With kitschy character names like Jericho and Chicago (Arnie's partner, played by Kevin Pollack) and lapses in logic that any 5-year-old could spot, End of Days is a loud, aggravating movie that would be entertaining if it were intended as comedy. But Schwarzenegger and director Peter Hyams approach the story as an earnest tale of redemption and tested faith, delivering a ridiculous climax full of special effects and devoid of dramatic impact. You're left instead to savor the verbal and physical sparring between Satan and Jericho, resulting in the most thorough pummeling Schwarzenegger's ever endured onscreen. Of course he eventually gets his payback, just in time for New Year's Eve. Perhaps he was touched by an angel. --Jeff Shannon
In movies like this, we usually find an average person that unexpectedly winds up in the middle of the conflict between Heaven and Hell. But if you think about it, there isn't any conflict between Heaven and Hell in End of Days - it's more like Satan against Schwarzenegger, and God is a mere spectator on the sidelines. God always seems to be too lazy to take part in movies like this.
In End of Days, they say God's instrument to save the World is a typical cop named Jericho (Arnold Schwarzenegger). He's a typical cop in the same way that John McClain is a typical cop. What do I mean by that? Well in one scene Jericho is dangling from a helicopter and struggling with some guy. Any ordinary cop wouldn't do such an incredible stunt like that during their entire career - but it's just another day on the job for Jericho. Such a supercop is the ideal guy to fight Satan. It's 1999, and it's the year when Satan shows up on Earth and tries to impregnate some woman, so that the Antichrist will be born. If he's born, then Satan will rule the World for the next 1000 years, or something like that. So Jericho must ensure that Satan is unable to get laid on New Year's Eve. If Satan fails to do this in 1999, he's able to try again in 2999. I could be wrong though. A lot of the details of the plot are sketchy, and can be confusing just because there are a lot of problems with logic in this movie. Roger Ebert's Sun Times review raises some hilarious points.
I have a question for people that believe in the Apocalypse - why do so many of you think it can be prevented? It's been a while since I read the Revelation, but I always assumed the Apocalypse and the seven year Tribulation or whatever was inevitable. It'll just happen, and God will inflict some rather extreme punishments on humanity. God WANTS to make sure that we all get exactly what we deserve. Indeed, the Revelation makes it sound like everyone will die horribly from not one but several things. We'll all be starving from famine, dying from various plagues, and being blown to smithereens by the world war - all at the same time! At least God has a sense of humor - instead of using one unpleasant method to punish us, he'll make sure we all experience several methods at once! And on top of all that we still have that Lake of Fire waiting for us.
But this movie is different - God doesn't want the Tribulation to happen. But if he doesn't, you'd think God would try harder to save humanity. He just appoints some guy as his instrument, and that's it. On the other hand, Satan is so eager to take over the World, that he goes to Earth himself, and fights with God's instrument. That raises a few questions - how many times has this happened in the past? Does God decide the outcome of the fight between Satan and Jericho? If God is infinite, AND he doesn't want the Tribulation to happen, then why are the guys at the Vatican so worried? All they'd have to do is say "God will make sure the instrument defeats Satan - and that will happen every single time Satan tries to take over the World." After a few more millenniums, Satan would get so frustrated at knowing that God won't let him win, that he'll give up trying.
Satan has some really neat powers in this movie. He can possess the body of anyone he wants to, and exercise complete control over them (except for certain strong-willed people). When he isn't possessing someone, he can cloak himself. Or, he can make himself look like a huge dragon monster. Satan is also the dumbest creature in all of creation. With all those powers, there is no way he could be beaten by a mere mortal. If I had those powers, Jericho's chances of survival would be one in several trillion. I could go on for hours about ways Satan could have easily defeated Jericho, like why would he keep using the same body through pretty much the entire movie? Why not use a different body, sneak up on Jericho when he least expects it, and kill him? Oh well. Hopefully Satan learned his lesson, and by 2999 he'll be ready to squash his human opponents like the bugs they are. Unless of course, God actually is infinite AND doesn't want Satan to win.
I liked the way the movie ends for Jericho, and I liked the Guns n' Roses song during the end credits. So I gave End of Days two stars, even though it's a horrible movie. But make no mistake, the ending is still stupid - just not as stupid as I had expected it to be. I like most of Schwarzenegger's movies, but this is by far one of the WORST he ever made. But then again, it is pretty hard to make a good movie dealing with content like the Antichrist, and Heaven and Hell. I would say Rosemary's Baby is the only movie that does such topics justice.