End Of Days

on November 24, 1999 by Tim Cogshell
Were it not for the fact that screenwriter Andrew W. Marlowe ("Air Force One") isn't old enough for it to be true, one might believe that his screenplay for "End of Days" was written at least 20 years ago. One can even imagine being thrilled by what would have seemed like wickedly irrelevant dialogue, breathtaking action and mind-boggling special effects in the early '80s. However, with a decade of Joel Silver, Bruckheimer/Simpson and James Cameron mega-blockbusters behind us, "End of Days" seems as trite as a Stephen Bochco cop series.
   Arnold plays Jericho Cane, a semi-suicidal ex-cop/high-tech security specialist with a drinking problem and a lapsed faith. There are four action movie clichés in that sentence alone, not even including his bombastically significant name. At the end of the Millennium, the Catholic Church (just once couldn't it be the Jehovah's Witnesses?) foretells a prophecy: He who has no name will rise, take the form of a man and mate with The Chosen One, who will bear his son and bring time to an end. This overly familiar plot is actually "End of Days'" strength; the movie is so full of hackneyed ideas, imagery and dialogue that it's unintentionally quite funny. Added to those few occasions when it's intentionally funny and that comes to a lot of laughs. Through leaps of logic too implausible to even acknowledge, Cane ends up protecting The Chosen One ("The Craft's" Robin Tunney) from the Devil, played by Gabriel Byrne (who only a few months ago played a Priest in another apocalyptic thriller, "Stigmata").
   Director Peter Hyams ("The Relic") handles the action sequences well enough, but if you've seen one explosion and CGI demon, you've seen them all. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney and Kevin Pollak. Directed by Peter Hyams. Written by Andrew W. Marlowe. Produced by Armyan Bernstein and Bill Borden. A Universal release. Thriller. Rated R for intense violence, gore, language and an intense sex scene. Running time: 118 min
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