Thursday, July 15, 2010

A different sort of action move that misfires

End of Days (1999)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunny, Kevin Pollack, Rod Steiger, and Udo Keir
Director: Peter Hyams
Rating: Six of Ten Stars

Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger), a world-weary detective, must fight against personal temptation, Satanists, a secret sect within the Catholic church,and Satan himself (Byrne) to protect a young woman named Christine (Tunny) and prevent the End of Days from occurring as the 20th century gives way to the 21st.

"End of Days" is a collage of cliched characters, stereotypes, and action scenes that resolve themselves pretty much as one would expect. It's to the supernatural thriller as "Predator" was to the monster movie, although not quite as expertly paced, nor as well acted. (While Gabriel Byrne makes for a great Satan, Schwarzenegger doesn't quite have the range that the part of Jericho Cane calls for--he can't pull off depressed OR religiously enraptured, and the role needs an actor who could have done both.)

The biggest weakness of "End of Days", which causes it to barely rate a Six, is that the director didn't know when it was time to start the climax of his movie. He seemed to feel obligated to cram in one more chase and explosion in the NYC subway even though dramatically the movie should have moved to its resolution once Jericho rescued Christine from the gathering of Satanists on New Year's Eve.

Although entertaining, and its creators deserve credit for attempting to make a different sort of action movie, "End of Days" is just too flawed to rise above average. You can easily save watching this movie until end-of-the-world mania comes back into style in 2011 and 2012.


  1. I have to admit, I cannot be objective about the movie. Why? Because I got food poisoning in the middle of it and tried to remain through the queasiness and stomach cramps. Then, I went to the restroom and hurled when it was over. My first thought was -- that movie really did suck! Then, I found out later, it had nothing to do with the movie, but now when I think "End of Days" I feel a bit green around the gills...

  2. Maybe it wasn't food poisoning at all and your first conclusion was right. :)

    Although not even the worst and/or goriest movie I've ever seen has actually made me vomit. (But I will never again try to eat during "Dead Alive" or "Urban Flesh."

  3. "End of Days" is one of the most ludicrously under-rated movies in the entire history of cinema. I think its close to being a masterwork.