Friday, July 5, 2013

End of Days (1999) Review:

It's understandable that over time Arnold Schwarzenegger has become one the most popular actioneer actors in Hollywood. Whenever he was cast as a good guy, he would be unbeatable, if not immortal. The prime example of this kind of aura that Mr. Schwarzenegger has established for himself is in the movie Commando (1985). And for most viewers, it is easy to suspend our belief when it comes to that, and come up with various explanations to how he can withstand such bodily strain and continue to push forward. The reason behind this was that Schwarzenegger was fighting ordinary people. But this crosses the line on believability.

An older looking Schwarzenegger
The story is about the ever popular "End of the World" prophecy that got nearly everybody cringing on New Year's Eve of 1999, where the devil is predicted on returning to open the gates of hell. Thankfully there's Schwarzenegger, playing a depressed ex-cop, Jericho Cane, who lost his family to some no-name robbers and now plays by his own game. But seriously, Schwarzenegger is going to save the day? How does a human being stop a supernatural force like the devil? That should be impossible! Well apparently not, but I still found the whole concept flawed.

Character wise, Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't even give a truly convincing performance. It's obvious that he put on some weight too since his last appearance in Batman & Robin (1997). Plus, most Schwarzenegger films have good one liners, I only laughed at one here. His performance was just dry. Playing the devil is Gabriel Byrne and he's even worse. For the majority of the film, Byrne will just walk around with a smirk on his face blowing up things or killing people. He's not menacing at all. However, there was one good scene between Byrne and Schwarzenegger when the devil tempted Cane into joining him. That was interesting, but the rest was slow dialog. The writer, Andrew W. Marlowe who also wrote the script to Hollow Man (2000) didn't do a good job here.

Gabriel Byrne as the Devil
The makeup effects I do favor along the various horror elements that were randomly inserted in the movie. Those were okay, and I say "okay" because they weren't scary but it was ugly visuals, which makes them horrific. Even special effects master, Stan Winston headed the creature effects, which I was happy to see. However, the effects used even in here were almost barely on screen. I also didn't understand some of the editing in this movie. There was an alley fight scene and some of the shots switched out too often too quickly. That was frustrating to sit through.

Lastly, the score John Debney composed wasn’t great either. There was a theme, which is fine, but it wasn't memorable. There was also a motif for the devil but honestly that particular tune was more annoying. Every time it played, the audience will know the devil is coming but it's so annoying that audiences will roll their eyes when they hear it, instead of cringing in fear. Also, the tracks that covered the action scenes were too generic, there was nothing that made me sit on the edge of my seat hoping for the best. The music wasn’t compelling. This movie works in some places but not many. The people who will enjoy it the most are the Schwarzenegger fans.

Schwarzenegger's acting is plain, the action is generic and the music is too formulaic. What makes it worse is that the story is way too unrealistic. There is very little that works here.

Points Earned --> 3:10

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