(JJC) from NEWARK, NJ
Reviewed on 5/9/2010...
We have seen this plotline a handful of times: a giant meteor the size of Nebraska is heading straight for the Earth, which will discontinue our very existence. One year after "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" was released as summer blockbusters and made millions of duckets, another entry into this canon was created. But in 1999's straight to DVD effort, "Judgment Day," we got an urban twist on the matter.
A small asteroid obliterates Peru in the film's open, which of course alerts the government to which then they discover yet another asteroid, six-days away, big enough to wipe out the human race. Under the command of General Bill Meech (Max Gail), the plan is to blow the rock to bits using two missile programs, one of which is an unauthorized program known as THOR, a missile device designed by Dr. David Corbett (Linden Ashby), who lost the greenlight to an inferior project designed by a scientist who was close with the President. Ah, politics.
Meech sends for Corbett, the only person who knows how to work the THOR system, but a Religious Cult led by the crazed Payne (Mario Van Peebles), kidnaps Corbett so he can not interfere with God's Will. Payne believes the asteroid is the Armageddon that's refereed to in the Bible. Meech then calls for Federal Agent Jeanine Tyrell (Suzy Amis), who once worked on a case involving Payne. Tyrell asks for the assistance of Matthew Reese (Ice-T), a former member of the cult, who lost his family under Payne's rule and is now doing 10-years for an assassination attempt on Payne's life, which resulted in the death a few cult members. Reese takes Tyrell into the means streets of South Central and Compton, where leads to Payne are supposedly held. We meet undesirable hoods and gangsters and we quickly get to the point in each matter, till we get to Payne's underground quarters.
The inferior program is launched and of course fails, so it's literally a race against time for Reese and Tyrell to find Corbett and give mankind its fighting chance.
"Judgment Day" is not a very good movie, but I will admit it's worth a watch if you like these kind of films. What intrigued me, was that the meteor story was the backdrop story and main plot was a action-chase film. But it's done very poorly. This was a low-budget direct to DVD feature, with a heartbeat, but very weak. I found myself more involved with the Payne/Cult Religion story than I was about anything else. Suzy Amis, who is a decent actress and wonderful in films like "Rich in Love" and "The Ballad of Little Joe," is generally bad here and simply not believable as a Fed. Ice-T stills plays his usual ghetto self, which simply doesn't work in this movie. We have a cameo by Coolio playing a gangster, and thankfully it's just a cameo, because the man cannot act through a wet, torn paper bag. The effects are fifth rate, I've seen better effects done in the 1920's.
On the plus side: I actually enjoyed Mario Van Peebles as Payne in this film. Like I said, his story, along with the conversations he has with Corbett, who is an atheist, was very interesting. There could have been a whole movie around that, rather than the bland characters that lead the way, and the crappy unbelievable government scenes and bad effects that support them.