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End of Days

If you or someone you know fears that the new millennium will bring with it an era of Satanic upheaval, check out End Of Days to see just how silly such a thing would look. Like the explicitly evangelical The Omega C(omega)de, End Of Days unintentionally explores the lighter side of the apocalypse. It doesn't help that it casts as its hero (and Christ figure) Arnold Schwarzenegger, returning to screens in something less than a blaze of glory after a two-year hiatus following such disgraces as Jingle All The Way and Batman & Robin. Schwarzenegger plays a tormented (uh-huh) alcoholic security officer placed in charge of protecting Wall Street bigwig Gabriel Byrne. After a failed assassination attempt, Schwarzenegger and wisecracking partner Kevin Pollak (in full stand-up mode) become aware of a conspiracy to impregnate Robin Tunney with the seed of Satan, who has taken over Byrne's body. Forced to play it straight with fewer quips than usual (though at one point he tells Byrne to "go to hell"), Schwarzenegger hasn't looked this uncomfortable on screen since Hercules In New York. But even without him, there's little chance that director Peter Hyams' film, an unhappy marriage of the expected Schwarzenegger action and Seven-derived urban grit, could have worked. Andrew Marlowe's script displays so little imagination that it even features a scene illustrating Byrne's evilness by having him heartlessly kill a skateboarder wearing a "Satan Rules!" T-shirt. By the film's fire-and-brimstone conclusion, it's become the most ludicrous apocalyptic vision since Exorcist II: The Heretic. Unfortunately, it lacks that film's lunatic imagination, remaining laughably literal-minded—Schwarzenegger spends most of the time fighting off Satan with guns—until it arrives at an even more laughable finale involving Schwarzenegger finding his long-lost faith. It's like Dogma with glocks.


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