Spotlight
ARMAGEDDON
5 Stars
Picture from SlingbladeStars: Bruce Willlis, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi
Director: Michael Bay
Certificate: 12
Running Time: 2hrs 31mins
Opening Date: August 7

Bruce & Co take the action movie to new heights.

The second of the Summer’s apocalyptic disaster flicks after the straight-faced emotion rush of Deep Impact, Armageddon (henceforth to be known as ‘the silly one’) shares obvious plot similarities, but has a different cinematic agenda – to thrill the pants off us.
Opening with a neat prehistoric prologue (narrated by Charlton Heston, no less) reminding us of the results of the last major asteroid assault, Bay’s plutonium-powered popcorn feast rips straight into top gear with an absolutely phenomenal meteor attack on New York that makes you wish that someone would hurry up and invent a big screen rewind button.
This, however, is just a warning. A rock “the size of Texas” will hit in a couple of weeks whose global aftermath is succinctly described by NASA executive Dan Truman (Thornton) as “basically the worst parts of the Bible”. Too expansive to be taken out at ground level, Earth’s one shot is to launch the most unlikely bunch of expert riggers headed by so-macho-it-hurts Harry Stamper (Willis) on an intercept course to drill a half-a-mile hole and blow it to smithereens.
What we have here is the ultimate Summer movie overflowing with enormous action set-pieces that fry your corneas, and indestructible heroes who discuss saving the planet as casually as if they were wandering down the all-night garage for a pack of cigarettes. But, oh, what fantastic entertainment, bolstered by charismatic leads Willis and Affleck, Thornton’s commanding presence and Buscemi at his mouthiest.
While visual dynamo Bay has an irritating habit of shooting ‘ordinary’ citizens of Earth like extras in a super-glossy Michael Jackson video, destruction is his bag, baby, and you’ve never really witnessed a space-shuttle crash until you’ve seen it through his eyes.
Some may carp about the abundance of cheesy dialogue at dramatic moments (“I’ve been drilling for 30 years and I’ve never missed a depth!” declares Willis) and unnecessary post-Titanic romantic overtones. But why bother? Just grab the largest cola and bag of munchies money can buy and get ready to grin. You’re about to watch the most spectacular action movie ever.

Armageddon photo copyright Buena Vista
Jason Caro

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