Armageddon is a taut fast-paced thriller which starts off great but gets tiresome toward the end. The plot is simple: an asteroid is headed on a collision course toward Earth. To stop it, the US government sends a bunch of roughneck oil drillers into space to drill a hole in the asteroid so they can drop and detonate a nuclear weapon inside, before it is too late.
The problem with disaster movies is that it is very hard to find an antagonist, i.e., someone you hate by the end of the movie. After all, an asteroid or a volcano or a twister doesn't give a rat's arse about what humans think (it can't). Some movies try to cast natural disasters as either a force out to teach us a lesson or as an evil entity. Wisely enough, the primary focus in Armageddon is the motley crew and not the rock floating through space.
I thought the visual effects were cheesy and the dialogue was corny. The character (we're introduced to one too many) development is non-existent. The acting is mixed: Bruce Willis is a great actor and he gets a lot of the spot light. Most of the other actors are just there for the entertainment value. Christopher Walken, er, William Fichtner, does a good job as captain of the space shuttle, but he appears to be the only one taking the movie seriously. Liv Tyler and Ben Affleck, as lovers, have the chemistry of oil and water. The sound track is dated (music by Trevor Rabin, who, although a great musician, could've done better here).
The one saving grace is that the action and suspense sequences are great. The attempts at humour work for the most part and make this movie enjoyable. Worth the matinee fare.