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Thursday, August 6, 1998 Published at 02:00 GMT 03:00 UK


Armageddon comes late to London

Bruce Willis on a mission to save the world

The end of the world was late but nobody seemed to mind at the star-studded London premiere of Armageddon.

Stragglers were still arriving for the screening 10 minutes after the doomsday countdown clock in the Odeon, Leicester Square foyer had reached zero hour.

[ image: A-list guests James Major and Emma Noble]
A-list guests James Major and Emma Noble
Former UK Prime Minister's son James Major and his fiancée Emma Noble, All Saints singers Shaznay Lewis and Melanie Blatt and supermodel Jodie Kidd were among the celebrity guests.

But the film's star, Bruce Willis, did not show for Wednesday night's premiere. He cancelled his promotional schedule after news of his marriage break-up from Demi Moore.

Despite being slated by critics, Armageddon has recouped its $90m cost in just one month of ticket sales.

The story of a killer asteroid heading for earth, has left behind Godzilla, Deep Impact and Lost in Space.

Willis leads a maverick team of blue collar oil workers who turn out to be the world's best chance of salvation in the Michael Bay-directed movie.

[ image: Jodie Kidd poses with Armageddon astronaut]
Jodie Kidd poses with Armageddon astronaut
The film, which hits Britain's screens on Friday, has been savaged by critics who laughed out loud at the film's tear-jerking climax at a Cannes Film Festival preview.

But Armageddon's British star Jason Isaacs, who attended the London premiere, was quick to hit back.

"I don't think Michael or Bruce make films for the critics. It is not high art, it is high testosterone entertainment," he said.

As Earth-bound Professor Quincy, he regretted he did not get any of the film's Nasa-advised stunts enjoyed by the other characters.

"They got to do all the things that kids in playgrounds all over the world want to do, and they got paid millions of dollars for it,'' Isaacs said.

"It is a rollercoaster ride that starts from the beginning of the picture and just keeps getting faster."

[ image: Action fan Ian Wright arrives at premiere]
Action fan Ian Wright arrives at premiere
Jodie Kidd said she would rather listen to what friends thought of a film than the critics.

"I was brought up on science fiction and I love Bruce Willis," she added.

Footballer Ian Wright, recently signed to West Ham, also gave the thumbs up. "I like all the monster-coming-to-town and world-going-to-end and special effects - I just love it."

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