his memory stirred thoughts, from Fr. Mike Gutierrez, former pastor of St. Anne’s Catholic Church and Shrine, who made the invocation (“On this clear day, we’re here to celebrate his life”) to Rev. Janet McKeithen, pastor of the Church in Ocean Park, who gave the benediction (“When people get to know each other, traditional barriers come down”).

In between, the gathering heard from a diverse group of people who had known Ken Genser. Mara Beck, his niece, recalled that he “loved two things in this world above all else: the City of Santa Monica and my grandmother.” Bruce Shragg, a friend since childhood, remembered that Genser “was chronically sleep-deprived; he seemed to treat sleep as a nuisance; he had many passions, any of which could keep him up all night,” but Shragg added that “the City of Santa Monica was his number one passion.”

That love of the city was a recurring theme, as his friend Kelly Olsen reported that Genser’s license plate frame read, I’d rather be home in Santa Monica, Another theme was the mischievous sparkle in his eye, as was his love for lunching at Izzy’s.

Rabbi Jeff Marx of the Santa Monica Synagogue recalled that the last time he “talked to Ken was at a dreidel-spinning event on the Promenade,” and said that Genser “had a small frame and an enormous heart.” Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson of St. Monica’s Catholic Church said that he had “the great privilege of spending Saturday morning, the day that Ken died” in his hospital room, and “that room was filled with great peace.”

Kelly Olsen called Genser “the most dedicated, brightest, and most effective councilmember and mayor that this City has ever had and probably ever will have.” He then surprised many in the hall by announcing, “It was his wish that Patricia [Hoffman] be on the City Council” as his replacement.

Geraldine Moyle called Genser “a self-nurturing activist,” “somebody with purposeful mischief on his mind at all times,” and recalled “his wicked sense of humor” and “his impish sense of fun.”

City Councilmember Richard Bloom remembered his “extraordinary analytical mind, an outrageous sense of humor, and a childlike mischievousness.” Former City Manager Lamont Ewell, “speaking on behalf of the City workforce,” called Genser “truly an institution all to himself,” “an incredibly brilliant man,” and “a true mensch.” Ewell imagined Mayor Ken Genser and Mayor Herb Katz “sitting together smiling as they engage in an unfinished and probably never-ending debate over the correct height” for buildings in Santa Monica.


Mirror Film Critic

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