The End of the World… again
Well, the pattern repeats itself. In the same year we have a serious flick with a high concept plot – in this case Deep Impact – followed by a much goofier version of the same story.
Jerry Bruckheimer has earned something that’s a rarity for producers, an artistic style. He has taken the modern big-budget action thriller and pumped it up to the point of cartoonish self-parody. Here he reteams with director Michael Bay (The Rock), to create an even wilder ride – so wild, in fact, that I got fed up with it.
Bruce Willis plays a rough, tough oil driller who is asked by NASA to take his crew of rough, tough oilmen into outer space to blow up a giant asteroid that’s headed for Earth – your basic save-the-world situation that calls for mucho praise for macho working class heroes while providing plenty opportunity for your basic awesome ’90s special effects.
The set-up is plenty of fun, with fave character thespian Steve (Mister Shhh, or do you prefer Mr. Pink) Buscemi providing most of the laughs as a cynical genius, while Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler provide the romance (much of the time while Liv’s dad and Aerosmith groan away on the soundtrack). But once our motley group of heroes arrive on the asteroid, the movie loses its grip, mostly due to Bay’s poor choices behind the camera. The last 40 minutes or so consist of extreme close-ups of one character or another shouting an overwrought line or two interspersed with quick, noisy cuts of f/x mayhem. It’s MTv music video rapid-fire cutting at its worst, and since most of the action presented is about digging a hole, you can’t blame me for getting plenty tired of it.