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Darker than your average action film
ExpendableMan19 November 2005
Hyped to the heavens when it first came out as Schwarzenegger's comeback movie, this 1999 film steers the Governor away from his attempts at comedy and collaborations with Danny Devito and back into the sort of action packed carnage that made his name in the first place. However, where the likes of Commando had him portraying invincible supermen with a neat array of guns and one liners to hand, End of Days is considerably darker.

Set in New York on the eve of Millennium, the film shows a version of the Austrian Oak previously never witnessed. He plays Jericho Cane, an alcoholic ex-Cop in charge of a security squad who finds himself embroiled in a battle to save a young girl (Robin Tunney) from being raped by the devil (a sadly, rather ineffective Gabriel Byrne) and bringing about Armageddon. As you do.

Cane himself is not the best sort of man for saving all creation either. He is mired in deep depression, has abandoned any faith in God he may have once had and when we first see him, is contemplating suicide. However, saving the girl gives him a drive and determination even when faced with some conflicting views from the Catholic Church about how best to go about this. All of this takes place in a very grim and gritty vision of New York where the rain never stops falling, urban decay is rife and pillars of steam rise from manhole covers. It is a fitting location for the end of all creation to begin and cast a dark veil over the flick.

Of course, that isn't to say the film is all doom and gloom as there are a few glimpses of just how seriously the makers weren't taking their project (the argument between Arnold and Kevin Pollack in the former's apartment is hilarious). Plus, while the story and characters are all developed to match the atmosphere of impending dread during the first hour and a half, the last twenty minutes are made up of the kind of explosive action that strangely doesn't jar against the grimmer nature of the rest of the film, though the CGI devil at the climax is pushing it a little.

All in all, an enjoyable romp for fans of the Governator before his attention was diverted by a political career. It compares well to his classic eighties work by trying to do something different and while it may not gel properly in places, for a good 80% of the running time it does a very entertaining job.
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It Depends On Your Perspective
warren-19764 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
End of Days gets a bad rap, but I think a great deal of this is due to its initial premise. It's extremely 'cool' to be anti-religion these days, so big-budget movies with a core religious theme tend to get unnecessarily slammed. I'm not religious myself, but I do often enjoy supernatural and religiously themed stories, due to the themes and issues they frequently explore. So its success all hinges on whether you can accept a plot guided by supernatural religious elements or not. If you can, and you enjoy action movies occasionally, you'll probably enjoy End of Days.

Arnold plays a depressed ex-cop turned high-level body guard with a suitably tragic back-story. Some people will enjoy his performance, others won't. Again, it depends on how you come to this. If you are expecting a versatile actor who changes personality with every performance, then you won't enjoy it. If you like Arnold, because he is exactly what he is, Arnold, then you'll probably have a ball. After all, who ever hired Charlton Heston or Humphrey Bogart or Christopher Walken to play a part in any way other than the specific way they do? You don't hire such actors because of their chameleon-like acting abilities, you hire them because their sheer screen presence is such that they stand out from the crowd and you enjoy seeing THEM in the role. As such, you either relish those actors in their parts, or you you dismiss them as wooden or bland. It depends on the viewer.

The director, Peter Hyams (2010, Outland, Timecop, The Relic), has a tendency to enjoy very dark cinematography, and in this case it suits things perfectly. There are lots of scenes lit primarily by flames or torchlight, that set the tone. Meanwhile, John Debney's (Cutthroat Island, Passion of the Christ) score is also one of his best, and probably one the most effective 'demonic' soundtracks since Goldsmith's Omen trilogy. I would be remiss not to mention the effects work as well. Having watched the DVD special features, I was extremely impressed with how much old-style artistry and craftsmanship went into many of the effects. There was a great deal of miniature work involved, which is too often sidelined for less effective CGI these days. End of Days used a careful blend, only really using CGI where necessary.

End of Days is a great roller-coaster ride of a movie, entirely suited to the date it was made for, and has a surprising amount of depth. Under the action and excitement, it's really a story about the main character's redemption, finding himself again, and discovering a meaning to his life after all he thought he had lost. It's also a classic good versus evil tale. To top it all off, we get a surprisingly touching and moving finale, which perhaps left a lot of people on too much of a downer, yet I found it the perfect conclusion to the story.

All in all, End of Days is either a love-it or hate-it movie. It's not perfect, but I thought it was an excellent film, and one of Arnold's most interesting characters. If you don't mind religious themes, enjoy larger-than-life characters and adrenaline pounding action, then chances are you'll probably have a fantastic ride.
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Good Action movie that doesn't deserve to be trashed
wadew14 April 2001
Arnold does some good work in this movie. I liked his role as a suicidal/alcoholic/wiseass. I think some people were shocked to hear Arnold speak more than one line at a time in an action movie. ..But for the one-liner lovers you get some good ones like -- Arnie(to the devil)"You're a *bleep*ing CHOIRBOY compare TO ME!!" ...and... Arnie(to his best friend) "Stop being such a P*SSY!"

Also, a good performance was put in by the guy who played Satan. The way he blew up the van....very creative.

The only thing i didn't really like about this movie was the ending. I would have liked to see Arnold win in a different way.

Overall and 8/10. Didn't deserve the bad press it got. There are other action movies like this one that are so much better received for some reason. Religion's a very sensitive subject, so maybe that's where the negative stuff came from.
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Surprisingly effective horror action
Bogey Man14 July 2002
Peter Hyams' End of Days stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a fired and alcoholic police officer, who is on the edge of sanity and tries to commit suicide very often. He is now private security guard and traps a mysterious sniper who tried to kill one of his clients. Soon he learns that there are some very bad things going on in the city, and the new millennium is very close..It is the last days of December, 1999.

I really liked the scare department in this demonic little horror thriller from this talented director and director of photography, Peter Hyams. This film is full of effective and very ominous images and scenery and the film is very dark. I appreciate perhaps most the shots above the city and the twisted use of camera up there. That really creates a feeling of evil and that something very powerful and wicked is "above the city" and is about to get power. Hyams once again shows his talent as he has been the director of photography many times earlier in his own films. End of Days reminded me occasionally of Alex de la Iglesia's great horror film El Dia de la Bestia (Day of the Beast), a brilliant mix of black comedy and VERY dark imagery and atmosphere. As incredible as it sounds, this mainstream produced film is that effective, thanks to the talented men behind the camera.

There are some flaws, too, and the most irritating things is perhaps the cliche ending, which I definitely won't spoil here, but is without a doubt there only to satisfy the audience and create the safe and familiar Happy Ending. If this was made 20 years ago, the ending would definitely have been different; it would've been how the director wanted to, not hot the audience wanted to. That tones the otherwise great and exciting finale a little bit down, but fortunately it is not as syrupy as possible. Another negative thing that I can tell is the editing which is very fast, unstylishly and ineffectively fast and restless. Fast edits can be great elements if used right and with skill, but in this film, they are in my opinion gratuitously fast and too plenty. Just watch the action scenes and count how many edits there are in one minute. The editors should have realized that sometimes - and in this case - less is more. These "flaws" are still tolerable especially when I keep in mind how many positive points there are in this film.

End of Days is also very exciting and fast paced. The train segment is great and especially the clock ticking finale when the millennium is about to change, is very skillfully created and hold my full attention. The finale is pretty similar to the finale in Kathryn Bigelow's own millennium related film, a paranoid and effective thriller Strange Days (1995). In End of Days, there are also couple of genuinely frightening, scary, sudden and loud "shocks" that require a movie theatre to fully work. The nightmare sequences are also chillingly original and brought to my mind the great horror classics that even Hollywood sometimes produced. The demon which Christine sees in her dreams is very scary and almost as frightening as the similar character in David Lynch's masterwork Lost Highway.

As a horror film, End of Days works fine and creates an atmosphere that is so rare in mainstream films nowadays. I didn't have any expectations when I placed the VHS in my VCR, and so I was pleasantly surprised of what I saw and experienced. If we stay in the 90's, I could say that End of Days is kind of tamer version of Day of the Beast and without its comic elements. There are comic elements in End of Days, too, but those are not, fortunately, the usual Hollywood one-liners and stupid bits of dialogue. Gabriel Byrne over-acts occasionally little, but many guys who play devils seem to have this problem! He is almost as "cool and modern" devil as Al Pacino in Taylor Hackford's Devil's Advocate, a film which also has great atmosphere but is more restrained and drama oriented.

End of Days gets 7/10 from me. Great work again Peter!
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Arnie vs. Satan
MovieAddict201618 December 2005
Arnold peaked at the end of the '90s, I guess. He's battled Terminators, Greek gods, bears, alligators, planes, and macho men in fish net clothing. The only choice left is, of course, Satan. So they put together a movie about Satan and gave Arnie the lead.

I think everyone working on this thought it would be much better than it actually is. The script was in development for years and Arnie fought to get it made. It's kind of unfortunate because Arnold gives a fairly decent performance in a film muddled with clichés. Of course, it's hard enough to buy a guy with a body like Arnold being a slob who drinks beer and pizza smoothees for breakfast. Getting someone like Jim Belushi might have seemed more realistic.

Apart from the physicality, Arnold's performance is fine. He cries. He does the emotion scenes well enough - at least well enough to find bearable.

It's the direction that ruins this movie. Peter Hyams is a terrible director and has ruined some very unique films in the past (his most notorious butchering in my opinion was of a 1983 Michael Douglas film called "The Star Chamber" - great premise, awful directing).

"End of Days" is like "Exorcist" meets every supernatural thriller ever made. On top of that, Gabriel Byrne should be more menacing. Robin Tunney should be less butch-looking. The direction shouldn't feel like some low-grade TV commercial - all style, no substance.

Is the movie terrible? No. It's not as bad as everyone made it out to be. But it's pretty much the definition of "mediocre." Do I own it on DVD? Hell yeah. It's an Arnold movie - it's an automatic must-buy. But if you're not a fan of Arnie, I wouldn't recommend it - at all. It pretty much feels like any average made-for-TV scary-flick - with even worse direction.

The only other good aspect of this film was that it brought Axl Rose out of seclusion to record his first original song in seven years with a new incarnation of Guns N' Roses. The song, "Oh My God," didn't do too well with the critics. A bit of a shame, really. I dug it. It also fits the industrial, edgy tone of the film.
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Jumps back and forth from logic-free concepts to formulaic action. **1/2 (out of four)
Movie-1221 February 2001
END OF DAYS / (1999) **1/2 (out of four)

By Blake French:

"End of Days" is the first movie to seriously argue that "666" the numerical sign of the devil, is actually a 999 upside-down. Since the film was first released in 1999, the movie could not resist to throw in that little contrivance. What can you expect from a movie when its premise is based on the concept that once every thousand years if Satan impregnates a woman during the hour from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m. on the last day of the millennium, she will give birth to the anti-Christ who will bring the world to an end? I am already thinking that the movie is vulnerable to logic (is the time given in Eastern Standard?) and it will make its own limitations at the convenience of plot. "End of Days" is particularly graphic in its use of violence, but never really scares us, even with such a horrifying premise like the end of humanity.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has not made a good movie in a long time. First "Jingle all the Way," then "Batman & Robin," now we have a movie that bounces back and forth between action and concept. There are the standard "action movie scenes," where a person sways from a helicopter in mid air, where a chase scene takes place at incredible heights, where someone grasps to a high window ledge, where a subway train crashes, where a massive fire erupts in Manhattan, and so on. There are also the false shocko moments followed with a sudden burst of loud, startling music: the its just a cat scene, its just another cop scene, its just a dream scene, its just your imagination scene, he's not really dead scene, and its just maggots suddenly growing out of an apple scene. The movie is also bound by philosophy. The action is focused towards Schwarzenegger saving the world, but he cannot do that all by himself, can he? Sure he can, if he can stop Satan (Gabriel Bryne), from impregnating Christine (Robin Tunney), who was born under the religious sign of a passing comet -- and based on her birth twenty years earlier during the sighting of that comet – is the chosen mother of Satan's child.

"End of Days" begins with an intriguing, although plausible, premise. The bizarre events that transpire a few days before the end of the millennium immediately inspire our curiosity. The action sequences are also fine, intensified by thrilling music and a fast paced style. The movie opens on a good note, and the remainder of the action sequences are also quite exciting. The scenes also inspire a few questions. Satan kills many people in this movie, people just like the hero, so why doesn't he just finish Arnold Schwarzenegger off like he does with so many other characters. On the other side, Schwarzenegger shoots the devil, who pulls his shirt up so we can see the bullet holes immediately healing. When using a machine-gun, the ammunition flings the Prince of Darkness backward and puts him down before he attacks again. There are simply no rules to abide by here.

"End of Days" does not have a whole lot of explanation; it plays sort of like your run of the mill action picture with the gimmick of the week. There just is not a lot of true involvement or engagement after the premise. We do care about Arnold Swarzzenegger's character, and Gabrial Bryne is an especially convincing Satan. He is devilish, with fiendish appeal, proving that tranquillity is the most terrifying evil. Al Pachino did an equally diabolical job in "The Devils Advocate," but Bryne is even more terrifying. Robin Tunney has nothing to do but exchange shameless subtext with Schwarzenegger's character. ("You're better than everyone else, just remember that." "I don't want to be better or worse, I just want to be normal.") She is more of a plot device than an actual character.

Excellent convincing set designs appear frequently, especially near the end where the characters wander through dark chambers and dim hallways. Cinematography also adds a nice touch to the suspenseful, mysterious atmosphere, all done by the movie's director, Peter Hyams ("The Relic"). It is too bad such good filmmaking does not have a story fit enough to back it up. One more thing I just have to mention: Why do the cops always show up at the end of the movie, after the action is over. I am getting very tired of that.
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One Of Arnold's Most Entertaining Movies
ccthemovieman-12 June 2006
Despite the hokey theology and overdone action, I still enjoyed this film and found it to be astounding in certain parts, thanks to some incredible special- effects, at least when it came out in 1999. They still look pretty cool. I also enjoyed the nice visuals and excellent sound.

You just can't take the story seriously, but how many films can you, especially Arnold's wild movies? They are just there to be enjoyed, to get a couple of hours of escapism entertainment. Among the baloney, however, are a few profound statements of truth. Rod Steiger provides them as a priest in the film. Unfortunately, the devil (Gabriel Byrne) has some, too!

Overall, the story is very involving, so much so that it that at 125 minutes it can wear you. About 15 minutes of less action would have been best. One of Arnold's most entertaining movies.
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Arnold's Last Great Movie
SFDarkMirror726 June 2006
After "End Of Days" Arnold had not really made a hit. "The 6th Day" was a decent SCFI movie, but was a little too corny. "Collateral Damage" was also just a decent action movie, that suffered from some bad writing. Finally "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" was a pretty big letdown with way too much humor that just felt so forced.

"End of Days" is for sure his last great movie. "End of Days" takes place right around when 1999 was coming to an end and many people thought the world was too. Well in the film the Devil(Well played by Gabriel Byrne)must mate with a chosen woman who could bring the earth to an end. So, it's up to burned out cop Arnold to stop this plot from happening.

The movie has a very goofy story only teenagers would find brilliant, but the movie does have lots of big loud action,great performances,and is well directed by Peter Hyams(Sudden Death,A Sound Of Thunder).
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End of Intelligence
dunmore_ego23 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Arnold fans will holler in joy, fans of brainless action will holler in astonishment, and Catholics will just holler.

Illogically written by Andrew W. Marlowe and ham-handedly directed by Peter Hyams, *End of Days* gets The Terminator out of his open-backed hospital gown (Arnold Schwarzenegger's return to the big screen after his heart operation), whilst blowing things up in Mysterious Ways and blaspheming Biblical verse to give Catholics something more to whine about.

It is 1999 and doom-sayers the world over live in trepidation of their computers going fritz and losing their downloaded porn. Even as the technological stank of Y2K muttons the New York streets, ex-cop turned alcoholic security guard, Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger, with the perfunctory "dead-wife-and-kid" back-story for Loose Cannon effect), must brave theological waters to save 20-year-old virgin Christine (Robin Tunney) from being conscripted as – wait for it – The Bride of Satan. Dun dah daaaarrrh! Stupidity ensues.

For every anti-hero, there is his anti-Christ. Gabriel Byrne is the devil here – and he's out to party like it's 1999, on a mission to impregnate Christine with the Anti-Christ between 11 pm and 12 midnight, December 31, 1999 – ironically, in the hour that all porn will be lost – thereby bringing about the End of Days. Being able to read minds, conjure hallucinations and employ limitless magic, it doesn't occur to Satan to expedite the impregnation process by appearing months in advance and courting Christine as a teen model and then closing the panty raid easily at the appointed time; instead, he appears on December 28th like a Keyser Soze Terminator and wonders why she doesn't welcome him with open thighs… (See above comment re: stupidity.) Here is a movie where nothing makes sense the moment it is uttered, let alone after contemplating its veracity or mythology. A priest (Rod Steiger) tells Jericho that '666' is really '999' upside down with a '1' in front of it. So wait - *Prince* is the Anti-Christ?

Satan Soze pursues Jericho and Christine (J and C – get it?) around town, at no point doing anything which would actually precipitate their capture. In one scene, Satan recreates Jericho's wife and child to tempt him into revealing where he hid Christine. But if he can see so deeply into Jericho's mind in recreating his family with enough nuance to inspire nostalgia, why can't he see where Jericho hid Christine not ten minutes ago?

Satan can make an assassin talk without a tongue, yet he can't make that assassin unjam a semi-automatic weapon. And when Jericho shoots Satan at point blank range, Satan is courteous enough to open his shirt to reveal the wounds closing, so Jericho won't worry unduly about Satan's health - not sanitary to go about with open bullet wounds… Matter of fact, instead of simply possessing Jericho himself to get close to Christine and rape her, Satan expends so much unnecessary energy on side-projects (crucifying the tongue-less guy, blowing up Jericho's partner (Kevin Pollak) and then saving him, and then blowing him up again, ridiculously battling Jericho when he could snuff him out with the effort of thought) that we wonder whether a more efficient assassin/lover shouldn't be put on the case – say, Antonio Banderas.

What I find most precious about *End of Days* is Arnold's valiant attempts at The Method: "sad" means scrunching up his eyes and not blurting out anything in a foreign accent; "depressed" means raising a bottle to his lips and not blurting out anything in a foreign accent; "deathly scared" means widening his eyes and not blurting out anything in a foreign accent. There's definitely a pattern here, if we could only decipher it.

In the end, the devil is dispatched not by the holy men whom Catholics pray to for deliverance from apocalypses such as these, but from the atheist Jericho. While the timid men of an impotent god exhort "faith" and quiver in their cells doing nothing about Satan actually walking amongst them, the Prince of Darkness is thwarted by a nullifidian with a big gun and a foreign accent. Which clearly says something that Catholics blindly refuse to hear: that even if the Devil were to exist, those who have been indoctrinated to unconditionally and irrationally fear him would be unable to conjure a belief in his downfall, let alone act towards it. Further, they might not truly WANT him defeated, for only through his contrary polarity does their god's existence become tenable.

For it is written in the Book of Revelations: "And the Prince of Darkness shall descendeth upon the Earth without any solid game plan, and impregnate a virgin on a date which won't have any significance until the Gregorian Calendar of the 1500s adopts the day numbering which will put it in sync with the equinoxes and the Anno Domine syntax which will annoy sensible people for millennia, by which time, Christians will have forgotten Christ's actual birth date and appropriated the pagan Saturnalia festival in its stead. And the Prince shall effect a Revolution through tight purple pants and ambiguously-lesbian band members…" I can believe the people being drained of blood and crucified, and the alcoholic built like a Mr. Universe; I can believe that a giant, supernatural monster can't kill a guy armed only with a foreign accent; I can even believe that the devil needs to perform some hokey thirteenth century Celtic Druid ritual as foreplay - but what I cannot believe is the 20-year-old virgin in New York City in 1999.

Especially around Prince...
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I Wonder What The Story Behind The Production Is ?
Theo Robertson8 December 2003
Watching END OF DAYS I got the distinct impression this movie had problems in the early production stage . The story as revealed at the start of the film involves two sets of the clergy , one of which is trying to protect a young virgin from the clutches of Satan while the other set is trying to murder her so he won`t mate with her . So far so good , so why include the character of Jerico Cane , a burned out suicidal cop ? After all the story could have worked without his inclusion even though it may have been too similar to THE FINAL CONFLICT in feel and execution , but I still feel Cane didn`t have to be included while the role of the hero could easily have gone to a good guy priest . Worse still Jerico Cane is played by big Arnie which means through box office necessity ( ie box office bucks ) instead of END OF DAYS being a haunting supernatural drama it ends up being a supernatural action/adventure movie that doesn`t work . It should also be pointed out that Arnie doesn`t have the acting range to play a burned out sucidal cop . How about this as a casting premise: Anthony Hopkins plays a disillusioned priest trying to save Christine York from Satan . Doesn`t that sound a whole lot better ?

Not to be too negative the story is interesting in places , and I`m sure the first draft of the script was very moody and atmospheric until the screenplay was re-written to death . Gabriel Byrne plays Satan with the exact right mixture of charm and menace which leads me to believe he`d be the perfect choice as The Master if Hollywood ever make a big budget screen version of DOCTOR WHO . Peter Hyams direction while not perfect is far better than much of his work in recent years and does manage to inject a fair amount of mood into his work . But at the end of the day ( Pun intended ) this movie would have worked a lot better if we had an acting star instead of an action star as the hero
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One of the best...
Mat Pinckney1 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Arnold Schwarzenegger's comeback film, 'End of Days' absolutely made an impact on film that year. While watching it, I kept seeing images that stood out, and that I remembered (The Man (Gabriel Byrne) looking at Christine (Robin Tunney) in the car, Jericho (Schwarzenegger) looking around the reverend's home). This film is one of Arnold's most serious, most dramatic, and most dark. He plays the character of Jericho Cane extremely well (crying over his daughter's music box for eg.), and keeps his performance constant throughout. The ending of the film, *POSSIBLE SPOILER* where Jericho drops his weapon in favor of faith is hugely powerful, accompanied by the haunting choir music that is the film's background. *END SPOILER*

Kevin Pollack's character, Chicago, acts as light comic relief, but also gives some of the great lines in the film ("It's official. I'm never sleeping again"). He also provides a great performance in the more dark, serious parts of the film.

Robin Tunney is perfect as Christine York, with the character having a very vulnerable edge, and the relationship between her and Jericho forming an almost father-daughter relationship.

Finally, Gabriel Byrne's portrayal of the man is amazing. He gives the character a certain edge, which makes Satan seem almost accessible at times, but can quickly become terrifying in an instant.

The script is strong, and the special and visual effects are amazingly impressive.

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Rosemarys mediocre ancestor
Thorsten_B12 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The Governeur of California plays an ex-cop who happens to become part of a Satan-is-about-to-return-and- there's-nothing-you-can-do-against-it-plot. As usually, it's not exactly 'nothing'. At first, and not surprisingly, various signs and symbols point at the threat but no one can put the pieces together – that is, until Schwarzenegger and his sidekick Kevin Pollak manage to find the answers to the question marks. What basically happens here is a cocktail of 'Lost Souls', 'Devils Advocate' and 'Rosemarys Baby'. The final battle (spoiler!) involves some archetypal elements such as the ever-famous change of character (and the expectable sentence 'fight against it') and the sacrifice of the Good in order to triumph over the Evil. For Arnold fans, there is even a little bit of a helicopter pursuit and a sub-train chase.

Even considered it's nature as a fantasy-horror-mix-up, this films storyline has some plot holes. On the other hand, some scenes are surprisingly funny, but were presumably not intended to be (for instance Jerichos fight with Christine stepmother). On the other hand, for a blockbuster (and especially a film starring A.S.) this one also has some uneasy moments. Byrne isn't so bad as the Devil, a role that demands comparison which him playing a priest in the not much later filmed 'Stigmata'. As for Arnie, he's again playing the same character of most of his films, this time with a slice of negative attitude. Who would have thought that he'd ever receive a crucifixion on screen? John Debney wrote a musical score that is not bad, but he has done much better elsewhere. And so has the director. In all, this film, probably the most ambitious one Peter Hyams has ever made, fails exactly because of that: It wants to be bigger than it's story can be. It makes an entertaining video session for once or twice, but it's not something you'd take with you on an abandoned island.
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Arnie's back and the Devil's got him.
chrisbrown645321 May 2002
End of Days is the first movie Arnold Schwarzenegger had made since his heart surgery and he seems fine. You may have heard rumors that the big man tries acting this time out, but not to worry; his moments of soul searching and introspection are kept to a minimum. He does get crucified, however, which requires a bit of a stretch. Lots of firepower, violence, special effects and action deliver just what fans of the star want from a movie. As such, it is a relatively painless watch and delivers some goods. A few days before the millennium, earthquakes and subterranean fires hit New York. Relax...it's just the Devil arriving. He has come to town to meet his bride and to conceive a child, the antichrist. Biblical prophesies have warned that if the Devil has his way with a certain virgin between 11pm and midnight on New Year's Eve it will bring about the so-called "End of Days." Satan will be able to take control of the Universe away from God for the next thousand years. Jericho Cane, an alcoholic ex-cop now working in security, seems to be the only person in the tri-state area capable of saving mankind. Where is Mayor Giuliani when you need him? With Arnold on the case, who needs elected officials? Robin Tunney plays the spunky virgin in question who has been destined for this unholy union since birth. Kevin Pollack, as Jericho's mouthy sidekick, gets most of the funny lines. Gabriel Byrne adds a touch of class playing "The Man" who has devilishly taken over the body of a Wall Street banker. Great disguise, Lucifer! My favorite scene was the knock-down, drag-out fight Arnie has with rotund little Miriam Margolyes who plays one of the Devil's minions. Oh yea, and that awesome dinner scene when Lucifer grabs that womans..um…well, you'll see. Director Peter Hyams gets the big action set-pieces right and does his darndest to pass Los Angeles off as New York. That is actually the Times Square celebration of 1998/99 that we see at the moment of climax. No matter how hard they tried, downtown Los Angeles is not NYC.
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Change of ways
Benjamin Wolfe7 October 2006
Bizarre-o. Here is a truly, deeply differing role for Mr.Schwarzenegger. Darkness encompasses this story. Troubles are on all of the sides for Det. Jericho (Arnold Schwarzenegger) Peter Hyams (Director)is a brilliant director, first off. He is supreme in vision and delivery, bringing his characters and the story to proper fruition. The set up is deeper than practically everything else he has been a character in. Finding the evil prefix, seeing the signs, the coming End of Days. As the good father Rod Steiger, was absolutely believable as sort of a counseling apocalyptic, informant, with the Catholic church. He was intense and whole-heartedly right there laying it out, giving the warning, that would need much heeding. The casting for that Monsignor was perfect. I also, truly enjoyed A.S.'s performance in this film. What a departure from other characters he has played, in many years, say since the 'Original' Terminator, in 84'. A vast, city a specific evil presence. Stalking, encompassing the two investigators. A heavy menacing power, that is relentless and Hell-bent on destruction, at any price.

Finding his way around and sort of being a die hard, stumbling cop/investigator. He is on the case, make no mistake, but his own personal life is Titanic proportions. He is going down if he isn't utterly careful in every step that he takes. He is on the trail tracking evil, and he is just starting to figure out the clues, that are being left behind. The Devil, is on his trail, as much as Jericho is on it's. His partner Bobby, is 'on' and little more stabling I think, but soon trouble has come like waves on a stormy ocean, overtaking. I was really set back by this one, with Schwarzenegger, showing his other acting side, he makes good on this investigation. Gabriel Byrne is excellent again, of course. I think he has a master since of his rolls, from a solid standpoint.

I recommend this one for the discriminating thriller, movie fan. (****)
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I need to know, were there two prints of this film?
Rudone29 November 1999
Because I cannot see how people are giving this turkey anything more than two or three stars unless they saw a different version of the film than I did! Are people just overly nostalgic for the good old days when Arnold made good movies? This laughable plot has more holes than a championship golf course and some of the most wretched dialogue in cinematic history. Even as an action movie it has no legs to stand on, it is riddled with cliches. As I suffered through this sad excuse for a movie two questions sprung to mind: Is the action movie as a genre a fruitless field? (I can't remember the last one that was any good) and Will I ever bother to see another Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? This once proud hero of the screen has phoned it in one too many times for my liking.
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Below Par
mjw230520 January 2005
End of Days, starts off pretty well, Arnie plays a down and out cop (a very similar character to Riggs in Lethal weapon) and the story looks like a kind of serial killer action thriller that will be good entertainment.

Sadly it fails to deliver, Arnie is as good as we we have come to expect, but as for Gabriel Byrne i expect him to chose his roles more carefully than this. cast as the devil; this is probably the weakest portrayal of the lord of darkness ever.

This movie gets a little too daft for me, and the end sequence, aside from being very weak, is visually one of the worst i've seen in recent years, CGI is have been better than this since the early nineties.

Quite simply not good enough. 4/10 (Watch it if you have too, but don't expect too much, cause it won't deliver)
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Sympathy for the Devil
bowmanblue16 July 2014
You've got to feel sorry for poor old Lucifer. I mean, what are the chances? The Prophecy says that he can rule the world IF he can find a woman in a three hours window on New Year's Eve 1999. Then, when the moment finally arrives, Arnold Schwarzenegger shows up and kills the mood for his supernatural love-fest.

Basically, it's Arnie vs the Devil. Let's face it, deep down, we all know who's going to come out on top in that one, but, hey, let's go along for the ride anyway.

Arnie plays an alcoholic cop who... oh, forget it. Arnie plays Arnie. He beats up bad guys and he's damn good at it. You must know what to expect from him by now? As I've said, in this case he's got his sights set on the high prince of darkness. Along the way he uses big guns, many stunts, lots of grunting and more explosions than Wile E Coyote has seen in his life.

If you like the sound of that, you'll probably enjoy End of Days. If you don't, don't rent this - you'll only complain about the CGI and pick plot holes.

Two bonus points: Gabriel Byrne is cool as the Devil and, if you ever saw Blackadder II, you may remember 'Lady Whiteadder.' Well, imagine her kicking the hell out of Schwarzenegger. Seriously, she does. If that doesn't make it worth the watch then I don't know what does.

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Ahnuld in top form!
Nicholas Turner28 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know about other people, but I rather enjoyed End of Days just because of the ridiculous concept.

End of Days did impress me with its dark and ominous atmosphere. The mood was decidedly creepy and on occasion gets rather disturbing. Hyams conjures up some pretty evil and demented scenes, although not as disturbing if you've seen the recent pictures with similar undertones. The action is orchestrated with style and vigor, especially the whole subway-bit and the scene with Arnold dangling from a police helicopter. Byrne's performance as Ole Nick himself is very understated, but one gaze conveys as much evil as Pacino did with a whole monologue. Who said less is more? Kudos to Stan "The Man" Winston for the icky demon at the end, although it could have done with some more screen time.

End of Days does however suffer because of the premise of merging action with heavy religious themes. The broody atmosphere suffers when the action kicks in and Arnold starts blasting away with his machine gun. This was kind of distracting and at some times seemed rather ludicrous as well. Also, poor Arnold has to do away with evil all by himself, action-hero style, which somehow conveys the wrong message to me. End of Days is also pretty derivative and the whole "Satan takes a bride"-premise has been done much better before, even when it was delivered as a comedy aka The Witches of Eastwick (Jack is still to date the best Devil...). But since End of Days is such a dramatic departure for Arnold, the movie shouldn't be compared to classics like The Omen and The Ninth gate at all. Instead, enjoy it for what it is: well-produced escapism. Lots of action, gore and some shivers-up-your-spine imagery. Thanks, Arnold, you did it again!!!
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Arnold Christ, Superstar
dax-2021 November 1999
Warning: Spoilers
All that enter the cinema to watch "End Of Days" expecting Arnie s triumphant return to form after stinkers like "Jingle All The Way" or "Batman And Robin" - abandon all hope ! Laughable instead of scary(a Vatican Killer Commando indeed !), embarrassing instead of exciting (with Arnie literally getting crucified!), you just sit there and can t help thinking how great films like "The Omen" or "Rosemary s Baby" were. In those days, film makers knew that characters are much more important than silly special effects. I never dreamt of saying it, but here I go : Come back, "Last Action Hero", everything is forgiven !
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At least it tried...
kidwltm7 July 2003
Throughout watching "End of Days", I got the sense that the film makers were perhaps trying to make this unique to the average Hollywood action film. They failed, of course, but you have to give them credit for trying. Peter Hyams actually tried directing this time, instead of just churning out another flat action film. He attempted to inject atmosphere into the movie by darkening the lights and adding tons of blood. This method can work if used correctly (see "Se7en") but here it just feels like a cheap trick to try and scare us. Hyams is a decent action director, and offers nothing more here than basic shoot outs and fight scenes, except for the lackluster, sub par f/x end "battle". As a photographer, Hyams demonstrates actual ability, displaying some good frame work and movement, but it is nothing above solid work.

Screenwriter Andrew Marlowe is the film's greatest enemy. At parts, the script actually shows the makings of good religious thriller, and at times it even shows some quasi-intellectual thought (the Temptation scene between Arnold and Gabriel Byrne), but these small pluses are choked out by a river of negatives. Generic dialogue/characters, gapping plot holes, and convenient plot points that just happen to point all the characters in the right direction are just a few of the standard Hollywood black holes Marlowe's screenplay falls into. The shadow of the good movie it could have been faded very quickly.

The film surprisingly has a good cast. Arnold, still possessing that larger than life attitude, tries to play a depressed, on the edge cop with no more than average results. Stick to be the invincible hero Arnie, it's what your good at. Gabriel Byrne is the strong point of the ensemble, bringing a nice air of cynicism to the role of Satan. In a villainous role ripe for overacting, Byrne restrains himself and it adds a bit more menace to the character. Kevin Pollak, as normal, is able to bring at least a few chuckles to the movie, but he's done better. Also look for a stellar small role from Rod Steiger.

Hyams looked like he was trying to separate this from the faceless mass of Hollywood action films. He was heading in the right direction, but had neither the script or originality to take it there.

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it's the end of the world as we know it and Schwarzenegger doesn't feel fine!
dbdumonteil12 May 2003
During the year 1999, it was nearly inevitable that cinema devotes a movie which the action would take place in the very last few days before 2000 and this movie would be a connection with Christian religion, more precisely the Apocalypse caused by the Devil. The result was "end of days".

I was told that it was a laughable movie, I probably agree with that. It's especially true at the level of the dialogs which contain several times the childish terms, "nice guys" and "bad guys" to qualify the characters. Otherwise, I think that the movie's got nothing great, neither is it a really bad movie. "End of Days" is just a dull and lacklustre movie. The screenplay works like a common detective story without any major surprises and it contains a quite important number of unlikelinesses. For example, the devil isn't supposed to enter the church (God's house) and however he succeeds in! Moreover, the film-maker Peter Hyams didn't skimp on the bloody effects.

Besides, I was astonished by discovering that Peter Hyams made this movie. Twenty one years ago, he made an original and brilliant science-fiction movie called "Capricorn one". So, when you think about this, you can say that he must have lost his gift with the passing years.

"End of days" isn't really a suspense film because we guess the devil's grim intentions from the start of the movie. As far as Schwarzenegger is concerned, he looks exhausted and doesn't seem imposing as he was, in the past. Hyams gave him a picture of a cop tormented by the death of his family and a strong taste for alcohol, probably to get him rid of his picture of bold and invincible hero. At least, it's better to see "Schwarzy" in an action movie rather than in a comedy where he's nearly always pitiful.

A remark: "end of days" is the second movie featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in the main role to include a Guns N'Roses song in the original soundtrack. The first one was "Terminator 2" and the name of the song was "you could be mine". Here, the song's called "Oh! My God". Oh! My God, how right you are Axl Rose!
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End of Arnold's Daze
tedg26 November 2000
This picture was made as another try by Arnie to convince us that he is a smart guy. He's been going down the list with attempts, comedy, drama... In the Last Action Hero, he tried something -- self-reference -- that was intellectually ambitious, and clearly beyond his reach.

Here he tries religion, but hedges his bet by wrapping it in action. He hires a very artsy director, and a couple accomplished actors, perhaps thinking they will lift his boat. But no chance. This film is dumb, and so is Arnie, and the stuff that is done well just amplifies that fact.

The DVD commentary is a hoot, with every third comment being a compliment on Arnie's intelligence, his acting skills, his commitment as an artist.
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Where's Charlton Heston?
cmahan26 November 1999
First, let me just say that I'm a huge Arnold fan from way back; I even liked Eraser and Junior(well, I found some redeeming qualities about them, at least). I was excited about this film, despite a lackluster trailer, because it used fancy technology called a website to engender a feeling of fear and interest within me. Now I understand, this movie really DOES signal the end...of quality filmmaking. Where should I begin?

Was it Peter Hyams, performing far, far below par, even for him? Peter Hyams has always been a talented hack ('Capricorn One','Outland','2010','Timecop','Sudden Death'), but this time out it appears he was in the grip of a malaise not felt by a studio director since Irwin Allen barfed out 'The Swarm'. I mean, this film LOOKS like it was made in the seventies, with big fake pieces of fake cement wall falling down, a big fake looking miniature subway train blowing up in a totally fake Japanese monster movie way, and big fake burning window panes straight out of an episode of 'The Big Valley'. Imagine the big fake falling rocks from 'Earthquake', cross it with the sets (the very SAME sets) from 'Soylent Green', and then imagine that every 10 minutes or so the budget included an crappy-looking cgi effect. I refuse to believe that it cost 100 million. Fake fake fake! What good is an idiotic action movie when it doesn't even deliver the carnage?

Or was it the script? Obviously written with 10 year old white boys in mind, and adults with similar mentalities. All I'm gonna say is that I wouldn't be surprised if the Christian Coalition had co-funded this movie. The amount of strange, intolerant messages sent by this film as actually quite frightening.

The soundtrack should be discussed, since it refused to be ignored! It's as if the filmmakers said 'Ahem, this is really boring and fake, how can we make it seem important? I know, a loud soundtrack with unwarranted menacing horn bursts!'

Or how about Arnold himself? I can't believe him, taking part in this film. I used to love him! It was okay that he was kind of a bully, because he seemed so tongue-in-cheek. All it tells me is that he has no idea of what quality is, and that he just lucked out previously.

Ah, What's the point? It sucks, hugely. WWF fans will flock to it anyway.

In short: overbearing, intrusive soundtrack+very fake stuntwork+terrible script+poor effects+ awful finale+extra wooden hero= sadness inducing waste of time.
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Oh Dear!
google eye25 November 1999
End of days was ridiculous. I expected to see a thought provoking and somewhat controversial film, instead I saw a rather weak action movie. The best thing that I can say about this movie is that it had potential as a comedy (think Naked Gun 2 1/2), but somehow I don't think that was the aim of this particular production.
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