"Legion of the Dead"
An alarmingly familiar
and alarmingly shoddy production comes to us fresh from The Asylum
So what we have here
is the story of a mummy brought back to life. And before you
start screaming horrified cries of "What, you mean EXACTLY
THE SAME WAY AS A DOZEN OTHER MUMMY MOVIES THAT START EXACTLY LIKE
Okay, I'm sorry.
There really IS nothing new here. If it weren't for Billy
Peltzer from Gremlins and Earth President Clark from Babylon 5 showing
up, and a few million dollars being missing from the budget, and
the mummy being a hot chick this time around, yes, it would be almost
EXACTLY like "The Mummy."
And yes, I know that's
a little blithe, but let's make the head-to-head comparison between
The Mummy: Im-Ho-Tep,
priest of Ra, returns from the dead to resurrect his former love,
Anuck-Su-Namun, and parenthetically conquer the world.
Legion of the Dead:
Aneh-Tet, priestess of Set, returns from the dead somewhere in America
for reasons that are as mind-alteringly ludicrous as they are comical
to conquer the world in revenge for her banishment several thousand
The Mummy: Hot young
librarian chick and adventurous former soldier rogue take on the
Legion of the Dead: Hot
young archeologist chick and roguish but vaguely geeky student love
interest take on the mummy.
The Mummy: Loads
Legion of the Dead:
The Mummy: Im-Ho-Tep
has peeled skin special effects on his face.
Legion of the Dead: So does Aneh-Tet, at least for a while.
The Mummy: There's one
weasely little bastard schmuck who sells out humanity to the mummy
for his own gain.
Legion of the Dead:
Not surprisingly, same here.
Plus, there's also a
guy down here with an accent and an Indiana Jones fedora who's also
a professor, same as Indy. We even get treated to a thunderstorm
sequence during the mummy's reanimation in the same fashion as Chucky's
whenever he started up the Damballa chant back in the endless stream
of Child's Play sequels. How much else can we possibly knock
off before we pack it in for the day?
Now, I admit...I did
enjoy "The Mummy." It had a lot of impressive action
sequences and good quality effects. But "Legion of the
Dead" is a watered-down, washed-out ripoff. Even worse,
it's a SERIES of ripoffs. It's one giant string of ripoffs.
Then, as the mummy emerges
nude from the tomb twenty six minutes in, by twenty eight minutes
in she's managed to kill two guys AND make herself a skirt.
Talk about your amazing homemakers...it's like Martha Stewart: The
Evil Egyptian Version.
And just before the forty
eight minute mark, Aneh-Tet proves conclusively that we guys are
total freaking morons. We WILL follow any reasonably attractive
chick's clothing through the woods until we find who's on the other
end of the clothing trail as long as we don't actually KNOW our
faces will get melted off when said attractive chick is straddling
And a few guys would
even consider that a good tradeoff.
Perhaps the biggest evil
perpetrated on the viewing public by "Legion of the Dead"
is that the only names credited on the box art are those of Bruce
Boxleitner and Zach Galligan. Yet the two of them aren't in
the movie for more than ten minutes of screen time put together.
The ending is one giant
logic puzzle after another. For instance:
1. Half a dozen mummies
walking around in rotted cloth bandages...not ONE PERSON thinks
of pulling out a Zippo.
2. One hour, three minutes,
fifty four seconds. Pause and frame advance and watch the
mummy's hand go into a perfectly formed rip in a layer of cloth
that's actually slighly larger than his hand. That slit was
not there before, and if he had made that hole by punching through
a person's chest, well, the hole wouldn't be larger than the hand
until AFTER he pulled out the heart. Way to botch a special
effects job by making it so incredibly obvious to anyone who's paying
3. They're strong enough
to punch through a human and pull out hearts and spines alike, but
they can't remove a pool skimmer from their own chests despite the
fact that it's pinning them to a door. That and it must either
one dense pool skimmer shaft or one weak door for a human to throw
one through a door.
4. Now...see if you can
follow this chain of events at one hour, eight minutes and thirty
three seconds. Sellout Professor chucks an axe, but doesn't
actually let go of it. In the interval, Hero Geeky Boy suddenly
has an axe of his own (apparently the one Sellout Professor was
planning to throw but never dead) and throws it back. There's
a small bloody furrow across the top of Sellout Professor's head
and the axe is imbedded in the wall behind him...at neck level with
Maybe it's just nit picking,
but for me, it's just one more example of what's so very wrong with
this movie. The last twenty minutes are just fantastically
The special features
include a behind the scenes featurette, cast and crew commentary,
audio options, and trailers for "Frankenstein", "War
of the Worlds", "Hide and Creep", "Jolly Roger:
Massacre at Cutter's Cove" and "Legion of the Dead".
All in all, if for some
truly unfathomable reason, you want a badly diluted, horribly concluded,
low budget version of a fairly decent movie, then "Legion of
the Dead" is just what you're looking for. Me, I can't
say I'm looking for anything of the sort.
Legion of the Dead
GRADE: 1 star *