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End of Days

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne
Director: Peter Hyams
Genre: Action / Thriller
Year: 1999
Rating: 3 / 5

Arnie is back! Well, sort of. I can proudly say that I have been an Arnold Schwarzenegger fan for most of my life, and I have yet to see one of his films that I did not find enjoying. Sure, Junior might not have been his finest hour, but I have loved everything from Conan the Barbarian to Predator to True Lies. That being said, it has been somewhat disheartening to watch the last five years tick by without a truly stellar Schwarzenegger film. End of Days, Arnold's initial foray into the action-thriller genre, is not that film. Nonetheless, it does bring Arnold back to what he does best - glib dialogue, heavy artillery, and lots of violence. The result is an entertaining ride through an apocalyptic vision, spearheaded by one of the best action stars of our time.

It is December 1999, three days before the end of the millennium, and strange things are afoot in New York City. Jericho Cane, a drunken ex-cop, is working security detail for a wealthy Manhattan banker (Gabriel Byrne), when suddenly shots rain down upon his group from a neighboring building. After a rooftop pursuit - involving some rollicking helicopter moments - Jericho and partner Chicago (Kevin Pollak) discover that the would-be assassin is a priest. Huh? Further investigation into this man's shady origins leads them to a young woman, Christine York (Robin Tunney), who may or may not signal the end of life as we know it. Nothing more than a typical day at the office for Jericho.

Ancient church doctrine warns of a foreboding evil, one which will signal the end of days. Every thousand years, Satan (played by Byrne when in human form) returns to earth for a chance to spread evil across the world. It seems that he must impregnate a chosen woman - in this case the aforementioned Christine York - in order to produce the future ruler of the world. Helping the not-so-all-powerful Satan in his quest are legions of followers, waiting eagerly for their master's return. Standing in his way are three factions: a segment of the Church which seeks to protect Christine, a splinter group planning to end her life for the good of the world, and Jericho Cane. Which side will win this epic battle? Can Jericho find personal redemption through helping to save the world and one unfortunate woman?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is up to his usual antics in this film, though he does not have his usual arsenal of witty one-liners. Most of those are reserved for his trusty sidekick, and Kevin Pollak delivers them with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Gabriel Byrne seems to have the most fun of all , though. Being that he gets to play the Lord of Darkness himself, this is not too surprising. He toys with lives on a whim, and he takes anything and everything he wants. While I respect Arnold's move away from strictly shoot-em-up action films, this endeavor begs to be questioned. The plot is filled with all-too-convenient coincidences, bumbling good guys, and some confusing boundaries to the devil's power. Then again, this is a Schwarzenegger film, and, as such, we come to see our hero in action. And like he has for the last twenty years, Arnold delivers once again. I guess we should expect nothing less from the Last Action Hero.

Cast:

Arnold Schwarzenegger..........Jericho Cane
Gabriel Byrne..........Satan
Robin Tunney..........Christine York
Kevin Pollak..........Chicago
Rod Steiger..........Father Kovak

Certification: Rated R for violence, language, and sexual situations.
Running Time: 120 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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