Volume 93, Issue 51
Tuesday, November 30, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Script problems hasten End of Days' demise
©Photo by Peter Iovino
WOULD YOU SAY THIS ROOM IS DONE IN ART DECO, OR BY AN INSANE RELIGIOUS FANATIC? Ex-cop/interior design fan Arnold Schwarzenegger takes a look at his surroundings with his partner, Kevin Pollack, in the thriller End of Days.
By Dan Nedelcu
With Y2K fervour in full swing, it is a perfect time for Hollywood to try and take advantage of the situation and cash in with the latest action/thriller End Of Days.
After a two year disappearance from the big screen, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back, just as all hell is breaking loose. If you haven't guessed by the title, End of Days does not refer to a Christmas shopping agenda, but rather to the fate that awaits humanity if evil triumphs over good.
The plot begins in 1979, when a girl is born into the world with the sign of the Antichrist on her body. The Vatican is aware that, one day, she will bare Satan's offspring, spelling doom for mankind. They set out to find her before it's too late.
Fast forward to New York City, 1999, four days before the year 2000. Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger) is an alcoholic ex-cop whose faith in humanity and religion have been shattered a result of the murders of his wife and daughter by the mob. Jericho is so down on his luck that even his suicide attempt is spoiled by his partner, Chicago (Kevin Pollack), who convinces him to pour his energies into the security firm they work for.
The movie kicks into gear when someone tries to assassinate the man Jericho has been hired to protect. The helicopter chase scene over rooftops is vintage Schwarzenegger, as he gets his man while suspended from the helicopter. When he later learns the assassin is a crazed priest foretelling the "end of days" at the hands of the devil, it doesn't take much to reveal the man Jericho was protecting was the devil (Gabriel Byrne) in human form.
The film does send small chills down the back at times, when Jericho and Chicago roam through abandoned warehouses and dark basements covered in religious symbols, searching for clues about the priest.
Later, the deranged priest is viciously killed in the hospital and a message carved into his chest leads Jericho to Christina York (Robin Tunney), a young girl who is unaware her fate is to give birth to the antichrist. She is plagued with horrific dreams and visions which have turned her into an emotional basketcase.
When Jericho decides to protect this girl, the film takes on a Terminatoresque feel, with Schwarzenegger going head-to-head with a foe who relentlessly keeps on coming. Everyone knows bullets and fire would have little effect on the Lord of Darkness but, strangely enough, that is all that is thrown at him. From exploding cars to trains flying off their tracks in balls of fire, each confrontation between Jericho and Satan is more elaborate and visually stunning than the next.
The problem with this film is not in its overall look, or even its acting. Everyone turns in solid performances (even Schwarzenegger), especially Gabriel Byrne as the diabolical Satan. The problem is a weak script and lack of originality, as the dialogue and plot twists are much too predictable.
If you like to be visually entertained without having to think, welcome to the End of Days.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999