Eye For Film >> Movies >> End Of Days (1999) Film Review
End Of Days
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
The Devil has all the best suits. The girls go limp, the guys go "Wow!" He has that take-me-I'm-yours appeal. Wickedness works, it seems. End Of Days is wrapped in millennium hocus pocus, starring Old Nick and old Arnold. Old Nick is a shape-changing bodysnatcher, who can do anything and become anyone. Bullets can't touch him.
Where's the interest if the good guy bleeds and the bad guy turns into a 40ft bat? How do you handle a smarty pants who is a hologram? The story has serious credibility defects. Old Nick, who inhabits the flesh of a New York banker (Gabriel Byrne), has to find a girl, called Christine York (Robin Tunney) and make what is euphemistically called love to her before midnight, 1999. If this happens - and it will, because Old Nick can do anything, remember - the next 1000 years are his (gulp!). Why they aren't already, since The God Of Our Fathers has taken a raincheck on the human race, is neither discussed, nor pondered over in the corner of a cathedral.
As well as being stuck with the corniest pulp fictional moniker imaginable, Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger) is a washed out private eye, not a million miles from Harrison Ford's disgruntled gumshoe in Blade Runner, who somehow stumbles upon the Christine York thing by accident and decides to save her from murderous priests and expensive special effects.
The priests are murderous, because they believe that if the girl is dead Old Nick can't have his evil way with her, and yet the Vatican has known about Christine ever since she was born. The Pope does not condone beating the Devil by killing an innocent, but there are others who do and they are the ones Cane has to fight.
To confuse matters even more, there is another group in a New York church, headed by a shaven-headed elder priest (Rod Steiger in an angry mood), prepared to protect Christine with their lives. As for the stunts, they range from massive explosions to a runaway tube train to an albino turning into porcelain before your eyes and smashing to pieces. The magic is impressive and the violence, at times, extreme, neither of which improve the story, nor invoke sympathy. Given that this is an unfair fight and therefore unexciting, director Peter Hyams is trapped in the vortex of screenwriter Andrew W Marlowe's creation. Rather than explore motive and character, he orders up another collapsable building.
This is Schwarzenegger's first outing since heart surgery. He looks fitter than ever and actually does some acting. No one, least of all himself, is asking for an easy ride. He doesn't get it.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001