"End of Days"
Directed by Peter Hyams.
Written by Andrew W. Marlowe.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne and Robin Tunney.
Release Year: 1999
Review Date: 11/25/99
Ahh, movies. Maybe it's the way I get my
quick fix, the way the lights dim, the waft of cheap, day-old butter
in the air, the 4-year-old babies ask mommy why they have to be
quiet, 23 different beepers ring in a harmony all their own. The
sights in movie theaters are always nice, and tonight—an opening
night showing--the triks were out in full force.
But, the really exciting moment, and
Penelope can attest to this from the days when we were dating, is
when it gets really dark, and all of the previews have played, the
dancing soda can told me to not litter, the C-note has played his
final "please be quiet" symphony...and, the sound effects logo runs
across the screen!
Nothing screams PHAT more that DTS digital
surround sound!!! Gunfire is louder, screams of death are in the
damned room, hell, the hard-core thump of techno is in your friggin'
Phew. Glad I got that out of the way.
I was trying to reach back, way back, in my
mind to the good old Arnold days. Let's face it, peeps:
Schwarzenegger owned the box office in the 80s and early 90s. Even
his not-so-great movies--"Raw Deal", "Red Heat" (both of which are
probably on TV right now on your Fox affiliate)—made unbelievable
amounts of coinage for his studio. As many of you Bellview veterans
know, my favorite Arnold movie of all time is still "Total Recall",
an action movie that actually contained a great story. "T2" comes
real close, though. The low end? Well, if you need to be reminded:
"Batman & Robin", a shockingly poor film starring a bunch of really
big stars and it did everything it could to suck, suck, suck.
"End of Days" sits somewhere positively
right in the middle. It's not very bad, but then again...it's not
very good either, and I'm writing this review at 11:30 on
Thanksgiving eve because it is already slipping out of my memory,
the classic Matinee syndrome (see "rating system" at the bottom for
details). Arnold is playing an alcoholic, suicidal, widowed ex-cop
that is now a security guard for what must be the most important
private citizen security force in the history of the movies. He
stumbles upon a mysterious omen that dictates that the Devil (played
mostly by Gabriel Byrne, low-rent movie star) will come to earth to
find his perfect mate every 1000 years to try and have sex with her
to bring about the birth of the spawn of Lucifer. All the devil has
to do is show up five days before the end of the millennium, lay the
girl between 11 pm and midnight before the end of the 999 years, and
he hits pay dirt (oh, and we all die!).
What's so great about the movies are
coincidences. So, of the five billion FUCKING PEOPLE ON THIS
PLANET, Lucifer shows up and finds the girl in about 30 hours!
Sure, he's had a couple of lookouts (around during the period when
the girl could be born in 1979...are you still with me?), but of
course, the girl lives in New Fucking York City, and the lookouts
have somehow found the mother in a matter of a few short...hours
(six, to be exact!), and have tailed her for 20 years, bringing the
movie to the present day.
Arnold spends the movie with his partner
(role model sidekick Kevin Pollak, who basically invented the term
years ago in "Ricochet") digging up clues on this devil guy, and
eventually is left to guard the girl, who he tracks down through
some ridiculous deduction scene halfway through the movie. All
Arnold has to do is make sure the girl doesn't do the devil by
midnight of Jan. 1, 2000, and he can continue to live his alcoholic,
suicidal, widowed ex-cop life.
Pollak and Byrne get all of the good lines,
and Arnold gets to do all the heavy lifting with some gratuitous
action sequences and generally blowing shit up. But, no one blows
things up like Arnold, so I was happy during some of these scenes.
There is a scene in this movie when Arnold's character is
reminiscing about his dead child's music box, and the acting has to
be seen to be laughed at. But, speaking of bad acting: ladies and
gentlemen, Robin Tunney, who looks familiar but for no really good
reason as the girl El Diablo is after. As bad as any female acting
part this year, Tunney will hopefully never work in a major
Hollywood production again. You see, when you combine a
$110-million budget with Arnold's ridiculous $25-million-per-film
salary (not to mention a percentage of the grosses), you don't leave
any room for getting an A-list actress to play opposite
Schwarzenegger. This girl is worse than Matthew Broderick's love
interest in "Godzilla", heretofore the worst female performance I've
ever seen in a theatrical presentation. Which makes me wonder...is
this the same girl?
The bad: a ridiculous plot and a
gratuitously melodramatic ending (in the words of Charles "Chuck"
Longer), cheap black cat scares and Arnold's "acting." The good:
Arnold loading up with Glocks right before the end sequence,
serviceable if overlong action sequences, high-tech priests and
Byrne's devilish speech when he confronts Arnold in his apartment.
Hey, if anything else, you could just smell
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard