Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2 Hours and 24 Minutes

Reviewer: Dale
Grade: C

Armageddon is a movie that starts out very well, and really keeps your interest and has characters that you just love to watch... and then it blows it all in the end. It's like a sports team that has a superb season and gets to the playoffs only to forget how to play.

At the beginning of the movie, a lot of annoying characters in New York City are nearly killed or killed by a shower of asteroids. They scream, run and save their dogs who, as in all movies like this, are invincible. I think they should make a Naked Gun parody of films like this wherein one of the characters holds up a dog and a bullet ricochets off of it, thereby saving the guy. Then Billy Bob Thornton arrives, becomes the Best Actor in the whole picture and reveals that the Earth is about to be levelled by a huge piece of rock.

So the government does what anyone would do, they hire a team of quirky drillers to fly up to the rock, plant some explosives and solve the problem. Here is where the story is at its best. The drillers are a hilarious bunch of guys. Steve Buscemi is a horny genius (a great character played to perfection by one of our best character actors), Bruce Willis is an irate, hilarious drill captain who knows how to wield a shotgun, and Michael Clarke Duncan is a burly tough guy with a sensitive side.

Unfortunately, the team also includes eye candy model (and daughter of Aerosmith's lead singer) Liv Tyler and annoying, pain in the ass Ben Affleck. Sorry, but that's the best way to describe him. He makes googly eyes at Liv and acts all cocky and therefore we are supposed to root for him. Although what we really want to root for is for Bruce to improve his aim. Their wannabe-"Titanic" dialogue is so clumsily delivered that it actually made me cringe.

The scenes involving the drilling team preparing for their mission, and mostly screwing up, are the best in the movie. They are funny, exciting and the fast-paced style of editing actually works in their favor.

But then, the team goes into Outer Space, and the movie goes right out the window. Steve Buscemi and Russian cosmonaut Peter Stormare (united for the first time since "Fargo") try to liven things up, but the whole exercise becomes so ponderous that there is no use. The film is edited to cater to toddlers with ADD and the problems keep mounding up until there is a ridiculous amount. This is also one of those irritating movies where they have five minutes to set the bomb so what do they do? They spend four minutes and fifty nine seconds talking. I hate that. There is a way to handle such things in order to build suspense and there is a way to handle such things so that you yell: "Just blow the damn thing up!" This film is from the latter school of filmmaking.

In short, the best way to view this movie is to rent it, watch the first hour and a half, and then rewind the tape and return it to the video store. Just use your imagination about how it all turns out. I'm sure you'll be able to think up a much better movie.