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Legion

Year: 2010
Studio: Columbia
Director: Scott Stewart
Writer: Scott Stewart/Peter Schink
Cast: Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Doug Jones, Charles S Dutton

When I first heard about this film I thought a lawsuit by Australian director Shane Abbess might arrive soon after. He's the director behind 2008's little-engine-that-could effort Gabriel, which had a suspiciously similar premise about the archangels coming back to Earth to fight a war over the future of mankind.

But since it was Sony who gave him $150,000 (the budget kept top secret at the time) and then released this $26m retread, I thought maybe there'd be a nice little 'executive producer' or 'story by' payment behind the scenes for him somewhere.

Either way, despite being rubbished by critics the story of a group of random strangers holed up in a desert truck stop when the end of humanity descends doubled its money. The writers have chucked a bunch of mostly two-dimensional types into the melting pot so that when enigmatic stranger Michael (Bettany) shows up to tell them the bad news, we get a lot of Dawn of the Dead -like character tension.

He explains that the child of the pregnant waitress is the survival hope for mankind after God's ordered us wiped out, and has defied his orders to return to Earth and fight on our behalf. As everything from hordes of locusts to zombie-like possessed people descend on the truck stop, Michael and his new army of misfits fight them off with everything from medieval swords to automatic weapons, and the film moves like an action rather than a horror film.

There are a few moments that are more at home in a horror film than an action flick (like the sweet old lady who turns nasty and the scary little kid) even if they're not that scary, and if you like your Biblical end of days tales told with a bit of 80s-style high action this one's for you.

Watch too for the nice twist right at the end, when it seems only Michael has realised the true intent behind God's uncharacteristically Old Testament edict.

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