Top critical review
Schwarzenegger vs. Lucifer - a great idea, but mostly wasted, only for "Ahrnold" greatest fans. Some good one liners though
on 29 April 2014
I really wanted to like this film but for greatest part of it I simply couldn't, as, even if it had potential, it was mostly wasted. If amazon allowed it, my rating for it would be 2,5 stars, somewhere between "It is barely OK" and "I mostly didn't like it". Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.
As probably everybody knows, this film is about Satan. Now, when they are well done, films which involve the Prince of Lies or one of his manifestations can be really great, like "Omen", "The exorcist", "Rosemary's baby", The ninth gate", "True Romance", "The devil and Daniel Webster" and "The night of the demon" or at least honest, like "The devil's avocate", "The imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" and "Devil" (the one from 2010).
However, when including such a powerful player in the game, there is always the risk that things will go into an uncontrollable spin and land into ridiculous, embarassing, too weird or simply absurd ("Constantine", which was an abomination, is possibly the best example). In this film too, sadly, all those four elements are frequently present.
This is a pity, because "End of Days" had potential and in fact its beginning is not bad, even if it borrows heavily from both "Omen" and "Rosemary's baby". Schwarzenegger's character, Jericho Cane (great name by the way) a former police officer devastated by loss to the point of declaring that he lost his faith (when in the same time believing strongly enough to claim being angry at God), is actually pretty interesting one, at least in the beginning of the film. His sidekick, Chicago (Kevin Pollack) is also well done. There are also some good one liners, I must give that much to this film.
That being said, the negative elements are much more numerous and they couldn't be avoided, being simply build into scenario's DNA. Schwarzenegger is an action hero - and you simply can't fight Satan with a Glock handgun or a Heckler und Koch MP5 submachine gun (even if you add a 40 mm M203 mm grenade lancher). Also Satan is shown here as a total contradiction in terms - one second he is all powerful, the other one he is powerless and needs sidekicks to help him. The whole thing about some renegade clergymen running with knives after people and engaging in some black magic is ridiculous and the sexual aspect of the whole story is also really embarassing (poor, poor Robin Tunney, what was she thinking when she accepted her role?). Let's not even talk about the role of CCH Pounder, a greatly talented and charismatic actress, who probably needed a shot of vodka before turning her scenes, to force herself to play her part...
There was some potential in the dialogs between Satan (Gabriel Byrne) and Jericho Cane and some of their exchanges are indeed honest. The whole idea of how the all-powerful fallen angel can finally be bested by a mere mortal was also not half-bad. However, all the rest of Gabriel Byrne's screen time as Satan was wasted in quite ridiculous scenes.
For all those reasons, as I already said, I rate this film 2,5 stars. Great fan of "Ahrnold" even in his lesser movies I don't regret that I bought and watched this film, but I will not keep it. Only for Schwarzenegger's greatest fans - all other people, well, watch it at your own risk.