The Film: End of Days (1999) Buy it from CHUD!
The Principles: Peter Hyams (Director). Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger, CCH Pounder, Udo Kier, Miriam Margolyes, Derrick O’Connor, Mark Maroglis, etc.
The Premise: Arnold vs. Satan. ’nuff said.
Is It Good?: Not really, but it does have some fun moments and the plot is just plain odd. Is it about preventing Satan from escaping hell? No. He does that near the start of the film. Is it about sending Satan back to hell before he can do some real damage? Negative. Is it about preventing the birth of the Antichrist? Nope. So what is End of Days about?
Rape. Satanic rape. Ole Scratch arises from the depths of Hell with the single goal of raping the “chosen one”. During the final hour before the world enters the year 2000, Lucifer (Gabriel Byrne) must enter Christine York (Robin Tunney) and do his business. If he succeeds, the Antichrist will be conceived and a thousand year reign of darkness will begin on Earth. If he fails? Well, he’ll just have to wait another thousand years and try again.
Who will save us from Rapegeddon 2000? Everyone’s favorite Austrian oak, Arnold Schwarzenegger…this time in the form of Jericho Cane: an alcoholic, suicidal former cop turned security company employee. Oh, and his partner/sidekick is Kevin Pollak, so naturally verbal hijinks ensue. Don’t get me wrong, I like End of Days. I wouldn’t call it a good movie though. It has a good basic plot and a wonderful cast, but the script just doesn’t seem to know what to do with either. Everything is present for a rip-roaring good time, but it never quite gels like it should. Still, it’s hard to argue against watching a film where Satan pisses out crude oil and then lights it on fire to set off a chain reaction of explosions. That and Arnold’s hideous breakfast shake that he makes for himself right after we are introduced to his character.
Is It Worth A Look?: Sure, why not. We are mere weeks away from Arnold’s return to leading man status. While we’ve had glimpses over him here and there over the past few years, it has been a decade since Arnold headlined a film. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve really missed his (now wrinkly) badass self blowing henchmen away while cracking awful puns. The fact that he is returning in The Last Stand, a film helmed by Jee-woon Kim (The Good The Bad and the Weird, I Saw The Devil), only sweetens the deal, as does the notion that he will grace screens again in the fall alongside Stallone in The Tomb. Arnold is about to be back (har har) and here to stay, so it is only inevitable that many of you will wish to bone up on his past work before he explodes onto the silver screen again later this month. Old classics and favorites will undoubtedly get massive amounts of play, but I’m sure you are bound to get curious about the few that you may not have seen in awhile (or ever). If End of Days is one of those, give it a whirl. It’s nowhere near one of his best, but it might help keep things fresh as you jog your memory on Mr. Universe’s filmography before he’s “back”.
Random Anecdotes: This was the last film to be pressed in the laserdisc format in the United States of America.
The lead role was originally written for Tom Cruise, but Mr. Mapother ultimately decided to do Magnolia instead.
Arnold collected a $25 million payday (from an $80 million budget!) for this demonic puppy.
By studio mandate, every song present on the soundtrack was included somewhere in the film during editing.
Guillermo Del Toro, Sam Raimi and Marcus Nispel were all offered the director’s chair.
Kate Winslet and Liv Tyler were offered the role of Christine York.
Cinematic Soulmates: The Prophecy (1995), The Minion (1998), Stigmata (1999), Gabriel (2007), and Legion (2009).
P.S. – Haha, I got in and out before midnight and you didn’t, Lucifer. Daniel 1, Satan 0. =P