The best way to draw attention to an upcoming film is to catch the audience’s attention with a clever title. Normally, the title has something to do with the film in question. For example, Gremlins has gremlins terrorizing a small, peaceful town. Also, there is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which is pretty self-explanatory. And then there’s Legendary which neither describes the quality of the film nor anything located in said film. At least it has one good thing going for it: DOLPH!
Legendary begins in Russia as a team of scientists led by Dr. Travis Preston (Scott Adkins) are searching for what could be the largest bear ever discovered. Preston wants to find the creature and study it for scientific purposes. Meanwhile, his less than scrupulous colleague Jim Harker (Dolph Lundgren) wants to add the one of a kind bear to his trophy case. An argument between Preston and Harker leads to the bear-creature mauling a young intern working on the expedition. Fast forward a few months to London, where Dr. Preston, a cryptozoologist, is facing multiple lawsuits, including one from the family of the deceased intern. Preston has disbanded his team and all but given up hope. Until a lawyer approaches the good doctor with an incredible opportunity from a mysterious benefactor: locate and document the existence of an enormous gecko/salamander said to exist in central Asia. Preston jumps at the chance. He reunites his crew and heads to China, only to arrive and discover Harker has beaten him to the area and has his own team ready for a hunt. Let the battle begin!
Scott Adkins as a doctor of cryptozoology is behind his capabilities as an actor. Based on his performance in Legendary, a vast majority of acting nuances are beyond his grasp. Adkins’ counterpart, Dolph Lundgren, is the only reason to have hope for this flick. Lundgren exudes smarm, and the cocksure attitude he brings out in Harker is highly entertaining. The only somewhat decent scene from Adkins is when he fills the audience in on Preston’s backstory. His parents took him camping in Tacoma. As he’s taking a potty break, he runs into a “bigfoot” creature. From that moment on Preston was obsessed with locating and documenting the existence of mysterious and mythical creatures. Thankfully, there was no flashback sequence for the story. The plot is pretty boring. Both teams are trying to find the geckomander before the other, people get mauled by the monster, etc. The ending was predictable and pretty dumb. They locate the geckomander’s cave, Harker is attacked and presumed dead, and it’s revealed that the lawyer’s benefactor was…wait for it… himself! Pretty original, eh?
The Lionsgate DVD release includes interviews with Adkins and Lundgren, as well as a “making of” featurette. The only issue I have is that Dolph’s scenes were few and far between. But whenever Dolph is on screen, he steals the show. If you are a fan of Dolph Lundgren, make the purchase.