Director Peter Hyams makes fun movies. Capricorn One, Outland, Running Scared. But he also produces el stinko. The Relic, Sudden Death, Timecop. End of Days is a fun movie.
December 28, 1999: In accordance with the prophecy, The Fallen One returns to Earth after a thousand years banishment in Hell to conceive his child--the Beast, the Anti-Christ--and institute a reign of evil and chaos in preparation for Armaggedon.
Gabriel Byrne is Satan, Lucifer himself, The Bringer Of Light, Prince Of Air, the underworldly embodiment of carnality and evil, who makes the rather convincing argument that more people would worship him--God just has a better team of publicists; the Bible an, overblown press kit.
When he first arrives, he is a transparent blob of gelatinous goo. But in no time, he finds a suitable human form: an investment banker.
In the meantime, prophets and visionaries are speaking in tongues and sprouting stigmatas, all signs of the End Times. The Vatican has dispatched an intelligence network of covert operative priests who intend to protect the innocent child who bears the Mark Of The Beast from the Dark Lord’s seduction, thusly insuring the Anti-Christ will never be born. The girl, Christine York (Robin Tunney), has no clue that she is the Chosen One, sheltered by her adoptive parents and a Zanax-prescribing psychologist. Of course, they happen in to be in Satan’s Service, preparing her to be his bride.
Defying the Vatican, an ancient order of knights decide that faith is not enough in this, the darkest hour, and seek to kill Christine before the Devil can complete his unholy coupling. Investigating the attempted assassination of his client, a suicidal, alcoholic ex-cop- cum-security guard, Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger) happens upon the attempted assassination of Christine, rescues her, and unwittingly finds himself the defender of the Earth from the Forces of Evil.
Jericho has lost faith. He no longer believes in God, and no longer believes in himself. Within minutes of meeting Christine, his lack of faith is shaken. But not enough to trust God to protect him. He’s got his Glock 10 for that. He soon learns, of course, that bullets are no match for the craftiness of Old Scratch, who, in the film’s best scene (“The Last Temptation Of Arnold”), even promises to deliver unto Jericho the thing he desires most.
As Satan only has the hour between 11:00pm and midnight EST on Millennium’s Eve to spawn, Jericho races against time towards the inevitable conclusion, wrestling his own personal demons as well as Beelzebub, Mephistopheles and the whole legion of hellish minions who hope to usher in the End of Days with the birth of the Un-Savior.
The gnawing question, however, has to be “If Satan’s from Hell…an eternal Lake Of Fire that burns in perpetuity with brimstone--do you really think firepower, be it guns or grenades, is really gonna slow the Great Beast down?