After a meteorite storm ravages New York City, NASA discovers that an asteroid the size of Texas is speeding toward Earth.
With just eighteen days before impact, NASA executive director Dan Truman (BILLY BOB THORNTON) discovers that he has only one viable option -- to drill a hole in the asteroid and then plant and detonate a nuclear bomb hoping that the internal explosion will split the rock into two pieces that will miss Earth.
Thus, Truman enlists Harry Stamper (BRUCE WILLIS) and his deep core oil drilling team, known to be the best in the world.
Harry's got other problems, however -- most notably trying to keep one of his gung ho workers, A.J. Frost (BEN AFFLECK) ,away from his beautiful adult daughter, Grace (LIV TYLER). Even so, Harry realizes he has to go and save the world and agrees to do what he can.
Thus, he and team -- which includes Frost; his best friend, Chick Chapple (WILL PATTON); a squirrelly geologist, Rockhound (STEVE BUSCEMI); big man Max Lennert (KEN CAMPBELL); and an odd assortment of other characters train for their dangerous mission.
Blasting off into space aboard two space shuttles, Harry and his team are accompanied by NASA astronauts Colonel Willie Sharp (WILLIAM FICHTNER), copilot Jennifer Watts (JESSICA STEEN), and mission specialist Gruber (GRAYSON McCOUCH).
There they dock with a Russian space station where cosmonaut Lev Andropov (PETER STORMARE) joins them after a calamitous accident.
From that point on, the assembled team races toward the asteroid.
Encountering various obstacles and bureaucratic blunders back on Earth, Harry and his team race against time to drill eight hundred feet into the rock, plant the nuke, and blast off before the asteroid plummets into the Earth, completely destroying it in a fiery Armageddon.
BRUCE WILLIS plays a take charge kind of hero who isn't above shooting at his daughter's boyfriend when not setting out to save all of humanity.
BILLY BOB THORNTON plays a worried and nervous NASA executive who must convince and train Harry's team to stop the asteroid.
BEN AFFLECK plays a young and headstrong oil rigger who's fallen in love with Harry's daughter.
STEVE BUSCEMI plays a squirrelly and nervous geologist with an obsession for large breasted women.
WILL PATTON plays Harry's best friend who hopes to make things right with his estranged wife -- and his son who doesn't know him -- by being a hero.
What the film's really about, however, is delivering a visceral assault on your senses with as much revved up, in your face action as possible. If you can manage to squeeze in a lobotomy before seeing it, the film does mostly succeed in regards to that.
Several sequences are quite effectively fun and exhilarating, something director Michael Bay honed in pictures such as "Bad Boys" and "The Rock" (which is still the best and most enjoyable Bruckheimer produced film).
Director Michael Bay does a wonderful job with a very talented cast.
The technical side is beautiful and realistic. You have to watch this movie and wonder are we at risk of this form of catastrophe.