Now let’s get this straight, I don’t like Gerard Butler. I’m not big on action films either, but they can be fun and I’ve heard this is. Butler is John, alpha male truck driving construction dude. Not the oily bloke with a spanner and lunch pale, he’s the boss, living in well to do suburbia. Well he was until he and Alison (Morena Baccarin) separated. The opening act does all the set up of the new awkward family dynamic with their young son. Dad home for a day, helping with homework while the TV News announces some trivial matter of a comet, that’s breaking up into small pieces. Dun dun duuuunnnn. To say it’s a little clunky is an understatement and Butler is that improbable balance of both wooden and over the top, basically whatever the scene calls for, he’s the opposite. You’re gonna have to let it go to enjoy it though and it’s worth trying. The same way Independence Day shamelessly dials everything up, so does this. Although it’s a bit more Dante’s Peak than Independence Day. The music sets to dark and doomy, John and family get secret messages from the government that they’ve been selected for shelter. Those small pieces of comet aren’t gonna be small after all. This is where this film wins. It nails the disaster film tone perfectly. It’s an “extinction level event”, the lucky few are being flown to safety, but the family gets separated and the race is on in the midst of societal breakdown and the end of the world. There’s very little extra fluff. It’s focus is the action and John’s chance to play hero. Despite the yahoo stuff, I like stories like this. There are a lot of explosions. Every other actor seems to military and the soundtrack will give you a headache, but it’s exciting and gripping. The pace is spot on and regardless of the fantastical nature, it feels unusually authentic, this is how Americans react in an emergency. John’s in a race to find his family and get to Greenland… that being deemed as the only safe place on earth. It hits every branch on the trope tree. Well meaning people turning into utter child snatching scumbags, racist hicks with hammers, countdowns to the planet killing comet’s impact, it’s a real emotional rollercoaster and half way through I’m itching to see how it plays out. I mean I already know, it’s generic stuff, but it certainly pushes all the right buttons. I well up on more than one occasion and feel the blood pump faster as the action kicks in. I’m torn though. It’s shit really. Totally unoriginal, terrible dialogue, generally below par acting right across the board. Over the top intrusive score… but I enjoyed it. Go in expecting very little and I guarantee it’ll make you smile. I still don’t get why Butler has an acting career though.