End of Days
***.5 BM
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Pollak, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Rod Stieger, Udo Kier


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BIAS ALERT: I have an immense amount of fun mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger's accent. It's one of the easiest things to do, and it's such an obvious comedy bit, but for some reason, bellowing incoherencies in his vocal styling never ceases to amuse the piss out of me. Therefore, going to see this film promised to be a bit more entertaining for me than it would be for normal schmucks. When the plot would threaten to drag, I could easily just buoy my spirits by muttering "It's nahth a thumuh" or "Yaah! Sinbad! Stop jingling all the way!" to myself.

In this outing, Arnold is Jericho Kane (who, along with such past characters as 'Harry Tasker' and 'Howard Langston,' has another fine name that appropriately explains his thick Austrian accent), a rugged ex-cop on the edge. Yikes! His partner is the wisecracking sidekick that, of course, is doomed to die. If Kevin Pollak is in an action movie, start your stopwatches and see how long it takes him to croak. This time, he's up against Satan, who's taken up residence in Gabriel Byrne's body for some reason. Gabrien Byrne has to fuck Robin Tunney between 11PM and 12 Midnight Eastern Standard Time so he can take over the world. Arnold not only has to stop this, but he also has to stop the rogue Vatican gestapo from killing her to prevent it. Luckily, Rod Stieger wants to help.

It's a bit darker than your average Arnold film. Arnold's character is actually supposed to have flaws and be suicidal. Arnold says 'glock.' Byrne says "Tell me what you really want." Arnold responds "I'll tell you what I really want." Then he says "I really really really wanna zigazig ah." No, he doesn't. Arnold dies at the end, though, which - aside from Terminator movies where he's not actually alive in the first place - might be a first.

I had fun watching this. Lots of neat-o boom-booms and fiery stuff. Gabriel Byrne slammin' some college chick and her mom. Udo Kier's head exploding on contact with a fist. Someone's grandmother beating the crap out of Arnold. A really implausible deduction from the carvings on a dead man's back. Not a huge departure for the man, but he's been off for a while, and for those of us who remember Predator and the Terminator as 'kickass' movies, it's a good time to watch.

On the semi-serious tip - something I've noticed with movies that involve characters who've "lost their faith" - Jericho Kane in this film and Linda Fiorentino's Bethany in "Dogma," for example - is that apparently most people who lose their faith do so because they've personally had some hard luck... so most atheism is the result of selfish concerns - even if the concerns are a really big deal. No one can be atheist or agnostic by simply looking at the facts and making an educated decision, it seems. Take from that what you will.

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