End Of Days (1999)

Rating: ***
Release Date: 11/24/99
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Udo Kier

Yes, it's silly, stupid, mindless, and clichéd, but I found myself enjoying it nonetheless. It's the end of the century, and Satan (Gabriel Byrne) is looking for that special girl to carry his child. That girl happens to be delicious Robin Tunney ("The Craft"), and she's been plagued by visions of Satan's "coming" for as long as she can remember. (I can't believe I just wrote that...) Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose name was actually misspelled in the opening credits, works for a high tech security company and happens to stumble into Satan's dirty dealings. He ends up getting to Robin before either Satan or the Church can get their hands on her, and the rest of the film has them being chased around New York City by Satan's minions and the Vatican Knights. Luckily for Robin, Arnold's the best in the biz, and he manages to single handedly beat Satan and send him back to hell with a lot of firepower and a little bit of faith.

It's a competently made film with an interesting story, but a pretty terrible script. Arnold was looking good as a scruffy alcoholic bodyguard, and actually put some feeling into his character instead of belting out witty one-liners. Unfortunately, Gabriel Byrne's portrayal of Satan was annoying and seemed completely off the mark. He seemed more like suave prankster than the Prince of Darkness, and was always playing to the crowd. His powers were also not clearly defined, and merely seemed to be convenient for any given situation. It was also a throw away window dressing role for Robin Tunney, but she plays a frightened victim well. When it all comes down to it, this is an action film, and many plot points are glossed over or completely ignored for the sake of more bullets. Take Arnold's attempted suicide at the beginning of the film and his shared vision with Robin for instance. The action scenes are loud, fast, and frenetic, and marginally entertaining. And who would have thought that Arnold would be crucified twice in his film career? His most amusing moment would be him getting into a fight with Satan at his apartment. "You think you're bad? You're a choir boy compared to me!" Too funny. Also, to ensure an R rating, some pointless and tasteless naughty bits were thrown in, if for nothing else to prove that Satan is a horn dog. Simple, mindless action fare.