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Released: 1998

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Runtime: 2 hr 24 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Michael Bay

Starring: Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Michael Clarke Duncan, Owen Wilson, Peter Stormare, Steve Buscemi

A film about a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers who are sent by NASA to stop an Asteroid on a collision course with the Earth.

ARMAGEDDON delights in being politically incorrect.

Review by: SteveRhodes

Added: 8 years ago

Check your brains at the door. It's time for some silly summer fun in ARMAGEDDON as Bruce Willis and Co. kick some asteroid tail. When a big rock last headed for our planet in DEEP IMPACT, it was soap opera time. That was back in the serious days of May. It's summer now when even flying boulders the size of Texas can be seen only as a lark.

The story starts 65 million years ago when a piece of space trash runs into Earth and kills all the dinosaurs. "It happened before," a deep-voiced Moses, a.k.a. Charlton Heston, warns us in the narration. "It will happen again. It's just a matter of time."

Cut to present day New York City, where the poor Chrysler building, which has been wiped out recently in other movies, takes it on the chin again as an early casualty of an errant asteroid. Actually this one is just a baby, his big mama is on the way. The world's governments will keep this fact a secret as the U.S. quickly trains a team of social misfits from a deep ocean oil drilling rig as mankind's only hope of salvation. Think STARSHIP TROOPERS, but more ridiculous. In ARMAGEDDON's defense, it at least realizes it is a parody, something that many recent films haven't been smart enough to figure out.

(The movie will win many viewers' hearts early on with the scene of a small dog attacking a street display of Godzilla toys. Given that many are bigger than him, it is a nice metaphor that size doesn't matter.)

ARMAGEDDON delights in being politically incorrect. When we first see driller Harry S. Stamper (Bruce Willis), he is shooting golf balls from the deck of his rig, trying to hit Greenpeace protestors in the head.

His right-hand man, A.J. Frost (Ben Affleck), is in trouble with Harry for falling in love with Harry's daughter, Grace, played as a cipher by Liv Tyler. Grace doesn't show her father much respect. "I understand that you are handicapped by natural immaturity, but I forgive you," she tells him.

Although there are many contenders for the movie's most ridiculous part, A.J.'s lovemaking scene with Grace has to be the winner. He uses animal crackers as a form of foreplay, something even NINE AND 1/2 WEEKS never tried.

The best performance is turned in, as usual, by Billy Bob Thornton, who plays against type as the brainy head of NASA, Dan Truman. Dan is a guy with a good-ole-boy accent and a leg brace that kept him from ever becoming an astronaut himself. He also gets some of the best lines as when he describes the events of the upcoming asteroid apocalypse as "basically all the worst parts of the bible."

A disheveled Steve Buscemi as Rockhound, plays a double major from MIT, who spends his time worrying that the law will catch up with him for sleeping with underage girls. Rockhound is on Stamper's team as are a bunch of other oddballs.

Truman chooses Stamper's team to go up in space with the astronauts to drill into the asteroid and plant an atomic bomb. "The fate of the planet is in the hands of a bunch of retards," General Kimsey (Keith David) complains. "I wouldn't trust them with a potato gun."

The rag-tag outfit lives up to their image when they place their demands on the United States government. In order to agree to undertake the mission, their demands include: sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom all summer, bringing back eight-track tapes and revealing who shot Kennedy. The one universal demand is that they never want to pay taxes ever again. Now, that's a request worth fighting for.

When they finally get to the asteroid, the movie appears to have run out of money. The special effects are anything but, and the scene is dark and murky.

If you can only see one asteroid movie this year, DEEP IMPACT, with all of its faults, is probably the better choice. But if you're looking for laughs and have plenty of time to kill, ARMAGEDDON is just about as good.

ARMAGEDDON runs 2:24. It is rated PG-13 for sci-fi disaster action, sensuality and brief profanity and would be fine for kids around 10 and up.