Release Date - November 24th
Jericho Kane - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Satan - Gabriel Byrne
Christine York - Robin Tunney
Chicago - Kevin Pollak
Director: Peter Hyams
Previews: Man On The Moon, The Hurricane, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Mission Impossible 2, Supernova
I was looking at my calendar at work the other day, and I realized, "Wow, its almost a month until the end of the year, the end of a century!" I know, I know, with all of the Y2K talk around, how could I miss it. In all actuality, I had noticed all of that, and knew it was coming, it just slipped through my notices as to how close it actually was. Almost 30 days, one month, and it is a new century. We are going to be so caught up in holiday bliss, that we may actually not even realize, until a few days before, what all of this means. Granted, I know there are those who say the millennium does not end until Jan 1, 2001, but for the sake of arguments, reviews and madness, lets play along. You would think that Hollywood, in all of capitalizing nature, would have used this fact to a greater extent
The story here is not as simple as it should be. Satan is returning to Earth to take a bride and bring about the "End of Days" on New Years Eve 1999. I didnt know the Bible was written in a time zone that didnt even exist back then. Thus I digress. These are the basics, but more is delved into, and it should not be. The whole story is predictable, weak and not as creative as you would expect. This is the prototype of a good idea in the hands of someone who doesnt necessarily know what to do with it. There are some entertaining sequences, flashes of brilliance but the overall result is pretty much a mess. Hyams uses explosions in place of plot development. When he seemingly doesnt know what to do, he just blows some things up, or has a chase scene. You are forced to suspend the one thing this movie is asking you to have, belief. I must say though, there is at least one tongue-in-cheek comment on the silliness of the plot. If this kind of attitude had been maintained more, then possibly the movie would have been more consistently entertaining. Its hard to overcome this, but the movie at least tries, and works in some points. End of Days is similar to Stigmata, in tone, message and use of innocence to bring about evil. At least End of Days keeps you entertained, and has Gabriel Byrne utilized well this time. He is deliciously calm, cool and wicked. He and Arnold have one of the movies best, non-effects scenes, in a simple discussion regarding past, future, and religion. Speaking of Arnold, he is his usual self, sometimes he tries to act and when he does, he falls a bit short.
He is given the most developed character, but doesnt have the range the to carry it. When Arnold sticks to the straight action persona and quippy sharp one liners, he succeeds. However it is not enough to take the film on broad shoulders and carry it.
Kevin Pollak provides some nice comic touches, but is not used enough, and Robin Tunney is simply the body, like Arquette in Stigmata, and is neither good, nor bad.
Again though, gaping problems and questions exist, if I addressed them, this review may never end, but the thing about movies like this, is that they are more visual, and less vocal. End of Days is a visually entertaining movie, that tries also to stand on a pulpit and preach to us. If it had stuck with a simpler story, and focused on the effects and chases, I actually think it would have worked better.
Ultimately, I can only slightly recommend End of Days as a video release, if our VCRs still work after the beginning of the year. You would think that the end of the millennium would bring about not the end of days, but the beginning or continuance of some creative use of an existing situation. In the haste to capitalize on the millennium craze, Hyams has made waste of some great potential. This one is a nice guilty pleasure, but not one that will survive in the memories of most past the impending celebrations.
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