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END OF DAYS

SYNOPSIS:
Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger), suicidal after losing his wife and young daughter to terrorists, is dragged into a bizarre case while shot in the line of duty, protecting a man supposedly a Wall Street executive. He and his partner Chicago (Kevin Pollak) chase the crazed attacker - who turns out to be a priest - and discover a 20 year old woman, Christine York (Robin Tunney) at the centre of a terrible mystery: Satan, in the form of the dark suited executive (Gabriel Byrne) is chasing her to bear his child, to be conceived in the last hour of 1999, to 'loosen Satan from his prison' as the Bible puts it. Jericho has to find a way to keep Satan's embodiment - with its supernatural powers and resistance to the usual weapons - from consummating his evil prophecy.

"Arnie's back, larger than life, saving the world again, amidst jaw-dropping stunts, sensational effects and direction that emphasises grandeur of scale. There are those who will debate the true date of the millenium's end and some will talk about the violence and language. But whatever way you look at it, End of Days is a larger than life experience – a big budget, big star Hollywood stunt-buster. Once again, Schwarzenegger is the epitome of the larger-than-life screen hero. He not only flecks his pecs and delivers the lines with the charming Austrian accent, but carries the persona of a true star. Time has been kind to this handsome hulk – he is looking better and fitter than ever, in this non-stop stunt-driven fantasy. The story? The age-old adage of good versus evil has a new spin with Satanic cults and notions of predetermined destiny. There are obvious parallels with Stigmata (due for release in Jan 2000), which also stars Gabriel Byrne in a different role. Byrne gets most of the one-liners here, and has a lot of fun with his satanic persona. Peter Hyams directs fear and anticipation very well. It almost doesn't matter what we are anticipating… we anticipate it. There's a smouldering tailor-made soundtrack while the brooding production design engulfs us. We are there. If you miss the fireworks on New Year's Eve, fret not, there are enough explosions and spectacles here to keep your senses satiated. Non stop action, non stop thrills, End of Days delivers."
Louise Keller

"Arnie wanted to come back to the screen after a two year break (for heart valve surgery) in a really big action movie, and I guess armageddon is as big a subject as he'd want. Faced with Satan, he's also got the ultimate baddie, really. The problem comes with having Satanic superpowers - embodied in Gabriel Byrne's Badman - up against a mortal Arnie. His familiar character, this time with the heavy-handed Biblical handle of Jericho Cane, takes the entire running time of the film (minus five minutes or so) to figure out that weapons, even industrial strength missile launchers, will only cause temporary damage. What's also puzzling is how selective those superpowers can be; for example, he can appear at will, unhindered by walls, but can also be thrown out of skyscrapers. He can withstand bullets and take on the body of a human, but can't locate Christine without a human's directions. The inconsistencies are inevitable, of course, when you combine the needs of action pyrotechnics and theology in the service of a studio movie. On top of all that, the film perpetuates the fallacy that the year 1999 is the last year of the millenium. Needless to say, a big film like this gets big music, and End of Days wears its Big Music like some women have Big Hair. The good news is that the stunts and action sequences are breathtaking, which means the hardcore fans will be satisfied. In terms of achieving its objectives, End of Days is a success, an offering on the altar of gobsmacking filmmaking. And in the finale, when Jericho realises guns aren't the answer, the film attempts to put a positive message across, despite itself. (Of course he can't realise that any earlier or there wouldn't be an action movie at all, just a theological question mark.)"
Andrew L. Urban

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

TRAILER

Andrew L. Urban talks to ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

See our DVD reviews.

END OF DAYS (M) 15+
(US)

CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, Robin Tunney

PRODUCERS: Armyan Bernstein, Bill Borden,

DIRECTOR: Peter Hyams

SCRIPT: Andrew W. Marlow

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Hyams

EDITOR: Steve Kemper

MUSIC: John Debney

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Richard Holland

CREATURE EFFECTS: Stan Winston & his Studio

RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: May 23, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment







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