End of Days

End of Days

After a two-year hiatus that included recovery from heart surgery, Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to the big screen in November 1999 with End of Days, a Thanksgiving turkey if ever there was one. Overcooked and bloated with stuffing, this ludicrous thriller attached itself to the end-of-the-millennium furor that kicked in a year too early. A prologue begins in 1979 with panic in the Vatican when a comet signals the birth of a child who will, 20 years later, become the chosen bride of Satan, destined to conceive the devil's spawn between 11 p.m. and midnight on December 31, 1999. It's hard to decide who has the more thankless role--Robin Tunney as Satan's would-be bride, or Schwarzenegger as Jericho Cane, the burned-out alcoholic bodyguard assigned to protect the girl from Satan, billed as "The Man" and played with cheesy menace (and an inconsistent variety of metaphysical manifestations) by Gabriel Byrne. With kitschy character names like Jericho and Chicago (Arnie's partner, played by Kevin Pollack) and lapses in logic that any 5-year-old could spot, End of Days is a loud, aggravating movie that would be entertaining if it were intended as comedy. But Schwarzenegger and director Peter Hyams approach the story as an earnest tale of redemption and tested faith, delivering a ridiculous climax full of special effects and devoid of dramatic impact. You're left instead to savor the verbal and physical sparring between Satan and Jericho, resulting in the most thorough pummeling Schwarzenegger's ever endured onscreen. Of course he eventually gets his payback, just in time for New Year's Eve. Perhaps he was touched by an angel. --Jeff Shannon

Director(s): Peter Hyams
Production: Universal Pictures
  1 win & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
R (Restricted)

Jericho Cane:
Why don't you stop all this church talk and tell us what the hell is going on? Who's after her?

Father Kovak:
Well, if you'll excuse me, I'll try to explain. You know anything about the number of the beast? Revelation of St. John from his dream?

Christine York:

Father Kovak:
The number of the beast is not 6-6-6. Often in dreams, numbers appear upside down and backwards. So, 6-6-6 becomes 9-9-9. Like in 1999, the year of his return.

Christine York:
What does that have to do with me?

Father Kovak:
Regressus Diaholi: The Return of Satan. Does any of this look familiar to you?

[Christine shows her birthmark.]

Father Kovak:
She's been chosen. He's in her blood. The Holy Church has been searching for you since the day you were born.

Christine York:
Chosen for what?

Father Kovak:
Every thousand years, on the eve of the millennium, the Dark Angel comes and takes a body, and then he walks the Earth looking for a woman who will bear his child. It all has to happen in that unholy hour before midnight on New Year's Eve. If he consummates your flesh with this body, then he unlocks the gate of Hell and everything we know it ceases to exist.

Jericho Cane:
So, the Prince of Darkness wants to conquer the Earth, but has to wait until an hour before midnight on New Year's Eve? Is this Eastern time?

Father Kovak:
It's got nothing to do with New Year's Eve. It has to do with a temporary celestial alignment. The Gregorian monks studied the heavens. They were able to calculate the precise moment of this event. They created our calendar by mapping this event and counting backwards from that moment.

Jericho Cane:
It was a mistake to come here.

Father Kovak:
It doesn't matter whether you believe or not. He's real and he won't rest till he finds this girl.

Christine York:
Why did he pick me?

Father Kovak:
Because the stars were right when you were born. A man's body was also chosen, just like yours.

Jericho Cane:
If the devil does exist, why doesn't your God do anything?

Father Kovak:
It's not my God. It's our God, and He doesn't say that He will save us. He says that we will save ourselves.

Christine York:
Save myself? What am I supposed to do? Get a restraining order?

Father Kovak:
We have to have faith.

Jericho Cane:

Father Kovak:
Yes, faith. It's an interesting concept. If you read the Bible, you can't miss it. Faith!

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