Movie Review: Judgment Day (1999)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1999 action movie starring Ice-T and Mario Van Peebles.

Synopsis: A giant asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and the planet's only hope is the asteroid-destroying weapon created by Dr. David Corbett, who is the only person who knows the proper commands to operate it. When a cult leader kidnaps Corbett in an effort to stop the use of his weapon so Earth will experience "Judgment Day," an FBI agent teams up a convict in an effort to track him down.


To tell you the truth, this is the type of movie my wife and I probably wouldn't even bother watching under normal circumstances. But, when I came across it on one of our movie channels yesterday morning and saw it starred Ice-T (who we both enjoy watching on Law & Order: SVU), I decided to record it so we could watch it yesterday evening.

When we started watching this film, I honestly didn't have that high of expectations for it, mostly because it was a movie I hadn't heard of until yesterday. But, while the movie did have some flaws, we still had fun watching it.

For his part, I thought Ice-T did a decent job. He was very believable in the convict role, providing street smarts and just enough toughness for his character. It was definitely a movie written with him in mind as his Matthew Reese character reminded me a lot of his Finn character from SVU, only with a lot more swearing involved.

I also thought Van Peeples pulled off the role of cult leader Thomas Payne. He played the villain the way I would expect him to. While there were some likable traits and it was somewhat hard to completely argue against his reasons, it was also obvious he had reached a point in his obsession where it would be easy to believe he would kill his own kids if it met his needs.

I think my biggest complaint about this movie is there seemed to be some sort of important backstory when it came to Reese and his relationship with Payne. However, other than some hints about Reese's family being killed, the movie really doesn't elaborate.

Normally, this isn't something that would bother me that much. But, his relationship with Payne is the reason his FBI companion (Amis) sprung him from prison and there were times when I struggled to understand why he was the best choice for the job, especially since there seemed to be plenty of other characters that had much more information about Payne than he did.

Maybe this is my inner movie villain talking, but I also struggled to figure out why Payne took Dr. Corbett (Ashby) hostage rather than simply killing him outright. After all, if his ultimate plan was for the asteroid to crash into the Earth, why keep the one man who could stop it alive? I probably could have been a bit more on board with this had he been a religious man who believed murder was a sin. But, he has no problem killing other people throughout the movie so keeping Ashby alive, especially when he knows there are people getting closer to finding the scientist, really doesn't make a whole lot of sense from the villain's point of view.

Final Opinion

As I said before, this movie did have some flaws. However, Ice-T does a decent enough job and there's just enough action to keep the movie watchable and my wife did enjoy it overall.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 01/29/2018, StevenHelmer
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