Film Scouts Reviews

"End of Days"

by Richard Schwartz

In Peter Hyams' "End of Days," Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Jericho Cane (great action movie name, huh?), a weary ex-cop-turned-security guard still recovering from the loss of his family. Along with his partner Chicago (Kevin Pollak), Cane works a surveillance job and stumbles into a situation that is far more important than even he can initially comprehend. Satan has arrived on earth, taking the form of a Manhattan investment banker (Gabriel Byrne) and determined to consummate his unholy union with a 20-year-old girl named Christine York (Robin Tunney), who bears the mark of the anti-Christ. Satan must locate Christine and impregnate her before the turn of the millennium, which will bring about the "end of days." Meanwhile, bands of righteous renegades hunt Christine down and attempt to kill her before the devil can do his work. A few good Catholics, led by the benevolent Father Kovak (Rod Steiger), seek to protect Christine, but Cane must do most of the work himself, ultimately battling the monstrous devil himself.

Schwarzenegger's post-bypass return? Y2K chaos? A papal conspiracy? Stan Winston special effects? A lot of the pieces were in place for a great genre film, but unfortunately too many of the key elements went wrong. The list of miscues is led by grossly inappropriate and uninspired casting. A monotone Byrne as the ultimate bad guy? A drab Tunney as the sexy heroine? And considering that "End of Days" was written as a Schwarzenegger vehicle, the character of this tortured, hard-drinking, suicidal ex-cop is a poor fit for the strong, vigorous Arnold. The shoddy script is full of inconsistencies - if Satan is all-powerful, why does he have such a tough time tracking down a single girl in Manhattan? Ever hear of a phone book? Or 411 directory assistance? On second thought...

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