Thursday, July 23, 2009

Schwarzenegger and the End of Days

While working on an article this morning, I was reminded of Arnold Schwarzenegger's biblical

Film poster for End of Days - Copyright 1999, ...Image via Wikipedia

apocalypse action-fest End of Days. Obviously, the need to share my feelings about the film was overwhelming.

In what was most likely an attempt for Arnold to break out of the comical role that he had portrayed in more than half of his last dozen films, his leading role in End of Days is that of a dark, brooding, depressed man who is still emotionally haunted by the death of his wife and daughter. Unfortunately, the cliche riddled film does little to shake off the stigma of redundancy by also including his character as an abrasive ex-cop who doesn't play by the rules, Satan on Earth portrayed as a suave businessman, an "end of days" scenario that involves Christmas and New Years Eve, and a race to save the world that involves plenty of gun fights and action sequences.

On a refreshing note, Gabriel Byrne gleefully refuses to break out of his rut of mundane monotone acting as he plays an earthbound Satan that displays his potential for evil by being deviously untruthful and sleeping with a woman and her daughter at the same time, criteria which would wold probably nominate at least a hundred or so current and former CEOs and politicians for the position of Ruler of Hell.

There's a lot to groan about in End of Days. It is the kind of film that unflinchingly declares its comfortableness with mediocre screenwriting at the beginning, when it has Arnold throw a slice of cold pizza in a blender for a breakfast shake to demonstrate his character's lack of predictability and adherence to convention, and the proceeds the keep the intelligence level of the film's story at a Tales from the Crypt level of sophistication and depth.

Not that one usually expects sophistication and depth from a Schwarzenegger film. But when push comes to shove, End of Days is philosophically inferior to The 6th Day, less plausible than Total Recall, and not even remotely frightening as Junior.

I dare you to deny the crappy of that.

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