Armageddon (1998) / Action-Sci Fi
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sensuality and brief language
Running Time: 151 min.
Cast: Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Steve Buscemi, Billy Bob Thornton, Will Patton, William Fichtner, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Peter Stormare, Keith David, Jason Isaacs
Small role: Eddie Griffin, Udo Kier, Charlton Heston (voice), Michael Bay
Director: Michael Bay
Screenplay: Jonathan Hensleigh, J.J. Abrams, Tony Gilroy, Shane Salerno
Review published August 31, 1998
The plot: An asteroid the size of Texas is hurtling towards Earth, which will surely result in the termination of all life on the planet. The high-ups in NASA devise a plan to split the asteroid into two parts that will send each piece off the path of Earth's demise. In order to do this they call upon the help of deep core oil driller named Harry Stamper (Willis, Mercury Rising) and his crew to go up to the asteroid to drill a hole deep enough to place a nuclear warhead in and blow the rock apart. In what the screenwriters feel is a necessary subplot, one of crewmen (Affleck, Phantoms) is getting it on with his Stamper's daughter (Tyler, U Turn) and they will soon be married should the mission be successful.
Armageddon is a mega-budget action flick runs the gamut from inspiringly effective to downright awful.
The best parts: Billy Bob Thornton's (Primary Colors, Princess Mononoke) performance, the outstanding special effects, the occasionally funny dialogue, Michael Bay's nice touches in a few scenes, and a well-done beginning and end.
The worst parts: Bruce Willis attempting a southern drawl (which he thankfully ditches after a couple of lines), some truly awful screenwriting in a few scenes, Liv Tyler's shallow and unconvincing attempts to show anger, a needless and lackluster romantic subplot, Michael Bay's (The Rock, Bad Boys) attempts for cinematic virtuosity in many scenes, and a sagging hour of boredom in the middle when they are attempting to get to the asteroid's surface.
All in all, I suppose it's entertaining enough to view at least once, but $140 million dollars could really have been better spent on other material.
©1998 Vince Leo