END OF DAYS
End of Arnold?
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel
Byrne, Robin Tunney, & Kevin
Audience: Older teenagers & adults
Runtime: 121 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Peter Hyams
Executive Producer: Marc Abraham & Thomas A. Bliss
Producer: Armyan Bernstein & Bill Borden
Writer: Andrew W. Marlowe
Address Comments To:Chris McGurk, president
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
The gimmick of the movie is that, every thousand years, Satan gets out of his prison (see Revelation 20:7 - "when the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison"). When he does, he possesses the body of a selected man so he can fornicate with a chosen woman. As the Roman Catholic officials explain cryptically in the movie, this somehow will give Satan power to destroy all of mankind and, hence, foil God's holy plan for His people. This is never really explained adequately in the movie, although the production notes say that the coupling of Satan with a woman will produce the notorious "Anti-Christ."
Swarzenegger's character Jericho at first doesn't understand the bizarre, violent things happening around him. As he investigates, however, he runs into a small group of priests led by Father Kovak. Kovak, played by Rod Steiger, advises Jericho to mind his own business, partly because Jericho has lost his faith in God since some criminals brutally murdered Jericho's wife and daughter several years ago. Jericho, however, soon finds out that Satan has possessed the body of a Wall Street banker, played by Gabriel Byrne. Jericho also learns that Satan is after a young woman named Christine York, played by Robin Tunney. He feels the need to protect this woman, and eventually Father Kovak spills the beans to him. Satan manages, however, to capture Christine while his thugs beat up Jericho. Nursed back to health by Father Kovak, Jericho engages in a final bloody battle of wills with Satan.
END OF DAYS is not a very engaging thriller, partly because Satan is just another particularly brutal movie monster, albeit with special powers and lots of religious connotations. The confrontations are kind of silly and at times seem intentionally reminiscent of the story in THE EXORCIST and its movie sequels. Arnold Schwarzenegger has little of the panache that made his earlier B movies so much fun. The physical challenges he faces are nothing that viewers really haven't seen him do before, with much better style. It doesn't help matters that director Peter Hyams (2010 and THE PRESIDIO) is, except perhaps for NARROW MARGIN starring Gene Hackman, pretty much of a Hollywood hack. Hyams should stop directing movies at once before he does further damage to the great history of cinema.
To its credit, END OF DAYS endorses the importance of having faith in God. There are scenes of the Pope urging his colleagues to have faith. Ultimately, Jericho himself regains some faith in God. Near the end of the movie, he even prays to God for strength while he stands before a statue of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Although Father Kovak says a throwaway line about God wanting us to save ourselves, he also urges people to have faith in God. Of course, the powers that Satan displays in this movie are not biblical. Satan cannot possess the body or soul of a person unless that person invites him, nor can he manipulate objects like he does so powerfully in END OF DAYS. Also, nowhere does the Bible prophecy, not even in Revelation 20:7 and its following verses, that Satan can destroy mankind and foil God's ultimate plan for His people by fornicating with a young woman and producing the Anti-Christ.
What is so offensive about END OF DAYS, however, is not its distortion of Chapter 20 in Revelation or the fact that Satan displays stronger powers than he really has (though these are bad enough). No, what is most offensive is that the movie combines a story containing positive Christian themes and references to the Bible with scenes that include graphic sex, some nudity and lots of extreme, nasty violence that a few evil people and impressionable teenagers may want to emulate.
Thus, despite the fact that God does indeed seem to give Jericho strength to defeat Satan at the end of the movie, this is not a movie that anyone should rush out to see. If you must have your Ah-nold fix, you probably would do better by just renting one of his earlier movies instead.
END OF DAYS is not a very engaging thriller, partly because Satan is just another particularly brutal movie monster, albeit with special powers and lots of religious connotations, some of which are false. Arnold Schwarzenegger has little of the panache that made his earlier B movies so much fun. The physical challenges he faces are nothing that viewers haven't seen him do before, with much better style. In reality, of course, Satan does not have the kind of powers this movie gives him. What is most offensive, however, is that a story containing some positive Christian themes and references to the Bible includes scenes with graphic sex, a little nudity and extreme, nasty violence that a few evil people and impressionable teenagers may try to emulate.