End of Days

We're gonna party like it's 1999.
"Prepare for the end."
Hello everyone! I thought since this is more of a approaching the new year movie that I would post it early, though I suspect you won't be reading it until sometime on Tuesday night when you wake up from New Year's Eve festivities. We already saw over the past week and change what I think of when I think of Christmas, but what do I think about New Years? I think that the only proper way to celebrate it is for the Terminator to fight Satan in a battle for the fate of the world. That brings me to today's review: End of Days. Now I don't know what it says about me that apparently holidays all remind me of Arnold Schwarzenegger movies but... there it is. Let me set the scene: It's 1999. People are convinced that the laziness of computer programs is somehow going to precipitate the end of days, and not just make some computer clocks think it's the wrong day. Having just survived another apocalypse related to people keeping track of what day it is, we can all easily relate. Cashing in hardcore on this collective seizure of brain function, Universal Studios produced a movie about the devil making a bid at birthing the Antichrist, using the only vessel appropriate for a movie produced at the end of the 90s (...I guess): Robin Tunney.

Arnold is wondering why all the characters have such
dumb sounding names.
Arnold stars as Jericho Cane (That's laying it on kind of thick even for this movie), a seriously messed up former police officer who now makes his buck working private security, and fights with alcoholism and depression, because his wife and daughter were murdered brutally in their home by hit-men. During a contract to protect a businessman from an assassination attempt, not realizing that the businessman is the vessel for the devil himself (Gabriel Byrne, switching teams after Stigmata). After the would be assassin Thomas Aquinas (really?) is brutally murdered by the devil (who crucifies him to the ceiling, real subtle guy that Satan) Jericho and his partner, Bobby Chicago (Jesus really who was in charge of naming characters for this fucking movie?) determine from the numerous things carved into Aquinas' body that they need to be looking out for Christine York (Tunney) who might also be a target. I'm not really sure why they'd especially care, being private security, but Ahnald clearly senses through his liquor addled haze that there's a game afoot. Long story short, Jericho eventually discovers that, thanks to this movies signature brand of not very clever writing, apparently 666 was actually 999 upside down, and so if Capital D Devil manages to fulfill the fantasies of every adolescent boy or lesbian who saw The Craft in the 90s and score with Robin Tunney, she will birth the Antichrist and it'll be game over Satan wins. Sounds bad.

He's just trying to protect her... no really.
Jericho of course isn't buying it. His family was murdered, because God apparently exists but likes it when devout people are sad, so he's all sorts of pissed off at the G Man. The movie's climax then naturally hinges around him redeeming himself and regaining his faith, because that's the only weapon against the debble. Only it isn't quite the only weapon. This is the Terminator we're talking about. He killed the predator for crying out loud, why should Satan be any different? Well he is, he's immortal, but that doesn't stop Arnold from shooting him a ton and then blowing his body to bloody tatters with a grenade launcher in a subway.

Okay, maybe a gun isn't going to work.
You'll find that to be the running theme in this film too. It becomes quickly apparent that this movie is DARK and GRITTY and that wherever possible, it will substitute clever... or even adequate writing for extreme doses of unsentimental and gratuitous violence, with whatever happens to be handy. The world is lousy with Satanists, and Jericho is not shy about wasting every one that has the poor sense to cross his path. This movie showcases what is very a dark and dubiously heroic protagonist, on a very obvious quest for redemption and that's basically the problem here. The whole idea is played out to begin with, and it isn't doing anything clever or novel. The movie handles every step ham-fistedly, and the end result is a movie that's long on violence and short on much of anything else, except strong Christian overtones (which I suppose is difficult to avoid when fighting the Christian devil). As an action movie it's competent enough, I mean you can hardly expect better in the 90s than Schwarzenegger, but don't expect much beyond that. I enjoyed it just for the sheer goof factor. It's so over the top that it's funny to me. Also I wanted to watch Arnold blow up the devil.

I want to hear no more of this Turbo Man!
The movie was not treated kindly by critics, and I don't think that's terribly surprising, given the movie in question. It grossed well thanks to strong international and DVD sales pulling in an estimated 211 million against a budget that's figured between 80 and 100 million. That being said, Universal was expecting a better showing. I'd like to tell you that movie makers learned their lesson about doomsday movies, but... we all saw 2012. Well, FX made sure that I certainly did at least. I wouldn't recommend the experience. On the other hands, I think you can derive some amusement from End of Days, if you're looking for a bloody way to ring in the new year.

That's all for today! I'll see you all on the other side of the new year, with content that will be a lot like the old year probably.

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