I have seen a lot of terrible movies in my time and End of Days may be one of the worst. I take that back. I have seen worse. This probably wouldn’t even make my top 10 worst films list, but it sure isn’t good by any stretch of the imagination. Is it a horror film? Nope. Is it an action film? Nope. It tries to be both and fails miserably every step of the way.
We open in 1979 in the Vatican, where a priest see’s a sign that signals the ‘chosen one’ is to be born that night. The priest who sees the sign is then sent to scour the earthto find the baby. Flash to New York City and the baby is born with the mark of Satan (?) and then taken to the hospital basement where Satan worshippers perform a ritual involving the blood of a rattlesnake (?). Fast forward to 1999 and the baby is all grown up and living with one of the worshippers who adopted her after her folks die in a fire. (Suspicious much?) Then, Satan blows some sewer covers up as he emerges from the underworld (was there no other way than through the New York City sewers?). He possesses a business man who then gropes a chic in a restaurant before he blows up the restaurant. Now that’s a bad dude who will grope a chic then blow up the restaurant! Then, for some reason, a security firm is hired to protect him. The firm has Kevin Pollack (The Usual Suspects, Willow) and Schwarzenegger as partners. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up! Schwarzenegger protects Satan from being sniped. Then there is a big chase scene where we find that the sniper was the priest from the beginning of the movie! Shock and awe! An assassin priest! Long story short-ish, this movie is ridiculous even by Schwarzenegger standards. There is a lot more to the movie, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the lack of surprises. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but Schwarzenegger’s boss is a worshipper! SHHHHHH!!!)
Directed by the horrible Peter Hyams (The Relic, Sudden Death), this is a piece of cinematic dog poop. Schwarzenegger has never been worse (and let’s face it, he’s not a great actor by any stretch of the imagination). While Gabriel Byrne (Excalibur, Cool World) does his damnedest, even he cannot elevate this above trash. Kevin Pollack, Udo Kier, and Rod Steiger (yes, really) really, really try with the material they are given, but they can do nothing with a script this bad. Let’s not even start on Robin Tunney (The Craft, Supernova). Let’s just say she is the 90’s and early 00’s Kristen Stewart. That is not good, by the way.
There are some interesting ideas at play in the film, though. The idea that there is one specific woman to whom Satan must boink to create the anti-Christ is interesting. There is also a lot of religious iconography in the film that is mostly underused. You know, come to think of it, there really aren’t that many interesting ideas at play after all. They’ve all been done before and to greater effect somewhere else.
The biggest problem with the film, though, is that it can never decide what it wants to be. It wants to be a horror film at times and fails miserably. It wants to be an action film at times and fails at that as well. It wants to be a religious thriller, and that doesn’t work either.
The film is also very dark. Other than the opening action scene, almost all of the rest of the film takes place at night. The problem with this is that all the production design pretty much goes to waste. And the production design is the one place where this movie could have shone. Alas, piss poor direction screwed even this up.
I cannot recommend this film for any reason. Even people who love terrible films will probably not enjoy this. It takes itself way to seriously to be any fun. Commando is not a good movie, but it is fun to watch. Jingle all the Way was not good, but it was fun; Kindergarten Cop as well. This is not fun. It is just stupid. Avoid at all costs.
*NOTE* I have seen this film at least 4 times, and it never gets any better. It doesn’t get worse, but never better. I saw this in the theater, and for some reason unbeknownst even to myself, I bought it on DVD years ago. I finally got around to re-watching it and really wish I hadn’t . . .*
*NOTE 2* I liked this better than Immortals*
*NOTE 3* This has some of the worst CGI I have ever seen . . .*
* out of ****
- The Expendables 2 (2012) review (bizzam.wordpress.com)
- Red Heat (1988) DVD review (bizzam.wordpress.com)