Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. USA/Hong Kong, 1979. American International Pictures, Meteor Joint Venture, Palladium Productions, Shaw Brothers. Story by Edmund H. North, Screenplay by Stanley Mann, Edmund H. North. Cinematography by Paul Lohmann. Produced by Arnold H. Orgolini, Theodore R. Parvin. Music by Laurence Rosenthal. Production Design by Edward C. Carfagno. Costume Design by Albert Wolsky. Film Editing by Carl Kress. Academy Awards 1979.
Scientist Sean Connery is pulled away from an exciting boat race and dragged to Washington to consult on a serious matter despite the fact that he left the government’s employ ages ago. He is informed that the recent contact between a comet and a meteor has knocked the latter into a collision course with Earth and he is needed to help do something about it. He previously quit over a controversial nuclear weapons project that was intended to protect the planet from just this situation but eventually became warfare against Russia; now he is reluctantly pulled in when he realizes that this is humanity’s only choice to be saved from disaster by the end of the week. It also becomes imminently clear that the U.S. will need Russia’s similar weapon to have enough firepower to blast the rock to pieces, meaning that Brian Keith shows up with translator Natalie Wood to put the Cold War aside in favour of human survival. Sequences of silly arguments give way to a ridiculous conclusion involving a mud bath in New York City for a film that suffers dull direction and ridiculously poor understanding of scientific fact but is buoyed by committed performances and a few nifty effects. It also sounds the death knell for the disaster films that are so popular in this decade, and rightly so considering the great lack of imagination that is put into an imaginative plot, but it at least does not overstay its welcome the way Armageddon would almost twenty years later, and Connery enjoys nice chemistry with Wood.