Review by James Lindorf
“The Legion” came from the mind of the first-time writer and director, José Magán. Thoe he is new to the scene, Magán didn’t want to start small he wanted his first film to be an epic roman adventure. He began by writing a story of courage and sacrifice during the Roman invasion of Parthia. When two legions were brought to a standstill in the Armenian mountains, trapped between an overwhelming enemy and a deadly environment, it would be long before every soldier was dead. Their only hope for survival is Noreno, a half-Roman soldier, who is entrusted with the task of crossing the deadly terrain to seek help to turn the tide of the battle. With the story in hand, Magán set out to cast the film with the best talent he could get. “The Legion” features Mickey Rourke, Bai Ling, Joaquim de Almeida, and stars Lee Partridge as Noreno. “The Legion” will be available in select theaters as well as On Demand and Digital platforms starting May 8th.
Sometimes people play fast and loose with the words stars or starring when it comes to movies. If someone appears in the film, does that make them a start or, do they need to be in a certain percentage of it. Mickey Rourke and Bia Ling are, in fact, in this movie, but they should not be the reason you tune in. Rourke is in maybe 15 minutes of the film, but nearly every scene is him in front of a green screen talking to a statue of the current emperor. The reason to watch “The Legion” is that you want to see a low budget version of the acclaimed film “1917”. There are plenty of similarities between the plots. Men set off across a war zone, fighting through rugged terrain, meeting people along the way that may be friend or foe, but that is where the resemblance ends.
Acting in “The Legion” ranges from serviceable to absolutely over the top. There may have been a set for Rourke at one point, but over time, he chewed it all until there was just a green screen. “The Legion” features plenty of images that would work great as a screen saver, but there is nothing that stands out in the way the action is filmed. The cinematography adds no life or energy to the battles doing nothing to assist the average at best fight choreography. It is Partridge’s commitment to the role that deserves the biggest applause, jumping in cold rivers, tumbling down hills and over rocks numerous times couldn’t have been easy. He may not have stretched himself dramatically, but the physical effort is admirable.
There is nothing offensively wrong with “The Legion,” it is not so bad its “great” like “The Room.” Still, there is nothing recommendable about it either. It is a movie that exists, and no one can take that away from newcomers like Magan and Partridge, who are building their resumes. However, I am hard-pressed to think anyone, but they will remember it by the time the ball drops in Times Square again.
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