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Case Number 20358

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Legacy (2010)

Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2010 // 95 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 19th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson's legacy is one of blood and sorrow.

Editor's Note

Our review of Legacy (1975), published February 22nd, 2011, is also available.

The Charge

One man. One room. One mission.

Opening Statement

The up-and-coming Idris Elba (The Losers) fronts this examination of a Black Ops soldier losing his mind and doing what he can to punk the GOP.

Facts of the Case

Malcolm Gray (Elba) is a former special forces soldier, who's been quietly pushed into retirement. He sequesters himself in a small apartment and begins a long, frightful battle with his personal demons. He flashes back to his missions and his actions on the battlefield and is soon overcome by his conscience. Add to that, his brother, an ambitious Republican senator from New York, has eyes on the Oval Office, and Malcolm sincerely doubts his quality of character.

So he contacts a journalist, shares his story and eventually confronts his brother to get to the truth of a potential link between his presidential aspirations and a bio-weapons dealer.

The Evidence

If Michael Moore is quoted on the back of the DVD case that should give you a sense of what you're in for. Purely as a cold, objective observation, without making any comment on the validity of ideologies, Legacy is a movie that is custom-built for viewers who find their political inclinations leaning to the left of, say, Noam Chomsky. It makes Avatar look like 300.


1. The hero is a former soldier wracked by guilt over his actions, victimized by a shady government and sort of psycho.

2. The villain, his brother, is a Republican who endorses preemptive military action.

3. This is realized through Dark Hammer, Malcolm's former unit, which is designed to track down and execute potential threats to the U.S.

4. The bio-weapons dealer is actually a fairly sympathetic figure, seeking vengeance for the death of his daughter at the hands of Dark Hammer.

5. He's also a pal of the senator, conspiring to help create a Gulf of Tonkin-like incident.

6. The senator not only lies about weapons of mass destruction, he plants them to further his political goals.

7. Two of the beacons of (speaking) truth (to power) are the journalist and the weirdly confrontational TV interviewer or takes pleasure in lecturing and insulting the senator.

Again, not making a judgment call about the film's themes: if this is your brand of wonkism, Legacy is absolutely rich in partisan sirloin for you to chew on and I wish you well!

As far as filmmaking goes, my judgment is positive. It's a well-done affair, owing much to an earnest, fiery performance from Idris Elba. The guy is in pretty much every scene and he can carry it. Writer/director Thomas Ikimi paces the action well, doling out the twists judiciously and paying it off in a big way that was both shocking and predictable.

The disc: a fuzzy 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, an oddly muted 5.1 surround mix and no extras.

Closing Statement

The politics in Legacy aren't my bag, but I know a well-executed film when I see it, and this is one of them. The DVD is a half of loaf of blah, though.

The Verdict

Not Guilty, you lovable old pinko, you!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 70
Audio: 70
Extras: 0
Acting: 85
Story: 75
Judgment: 76

Perp Profile

Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Drama
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• None


• IMDb

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