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Before 'Legion' there was Walken

Before 'Legion' there was Walken

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This weekend the film Legion will fly into theaters on angels' wings and packing heavy artillery.

Staring Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid, the film is a tale of the apocalypse featuring a horde of killer angels and a diner full of strangers -- in other words, the film will be either pure unadulterated fun or a steaming pile of dreck.

Directed by Scott Stewart, a man who has built a career in the area of visual effects, Legion has a chance to be something special for those of us who like killer angel movies.

And, really, who doesn't like movies featuring gun-toting messengers of God?

As Legion overtakes theaters this weekend, let us not forget those that came before -- namely The Prophecy trilogy.

Yes, I know that there actually, are five films in the Prophecy series, but since the later two films do not star Christopher Walken, I refuse to acknowledge their existence.

The original 1995 film -- the only one released in theaters -- was written and directed by Gregory Widen and starred Walken as the archangel Gabriel -- a rogue agent in a new war that rages across heaven.

On Earth looking for a dark soul that has the potential to act as a secret weapon in his rebellion against God, Gabriel goes into battle against a former priest turned cop played by Elias Koteas (who some of us still fondly remember as Casey Jones from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies).

As Gabriel, Walken is sublime -- a mixture of loving reverence and exuberant creepiness. Channeling his inner pathos, he plays the angel as he would play any of his heavies -- but with a supernatural twist. He perches on-top buildings, searches the body cavities of little children and controls a small army of unwilling zombies (including one played by the late Brittany Murphy in The Prophecy II).

Walken is not the only creepy actor to appear as an angel in The Prophecy.

Eric Stoltz plays an angel on the side of good, though no less unsettling -- especially as he locks lips with a young Native American child.

Viggo Mortensen is amazing as Lucifer, having the distinction of the second-best portrayal of the devil in motion picture history. My opinion. As Satan, Mortensen is a hissing, slithering man in black -- whispering into Koteas' ears about the nights he spent hiding under his bed when the cop was a child.

Additional actors that appear over the course of the three films include Virginia Madsen, Amanda Plummer, Adam Goldberg, Eric Roberts, Glenn Danzig and Brad Dourif.

The only actor, besides Walken, to appear in all three films is Steve Hytner, an accomplished character actor who appeared in the series as a criminal pathologist who appears in small roles in the first two films before taking a large role in the third movie.

The Prophecy series is the Terminator franchise of killer angel movies -- even down to the fact that by the end of the trilogy Walken's Gabriel has become an agent for good and must take down an evil angel much like he himself once was.

Vastly underrated, the series deserves another look -- whether you enjoyed Legion or found the new film lacking. Watch it or else Christopher Walken will come and pay you a visit.

* Robert Saucedo is The Terminator franchise of Brazos County movie writers. Visit him on the web at www.robsaucedo.com.

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