Saturday, October 11, 2014

End of Days (1999)

End of Days gets by simply with its premise which is simply Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Satan.  That alone is a hilariously awesome/stupid concept and impressively enough, the film manages to be good... Sort of.

A gleefully over the top mixture of horror, action and end of the millennium paranoia (good lord, that was a fun time), this stars Arnold as a burnt out, suicidal former New York cop named Jericho Cane (snicker) who ends up having to protect a young woman named Christine York (Robin Tunney) from Satan (Gabriel Byrne) who wants to impregnate her and cause the titular end of days.

Everything in this one is overblown to the extreme from the character names (any more on the nose with naming those two leads and the script would be able to smell how silly it is) to the acting (Arnie and Gabriel have a nice ham to ham combat scene about an hour in which I have to say Arnie wins by screaming "You're nothing but a choir boy compared to me!  A choir boy!" at the top of his vocal range) to the rather impressive amount of darkness director and DP Peter Hyams is able to bathe every scene in.  Even the daytime stuff is kind of dark.

 This was Arnold's first film since the wet, smelly fart that was Batman and Robin and to be fair, it a marked improvement over the former.  It's well put together, the action and horror blend together rather nicely and the novelty of seeing the big guy vs. evil incarnate is used to its fullest advantage.  It is also blessed with one of the dumbest scripts I have ever had the pleasure of seeing played out in front of me.

We got a cadre of fanatical Catholic priests sent to kill Christine before Old Scratch can get to her; Rod Steiger as a more helpful member of the diocese who informs our brawny hero that the whole 666 thing is actually 999 by way of an explanation so dumb even the worst math student would question it, Kevin Pollak providing some fairly nice comic relief (doesn't bust out the Christopher Walken impression though, sadly), Arnold trying with every fiber in his being to play an emotionally troubled man grieving for his murdered family (which boils down to not shaving for a few days and drinking more than usual), subsequently being out acted by everyone else including the Stan Winston designed CGI demon that appears at the end and Gabriel Byrne walking off with the whole damn thing in the most casual manner imaginable.

And Robin Tunney?  Well, uh, she's cute.  Really more of a plot device than anything else but still, cute nonetheless.

End of Days is a big, loud, utterly stupid and yet utterly entertaining piece of crap.  It's a true guilty pleasure of the highest order.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.