On the 25th Anniversary of Matthew Modine’s classic, Vision Quest, Director Mel Damski comes up with – not a sequel – but a different universe twist on the 1985 film’s themes. And with solid outings from Danny Glover and Jon Cena you’ll want to like Legendary – a movie that just needed a stronger script.and a bit more focus on Devon Graye the 23 year old actor playing the 17 year old or so lead character. Some reviews have the film graded with A’s and F’s and nothing in between, which is curious…implying that those who are into the genre love the flick and those on the outside looking in aren’t impressed. But this critic falls somewhere in the middle seeing the power potential here that Damski left unrealized on the table…specifically, the dialogue between Cena and Patricia Clarkson which could have gone deeper and given this WWE Studios quickie something a bit more, well…legendary.
Not that the glossy Vision Quest didn’t have its flaws…there are more sparks here when Graye is protective over his girlfriend-with-the-reputation, Lori (played by actress Courtney J. Clark…who is a lot cuter in press photos than the frumpy look in this movie, but perhaps that’s bit of the charm) – than model-material Matthew Modine’s forced love affair with Men In Black starlet Linda Fiorentino, who is drop-dead gorgeous in the film while Modine is twenty five or twenty six playing the overly naive eighteen year old Louden Swain. In Vision Quest Ronny Cox plays Louden’s dad…literally…that’s what the Total Recall villain is named in the credits… while in Legendary the paternal roles are flipped to a similar dysfunctional family with a mom being the sole parent.
WWE Studios could have learned from the mistakes of Vision Quest…and could have capitalized on one of its strongest assets….a young Madonna performing a couple of numbers, one that is the recurring theme and the actual title of the film in the Philippines, “Crazy For You”. But Graye gets lost in the shuffle as a lead actor without the aura the producers gave his predecessor in Vision Quest…and though both films display elegant choreography by the wrestlers they leave Glover, Cena and Clarkson as window dressing rather than the heart of the film. Cena’s character’s troubles in this movie are overplayed when the struggle between the mother and her two sons and wrestling could have had some real power with just some clever dialogue. The elements were here, Vision Quest set the tone and WWE could better serve its agenda by giving the actors a hardier story and a little less cliche. Legendary has its pluses but feels more like it was made for TV .
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.