By Matt Fleming and Jarrod Jones. It’s Anti-Monitor, where we believe some films are best handled with the utmost incredulity. This week, Jarrod and Birdy strap on their satanic feedbags and attempt to swallow the wildly insipid Arnie disasterpiece, ‘End of Days’. But before that, the boys go in for another bout of ‘Dawn of Justice’ kvetching, realizing that they can’t go one week without griping about a movie that hasn’t even come out yet.
As always, beware of spoilers throughout, and please enjoy.
ANTI-MONITOR: MATT — Arnold Schwarzenegger is truly a treasure of 1980’s Hollywood action films, but once the ‘90s rolled around he began a steady physical decline that peaked around the time that End Of Days was unleashed; it’s became evident that he just couldn’t hang anymore. However, try as he might, End Of Days is crippled by a script that should have been workshopped down to a coherent, manageable thriller. Instead, it’s a bloated mess that (while peppered with some highlights) floats toward the sort of camp that gets old very quickly.
Robin Tunney has never acted less, Gabriel Byrne tries not to mimic Al Pacino, and Kevin Pollack tries to stay awake by consuming a neverending supply of coffee. Several years of development problems, cast members coming and going, and a third-rate director all transform an exciting premise into a visionless action flick that should have been about thirty minutes shorter. Thankfully, Arnie took a strange break from the screen that has given him a chance to reinvent himself as the elder statesman he has become.
ANTI-MONITOR: JARROD — End of Days is the kind of thriller you’d expect to come from late-Nineties Y2K paranoia: it’s messy, convoluted, and just like the eye-rollingly unnecessary fear-mongering of its time, it’s completely unfounded. It’s a film so dour and self-serious that it makes Arnold Schwarzenegger — who turned into a world-consuming icon of terrible strength and power through the sheer force of his charisma — into a mopey dope who stares into the abyss by way of his belly button.
Gabriel Byrne’s Satan 2.0 is a black-clad agent of empty promises and smirking cunning, but memories of Al Pacino’s Devil’s Advocate were still far too near. So instead, we’re provided a performance so hollow, if you were to shout at his performance onscreen, physics be damned, you would somehow hear your own pain and anguish echo right back. As the 20th Century came to an end, we came face to face with this millennial malfeasance. No one walked away happy. (Especially not Gabriel Byrne.)
CONSENSUS: Sullen, shoddy, and more than a little sad, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s End of Days never once figures out if it wants to be a societal parable, a satanic horror, or a really dumb action movie. So it decides to be all three.
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