||Heavily armed archangels, flesh-chomping demons, humongous insect hordes and other unsettling signs of the apocalypse are on graphic, garish display in Legion, a dramatically muddled but surprisingly involving Bible-themed fantasy thriller that imagines Armageddon in a dingy roadside diner, a la "The Prophecy" meets "The Petrified Forest." Even when the blood-and-thunder hokiness of the over-the-top plot tilts perilously close to absurdity, the admirably straight-faced performances by well-cast lead players provide just enough counterbalance to sustain aud curiosity and sympathy. Expect strong (if not quite miraculous) opening-weekend biz, followed by extended afterlife on homevid and cable...First-time feature helmer Scott Stewart, co-founder of f/x company the Orphanage, begins with a bang -- several bangs, actually -- in a prologue that vaguely recalls the opening of James Cameron's original "Terminator." No less a luminary than the archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) plops down into a dank Los Angeles alley and, after painfully shedding his wings and loading up with automatic weapons, commandeers a cop car for a race against time...Working from a fanciful script he co-wrote with Peter Schink, helmer Stewart strikes a sometimes effective, sometimes awkward balance between f/x-amped sequences of slam-bang action -- the diner is repeatedly attacked by Gabriel's minions during "Night of the Living Dead"-style onslaughts -- and intensely emotional, dialogue-heavy scenes enhanced by handheld camerawork...Ironically, "Legion" could miss out on attracting some ticketbuyers who might, under different circumstances, be drawn to the pic's subject matter: churchgoers who flock to religious-themed dramas like "Fireproof." They're the ones who'll be most upset by the abundance of F-bombs in the dialogue, and the very idea that God ever should be second-guessed...Tech values are largely impressive, though the editing of some fight scenes causes more confusion than excitement.