End of Days

This big-budget, loud, blow everything up film was a tad too familiar to stir my interest.

Gabriel Byrne plays the Devil who comes to New York City just before the end of the millennium to procreate with a woman selected from birth to be his mate and thereby begin his evil reign on earth. I thought he already has an evil reign on earth, but never mind. In any case, Arnold Schwarzenegger is Jericho Cane, – how Biblical – the former cop who goes toe to toe with him. And as you can expect, it’s a helluva knock-down drag out fight as Cane tries to protect the woman, Christine York (Robin Tunney) from becoming one of Satan’s family. He also has to protect her from a sect of Catholic priests who believe killing her is better safe than sorry. And, as if that were not enough, he also has to avoid run-ins with zombie cops doing Satan’s bidding.

The action’s good, the stunts are good and so are the special effects, but so what? It’s the same film we’ve seen time and time again. The only thing that captured my interest here was Schwarzenegger’s biceps. He still looks good for his age and having had heart surgery earlier this year.

Cane gets to battle his own demons because he lost his wife and daughter while he was away doing his job one day so he is filled with hatred and vengeance. Satan likes that and tries to entice him to join his force. But somehow, Satan’s offer is not one that Cane can’t refuse. The moral struggle really doesn’t hold much weight nor for that matter, do any of the other story elements. The Devil’s just a nasty jerk without complexity; he’s on a rather severe deadline to complete his mission and what does he do? He plays around with other women; he creates explosions around town just for the hell of it – now I know where that phrase came from; and he bumbles around in human form when he should be using his special powers. But if he did, there wouldn’t be much of a film. Which is why this Devil thing needs to be a lot more clever than “End of Days”.

If you’re looking for a more interesting Devil film with some substance, you’re better off with “The Devil’s Advocate” from two years ago; Gabriel Byrne’s anti-God speech in this one paled in comparison to Pacino’s brilliant rendition.

Kevin Pollack and Rod Steiger also appear.

Lotta says “End of Days” is a no-brainer.