End of Days (1999)

reviewed by
John Beachem


Review by John Beachem
* * * 1/2
Directed by: Peter Hyams
Written by: Andrew Marlowe

The ability to suspend ones disbelief is a vital trait when attending a Schwarzengger movie. However, due to the absence of a good film from the big Austrian for quite some time, people seem to have forgotten this. The biggest complaint I hear about "End of Days" is that it was unbelievable. I'm sorry, but I personally believe it is incredibly naive to expect Arnold to appear in a realistic film.

Twenty years ago, a newborn girl was chosen by a Satanic cult to be the one who would bear the child of Satan. Now, young Christine (Robin Tunney) is grown up and is being stalked by three different groups: Two church factions, one intent on killing her; and the other, led by Father Kovak (Rod Steiger), attempting to protect and hide her; the third party is Satan himself, possessing the body of a Wall Street banker (Gabriel Byrne). Drawn into the conflict are Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Chicago (Kevin Pollak), two bodyguards hired by the man they do not know to be Satan. As Cane is drawn deeper and deeper into the conflict, he learns that Christine must not be impregnated or the world will come to an end.

If you don't like Arnold movies, chances are you already know to steer clear of this one. If this somehow hasn't occured to you, let me reassure you that this is a Schwarzenegger film in the truest sense, so stay far away. Being a typical film of the Schwarzenegger genre, this movie is a whole lot of fun, but be sure to leave your brain and sense of logic at the door. There are more plot holes here than I can begin to count. This movie isn't about plot though. It's about fight scenes, explosions and special effects. These are certainly present in abundance.

On the down side, the acting here is certainly less than phenomenal from the leads. As all know, Arnold isn't going to get any Oscar nominations in the near future. However, he is charismatic enough to get away with this. Robin Tunney, on the other hand, is likely to get nominated for at least one award, and that's the Razzie. Not only is she laughably bad in this role, but she looks utterly dumbfounded as to what she's supposed to be doing half the time. As for the rest of the cast, Rod Steiger is as good as ever; Kevin Pollak is certainly in his element as a smart alec of a side-kick; and CCH Pounder, a remarkable actress, is woefully underused as a police detective. The real standout performance here comes from Gabriel Byrne as The Man (this is how he's credited) himself. Byrne simply oozes charm and authority. Watch for a scene in which he meets a skateboarder who disrespects him.

"End of Days" is mindless movie fun nearly at its best. It doesn't quite make it because the film does border on being too mindless at times. Some of the scenes we are expected to swallow will have you gawking at the screen in disbelief (such as how Cane discovers the existence of Christine). If you think you can get past this, just sit back, relax, and enjoy. "End of Days" runs a touch too long at 120 minutes. I give it three and a half stars, and a recommendation to catch a matinee.

Feel free to e-mail with comments at: JABII@aol.com

* * * * * - One of the greatest movies ever made, see it now. * * * * - Great flick. Try and catch this one. * * * - Okay movie, hits and misses. * * - Pretty bad. See it if you've got nothing better to do. * - One of the worst movies ever. See it only if you enjoy pain.


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