When End of Days was released in 1999 it marked somewhat of a comeback for Schwarzenegger. 1996’s Eraser was the last real typical Schwarzenegger action movie. And while it might seem that this is just another classic Schwarzenegger action movie, the end result is a far more darker movie than usual.
End of Days has Schwarzenegger face his strongest opponent yet: Satan himself (Gabriel Byrne). As ex-cop turned elite security Jericho Cane, Arnie finds himself in the middle of a war between the Catholic church and The Lord of Darkness. It all starts when an assassin tries to take out a client. The client, a high profile banker, is the bodily incarnation of Satan and the assassin turns out to be a priest. Puzzled by the assassin’s identity Jericho and his partner use their detective skills to unravel a plot revolving around a young woman who is destined to be Satan’s bride.
End of Days leans heavily in on the Y2K scare. The nearing millennium brought out all kinds of doomsday prophets from the woodwork. Aided by media coverage of the millennium computer bug that could potentially create enormous problems the year 2000 was something people looked at with a bit of hesitance. An ideal basis for a movie revolving around the end of days during the final days of 1999.
This also immediately turns the movie into a period piece.
End of Days is one of those movies that the longer you think about it, the less sense it makes. There are no clear rules set about Satan’s powers. He’s shown to be very powerful and all knowing, yet seems to be totally clueless as to where to locate his bride Christine (Robin Tunney). Despite the fact that she’s in the care of actual satanists and this was planned since the day she was born.
Due to the absence of rules all of the scenes have the sole function of bringing Jericho in the loop whether this makes sense or not. A priest who tries to kill Satan with a bullet which is not a great plan. Surely Satan is above bullets. You can’t kill or stop supernatural entities with bullets, them’s the rules! It also doesn’t make much sense that Satan, inhabiting this banker’s body, would keep the banker’s schedule. He’s got his bride to find, so why was he being going to an office building? Because we need Jericho to go after the shooter end become part of the story.
End of Days takes mixes up Seven with The Devil’s Advocate. It takes the procedural stuff from David Fincher’s classic and throws in a supernatural element. Visually the movie also takes a cue from those two movies, with End of Days being a pretty dark and gritty affair. In one scene Jericho has a one on one with Satan. This scene is a literally watered down version of the end-monologue about God in The Devil’s Advocate. But the writing is much weaker and Byrne is no Pacino.
End of Days is a goofy movie that takes itself way too serious. But that’s also part of its charm. It’s fun to put this one with friend and point out all of the silliness.