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End of Days  (1999)



Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger
Director: Peter Hyams
U.S. Distribution: Universal
U.S. Release Date: 11/24/99
Running Time: 2:00
MPAA Rating: R

Ah-nole is baak in yet another big-bam-boombastic supernatural thriller. Or as Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly put it, he "kicks the devil's ass in a silly, watchable thriller..." (Right on, Owen!)

Unfortunately, the once-mighty Arnold Schwarzenegger is trapped in a film that is too big and noisy to be anything but a loud disappointment. Surely, End of Days will make a killing at the box office thanks in great part to its star power and mega-marketing. But, will it be around for another thousand years? Not hardly.

I can sum up the reason why I did not like this film in two words: Millennium overkill. Unfairly or not, I cannot get past the fact that everyone is going Millennium bonkers.

Now we have a movie in which the devil himself (Gabriel Byrne) shows up at the end of a thousand years in search of a human host for his demon seed. And here's the catch, he can only do the deed within the final hour of 1999 (which, by my count, is not even the end of the century, let alone the Millennium) and with a disturbed young woman (Robin Tunney) who was predetermined from birth to be his "wife".

With regards to Satan's short window of opportunity, Schwarzenegger delivers the film's best line ("Is that Eastern time?"). Other times, he is unintentionally laughable and almost always in some very unbelievable situation. As for Tunney's character, someone should have warned her about her date with destiny. She is about as freaked-out as any 20-year-old who is told that "He" is going to "f--- you" by a troll-like figure in a crowded subway car.

It is good to see Tunney and Kevin Pollak in new roles, but neither are all that distinguishing.

The movie is all so complex and too often, too convenient for this long-time Schwarzenegger fan who was rooting for his return to action movies and hoping for a better End of Days.

© 1999, Delton Perrodin



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D.P.

deltonp@charter.net