Legion (Blu-ray) (2010)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 27-Oct-2010

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Audio-Visual Commentary-Bringing Angels to Earth (Picture in Picture)
Featurette-Making Of-Creating the Apocalypse
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Humanity's Last Line of Defense
Featurette-Making Of-From Pixels to Picture
Featurette-Making Of-Designing Paradise Falls
Featurette-Making Of-Designed For Action: Blueprint of a Scene
Trailer-x 6 for other Sony films
More…-BD live
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 100:08 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Scott Charles Stewart
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Paul Bettany
Lucas Black
Tyrese Gibson
Adrianne Palicki
Willa Holland
Kate Walsh
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music John Frizzell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Italian DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Arabic
Hindi
Smoking Yes, frequently
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

" “What is your name?” Jesus asked, and the demon replied, “Legion, for there are many of us”.
Mark 5.9

     In Legion God has lost faith with mankind and has sent his angels to exterminate humanity. The weaker willed humans become possessed, preying upon those yet to be affected. Rebellious angel Michael (Paul Bettany) still has hope for mankind; the key to human survival, it seems, is a child about to be born in a service station / diner called Paradise Falls in the middle of the New Mexico desert. Arriving on Earth (like the Terminator, but with clothes) Michael raids a gun store for an arsenal of weaponry, steals a police car and heads out into the desert.

     Some years earlier, Bob Hanson (Dennis Quaid) had purchased Paradise Falls with the expectation that a shopping mall would be built across the road and he would make his fortune. It didn’t happen. Now in the desert he runs the derelict diner with his son Jeep (Lucas Black), cook Percy (Charles S. Dutton) and 8 months pregnant waitress Charlie (Adrianne Palicki). Stranded in the diner this day with a broken down car are Howard Anderson (Jon Tenney), his wife Sandra (Kate Walsh) and their teenage daughter Audrey (Willa Holland). Later, they are joined by the mysterious Kyle (Tyrese Gibson). Their first inkling that something is amiss comes when all communication breaks down, TV, telephones, radios. Then a sweet little old white haired lady (Jeanette Miller) drives up, orders a rare steak then suddenly starts screaming obscenities, sinks her teeth into Howard’s neck and scampers up the walls and across the ceiling like a demon before being killed by gunfire.

     When Michael arrives he is, not surprisingly, treated with suspicion by the stunned group but he persuades them they are under great threat just before a cavalcade of the possessed arrive in cars and surround the diner, like Indians circling a fort. As the attacks intensify and members of the trapped group are killed in various ways, Michael reveals that the possessed are really after Charlie’s unborn baby as the child, when born, will be the saviour of mankind (his name is not John Connor, as far as I know). When the baby is born early, the stakes are further raised by the arrival of the angel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) seeking to kill the child. It will be a battle to the death to decide the fate of mankind.

     Legion is not a film about a bleak post-apocalyptic world such as the recent The Book of Eli or The Road. Instead it is The Terminator without the time travel; a feisty heroine whose child is to save humanity, a warrior from another world on a mission to protect the child and a voiceover at the end, where Adrianne Palicki is dressed to look like Sarah Connor at the conclusion of The Terminator (the first one). Nevertheless Legion, while obviously derivative, is also part sci-fi, part horror, part modern western, part action movie; the result is uneven but quite entertaining. The setting of the lonely diner in the middle of the desert is good, there are some sequences that build reasonable tension and shocks, some horror elements, some spectacular car stunts and a lot of loud gun play, although the hand to hand fights are shot up close with quick edits so it is mostly impossible to see what is going on. There are also quiet interludes, which give us a chance to know something about the people stranded in this diner and provide a breathing space amid the carnage. Paul Bettany does a good job as an action angel while Charles S. Dutton, Adrianne Palicki and Willa Holland are all fine.

     The first time God was displeased with his children he sent the flood. This time he sent his angels to exterminate humanity; mankind’s only hope for survival is the rebellious angel Michael and an unborn child. While the premise makes no sense, and just what role the child will play in the future is not explained, the film speeds along and provides enough thrills, tension and action to be a mindless but entertaining 100 minutes. I have seen far worse.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

     Legion is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. The original ratio was 2.35:1.

     Like a number of apocalyptic films, such as The Book of Eli or The Road, the colour in Legion has been leached away but not to the extent of either of those films where the result was an almost black and grey colour palate. In Legion the result is a low key colour palate with a silvery sheen. Indeed, colours are muted throughout; the brown of the desert, the drabness of the broken down diner and the darkness in which a lot of the film occurs. The only real brightness and colour occurs in the sequences involving the angels, both on heaven and earth, or in the clothes of some of the possessed such as the ice cream man or the old lady. Blacks are rock solid and shadow detail, contract, brightness and skin tones, within the choices outlined, fine. I did not notice any film or film to video artefacts.

     English and English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available as well as subtitles French, Italian, Arabic and Hindu.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Audio is a choice of English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Italian 5.1 DTS-HD MA or English Audio Description Dolby Digital 2.0. The English DTS is very aggressive, so much so that sometimes the dialogue is masked by the effects and music. Engines, gunfire, explosions and general ambience explode all around the sound stage providing an enveloping experience. Music also booms out of the speakers and the subwoofer hugely ups the bass quota for almost anything. The result is a wall of sound in the action sequences that might have benefited from a bit more separation and subtlety. However, the effect will certainly rock the room and annoy the neighbours.

     Lip synchronisation was fine.

     The original score by John Frizzell is very loud and bombastic with only a few quieter cues. It suits the film but is not memorable. The score is supported by snatches of popular music from the likes of Willie Nelson, Ann-Margaret, The Ravens, King Juju and Skeeter Davis.

     The audio description, at least the section I sampled, is in a sonorous voice and seems to cover what is happening. The audio is showing as 5.1, because this track plays behind the description.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A diverse range of genuine, interesting extra features.

Bringing Angels to Earth (Picture in Picture)

     Basically a director’s video commentary. A small window opens in the lower right of the screen within which Director / Co-Writer Scott Stewart talks about aspects of the filming, including cast, locations, intentions, plot points, camera angles with added story boards, behind the scenes footage plus additional comments by cast members Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Willa Holland, Adrianne Palicki, Charles Dutton, Kate Walsh and Lucas Black. Intermittingly interesting.

Creating the Apocalypse (23:43)

     An informative look at the practical special effects, stunts & makeup created for the film. Those interviewed are Scott Stewart , Glenn Hetrick (Special Effects Make-Up), John Medlen (2nd Unit Director / Stunt Coordinator), Larry Odien (Puppeteer), Jeff Higinbothan (Production Designer), and cast members Paul Bettany, Doug Jones, Willa Holland, Adrianne Palicki, Jeanette Miller, Kate Walsh and Lucas Black.

Humanity’s Last Line of Defense (11:32)

     Perhaps the weakest of the featurettes, this one looks at the characters and the cast, and contains rather a lot of mutual admiration without substance. Interviewees are cast members Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Charles Dutton, Willa Holland, Adrianne Palicki and Lucas Black, as well as director Scott Stewart.

From Pixels to Picture (10:57)

     A good look at the film’s visual effects with Scott Stewart and Visual Effects Supervisors Joe Bauer and Gray Marshall.

Designing Paradise Falls (16:37)

     Another very good piece concentrating upon the location set design, construction, the sound stage set, costumes, the look of the film including colour palate, lighting and weapons. Interviewees are Scott Stewart, Glenn Hetrick (Special Effects Make-Up), John Medlen (2nd Unit Director / Stunt Coordinator), Austin Gogy (Art Director), John Lindley (Director of Photography), Jeff Higinbothan (Production Designer), Wendy Partridge (Costume Design) and actor Paul Bettany.

Designed For Action: Blueprint of a Scene (10:21)

     A bit of a mixed bag; some stuff repeated from other extras, some new interesting stuff on a couple of the action sequences. Interviewees are Scott Stewart, John Medlen, Jeff Higinbothan , Austin Gogy, John Lindley and actor Adrianne Palicki.

Trailers

     Included is Blu-ray trailer (2:05), Armored (1:40), District 9 (1:56), Zombieland (1:56), 2012 (1:08) and The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2:01).

BD live

     Access trivia, chat to others, etc., if your Blu-ray is connected to he internet.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region A US and Region B UK Blu-ray editions are identical to our Region B except for minor matters such as different trailers and language options. The Region A does include a digital copy of the film but really there is little reason to go beyond the local product.

Summary

     Mix The Terminator and Invasion of the Body Snatches and the result is Legion, part sci-fi, part horror, part modern western, part action film. The result is uneven, but quite entertaining. The video is very good, the audio aggressive and there is a nice range of genuine extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE