Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence
Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jericho Cane
Robin Tunney as Christine York
Gabriel Byrne as Satan’s host/The Nameless Banker
Kevin Pollak as Bobby Chicago
Rod Steiger as Father Kovak
Director: Jerry Jameson
On December 28th, 1999, the citizens of New York City are getting ready for the turn of the millennium. However, the Devil (Gabriel Byrne) decides to crash the party by coming to the city, inhabiting a man’s body, and searching for his chosen bride, a 20-year-old woman named Christine York (Robin Tunney). If he bears her child between 11:00 PM and midnight on New Year’s Eve, the world will end, and the only hope lies within an atheist ex-cop named Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who no longer believes in God because of the murder of his wife and daughter.
When you hear the premise “Arnold Schwarzenegger vs the devil himself” its easy to get hyped. By the late 90s, Schwarzenegger was a huge star. So it seems only natural that he would eventually be pitted against the devil. Unfortunately End of Days doesn’t quite live up to its potential. It is entertaining however and as long as you have an idea what sort of movie you’re getting into, it should be fine.
I think the main problem with End of Days is that it’s neither completely ridiculously over the top or serious, nor is it a mix that works. On the whole, End of Days takes the story seriously but it does have its fair share of ridiculous moments, some of them unintentional. There are certain aspects which are meant to be taken seriously but are kind of silly. For example, there’s a moment where a priest says that when you flip 666 it becomes 999 and since the film is set in 1999, that means that’s the year that the devil returns, which is a really big stretch. On the whole though, the story was acceptable enough, it’s goofy at times and I wouldn’t exactly call it good, but for a simple supernatural action flick it’s fine enough.
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the clichéd alcoholic cop with a tragic past, nothing really special about his character. Schwarzenegger always does his best with the material that he’s given and this is no exception, he does a pretty good job at the action and even some of the scenes that require a little more emotion. Gabriel Byrne is playing the devil and to his credit, Byrne seems to be having a great time playing him. I’m glad that he’s clearly enjoying this role because otherwise there would be nothing to offer with this character. The devil here isn’t a cliched take over the world devil but for the most part he doesn’t feel powerful and he’s not very interesting either. A lot of the time it feels like the Devil isn’t that threatening, he’d get incredibly injured and than just re-appear totally normal, he’s more the T-1000 than the actual Devil. Other supporting actors like Robin Tunney and Kevin Pollak are fine, they aren’t bad but they aren’t anything special either. It doesn’t help that they have no characters to work with.
Some of the action is entertaining but at times there are action sequences that have way too many cuts. Also some of the CGI is really dated and doesn’t hold up from like 30 years ago, so whenever big visual effects moments happen, it looks bad (however that could just end up being more entertaining in a guilty pleasure way). The direction overall isn’t anything that good but its competent enough that the movie can be enjoyable.
End of Days is by no means a good movie but it is very entertaining. I wish it committed to either being a dark and violent supernatural action film or being a purely cheesy and ridiculous Schwarzenegger vs the devil film. We really don’t get neither and instead we get a mildly entertaining flick. If you love over the top Arnold Schwarzenegger action flicks, give this a go. It’s a guilty pleasure for me and I had a fun time with it, even if it’s not one of Schwarzenegger’s best or even most entertaining flicks.