End of Days

After a short hiatus from the movie world (due to health reasons), Ah-nold is back, and depending on your view of him, that may or may not be a good thing. His most recent movies (Batman and Robin and Jingle All the Way) were atrocious. His action movies have slowly lessened in violence, making them less fun to watch. End of Days is somewhat of a return to the classic Schwarzenegger form, lots of blood and guts, and hey, he gets to fight the Devil. With the millennium nearing, everyone and their mom want to do an end of the world movie (The Omega Code, Lost Souls, Last Night), and here is the one that will probably be the most violent.

Storywise, End of Days is laughable. Jericho Cain (Schwarzenegger, and hey, if you blink, you will not even hear his character's name mentioned) is an ex-cop, grieving over the loss of his wife and daughter. He is extremely depressed, and is near suicidal. He works as a security guard with his friend Chicago (Kevin Pollack, House Arrest, She's All That). One on of their assignments, a priest tries to assassinate the wealthy investment banker (Gabriel Byrne, Polish Wedding, Stigmata) they are protecting. It seems that every one thousand years, Satan comes to earth to mate with a woman. If he mates with the woman in the last hour of the millennium, the act will usher in the end of the world. As Cain and Chicago slowly unravel the mystery, they must try to find the woman (Robin Tunney, The Craft, Niagara Niagara) and somehow protect her. An ex-cop going up against Satan? That's pretty funny. Funnier is the sequence of events leading up to the end.

Don't even try to make sense of the Biblical references. They are twisted around (as they were supposed to be) to have a bunch of renegade priest try and kill the wife of Satan (her name and Cain uses it to find her is unintentionally funny) in Andrew Marlowe's (also the writer of Air Force One) script. And with all the power that Satan supposedly has, why does he just walk around wasting time? If he were as strong as the people in the movie said, he would not have a problem. Byrne is the only actor worth mentioning in the movie, playing a very smug Satan (listed as "The Man" in the closing credits). Oddly enough, the last time we saw Byrne, he played a devout Catholic priest. Even veteran actor Rod Steiger (The Hurricane, Crazy In Alabama) cannot bring any life to his character, a local priest.

The special effects are what separates this movie (albeit barely) from the lowest levels of dreck. It is a guilty pleasure to watch Cain fire thousands of bullets at people and things exploding all over the place. The mood and the sets of End of Days are dark and foreboding, even the church looks like it forgot to pay the utility bill. The younger male fans of Schwarzenegger will probably also enjoy the token nude and sex scene in the movie (pretty unnecessary). Director Peter Hyams (The Relic, Sudden Death) keeps the action moving at a bearable clip, until the inevitable big bang ending. Interestingly, the ending shown is different from the original one filmed. Apparently, some priests viewed the original ending as too blasphemous; the reshoot is more spiritual (if that means anything at all). Utterly forgettable, but almost enjoyable, End of Days puts Scharzenegger right back where he left off. And that may not necessarily be a good thing either.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 55 minutes, Rated R for intense violence, gore, a strong sex scene, and language

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