Armageddon

Bomb Rating: 

Welcome to "Con Airspace."

With dialogue straight out of a deodorant commercial, characterdevelopment marked only by the volume of the soundtrack, and scientific logic culled from cartoons, Michael Bay's film is exactly as predictable and idiotic as anybody who has seen "The Rock" -- or any Jerry Bruckheimer-produced film -- would expect.

Though millions of amateur astronomers comb the skies every night looking for that undiscovered galaxy they can name "Gomer23," in "Armageddon" not even NASA has noticed an asteroid the size of Texas barreling toward the Earth like Charlie Sheen toward a brothel. Then meteor fragments start slamming into New York. Suddenly, NASA figures out the thing is 18 days away and unless something is done, any chance of jacking up next year's budget will be totally screwed. All I was thinking was: if NASA makes it through this, it had better spend day 19 sending out Hubble Telescope tax refund checks.

NASA exec Dan Truman (Billy Bob Thornton) reckons that Earth's only chance is to blow the rock up with a nuke. Never mind that using a nuclear bomb on something with that kind of mass will be about as effective as, say, trying to stop a speeding semi truck by throwing Michael Bay's brain at it. Enter Harry Stamper (Bruce Willis) and his crew of tough oil-drilling rigger guys and welcome to "Con Airspace." These boys aren't exactly model citizens. There's Chick (Will Patton) the gambler, Rockhound (Steven Buscemi) the pedophile, Bear (Michael Clarke Duncan) the huge black man, Oscar (Owen Wilson) the cowboy, Max (Ken Campbell) the obese white guy, and worst of all, A.J. (Ben Affleck). We quickly come to dread the sight of A.J. because he's sleeping with Harry's daughter, Grace (Liv Tyler), which, as far as Michael Bay can figure, means that it's time to turn up the Aerosmith tunes.

Since both Bay and Bruckheimer appear to have degrees in auditory desensitization, you can be damn sure that when the movie calls for science and logic, science and logic go right out the window in favor of "bitchin' tunes." As a result, credibility is stretched beyond the limit. From the dual shuttle launch to the Nintendo asteroid landing to the "let's jump over the huge canyon in our nifty ATV" tension sequence, it becomes apparent as the film nears its conclusion that Bruce Willis was chosen for the part of Harry Stamper not because he really embodies all the qualities of a classic hero, but because Bugs Bunny wasn't available.

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