[box cover]

Judgment Day

Hollywood has this really bad habit of putting out similar movies on the same topic around the same time as each other. In the last several years we've seen dueling films on volcanoes, animated insects, and even long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine. One of the biggest "coincidences" occurred the summer of '98, when Deep Impact and Armageddon came out. Armageddon won the box-office battle for "Best Asteroid Movie," but you couldn't really call it the best film on the subject. Nor could you call Judgment Day the best one either, as this low-budget knock-off takes the most clichéd parts of both asteroid movies, throws in a few shopworn clichés of its own, adds some C-list actors for good measure, and comes up with a mess. The story deals with a group of people trying to stop a large object, this time a meteor, from destroying the planet. Problems arise when the government tries to contact the inventor of a top-secret project that will help obliterate the rock, only to find out he's been kidnapped by a crazy cult leader (Mario Van Peebles) who believes the meteor will bring about a "Judgment Day" for all. In order to stop the threat, the government turns to an agent (Suzy Amis) and a reformed killer (Ice-T) to find the madman and rescue the scientist before tragedy strikes. Do they succeed? Is the world saved? Let's just say that we're still here, so that's a good sign. For those who don't have high hopes and are just looking for entertainment, Judgment Day could be for you — it has all the big action without any of that complicated thinking stuff (which is what made Armageddon, on a larger level, such a hit). But compared to the big boys, it comes up far, far short. Good widescreen transfer, Dolby Surround 2.0. Info on meteors, cast-and-crew notes, trailer. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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