End of Days (film)

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End of Days
End of days ver5.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Hyams
Produced byArmyan Bernstein
Bill Borden
Written byAndrew W. Marlowe
Starring
Music byJohn Debney
CinematographyPeter Hyams
Edited bySteven Kemper
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
November 24, 1999 (USA)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$100 million[1]
Box office$212 million[1]

End of Days is a 1999 American supernatural action horror film directed by Peter Hyams and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger, CCH Pounder, and Udo Kier.[2] The film follows former New York Police Department detective Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger) after he saves a banker (Byrne) from an assassin, finds himself embroiled in a religious conflict, and must protect an innocent young woman (Tunney) who is chosen by evil forces to conceive the Antichrist with Satan.

The film was released by Universal Pictures on November 24, 1999. It has grossed $66.9 million in North America and $145.1 million elsewhere, for a worldwide total of $212 million. The film received mainly negative reviews.

Plot[edit]

In 1979, the Pope sends a priest on a mission to find and protect a girl (Christine York) identified in New York by Satanists as one chosen to be the mother of Satan's child after witnessing a comet arching over the moon at the Vatican. However, a few Vatican knights (led by a corrupt cardinal) insist that she must die.

In late 1999, Satan possesses an investment banker in a restaurant before destroying the restaurant and killing many inside. Suicidal and alcoholic former police detective Jericho Cane, depressed since his wife and daughter's contract killings, works for a private security company and blames God for his plight. Jericho and co-worker Bobby Chicago are assigned to protect the possessed banker. A priest, Thomas Aquinas, unsuccessfully tries to kill the banker. Jericho captures Aquinas, who tells Jericho: "The thousand years has ended, the dark angel is loosed from his prison" and says that a girl is central. Jericho shoots Aquinas, who is arrested by the New York Police Department. Marge Francis, an NYPD detective and Jericho's former colleague, tells him that Aquinas has no tongue.

Jericho and Bobby investigate on their own, going to Aquinas' apartment, where they find his tongue in a jar and messages and symbols written in apparent blood on the walls. Marge arrives, forcing them to leave but revealing that Aquinas was trained at the Vatican and sent to New York before disappearing. Jericho questions Father Kovak, a priest who knew Aquinas. Kovak says that Aquinas was driven mad by forces an atheist could not understand. Satan enters Aquinas' hospital, and crucifies him on the ceiling. After he is brought down and presumed dead, Aquinas wakes up, grabs a syringe to attack Jericho, but is instantly shot by one of the police officers. Jericho and Chicago see Latin words and "Christ in New York" carved into Aquinas' skin, and begin searching for Christine York.

Jericho and Chicago find Christine in her apartment, saving her from the Vatican knights, and Mabel (Christine's guardian) refuses to let her escape after Satan arrives. Satan blows up Chicago's van, killing him and setting the apartment on fire, while Mabel attacks Jericho, nearly overwhelming him with her unnatural strength. Jericho is able to defeat her in the fight, and he and Christine flee the burning apartment. Satan kills Mabel for her failure; Marge and another officer, both revealed to be Satanists, tell Jericho to surrender Christine. Jericho instead pretends to surrender before he kills them, escaping with Christine, but Satan soon resurrects Marge to rally the other Satanists in New York. Taking refuge in the church, Father Kovak tells Jericho and Christine that Satan must impregnate her between 11 pm and midnight on New Year's Eve to usher in the "end of days". Despite Jericho's skepticism, Christine accepts Kovak's protection, and Jericho returns to his apartment.

Satan then appears in Jericho's apartment and tries to tempt him into giving up Christine in exchange for having his dead family back. Jericho resists his temptations and, after a struggle, throws Satan through his apartment window. Treating an injury sustained to his hand, Chicago appears at his apartment soon after. Skeptical of his claims of survival, Jericho shoots Chicago in the arm to test if Satan has returned in Chicago's body. Satisfied that it is Chicago after he bleeds normally, the two agree to retrieve Christine from the church and get her to safety.

At the church, Jericho arrives in time to stop the cardinal and his knights from killing Christine, before Satan appears and kills the Vatican clergy. Chicago kidnaps Christine and betrays Jericho, leaving him to be beaten by a mob of Satanists, revealing that he is in league with Satan. Satan then has Jericho crucified and left to live long enough to see the end of days first hand. After Satan leaves, Kovak subsequently finds and rescues Jericho, and Jericho arms himself and tracks down the Satanists to their lair. Jericho rescues Christine and again kills Marge. Jericho successfully persuades Chicago to fight off Satan's influence, only for Satan to burn Chicago to death for breaking their deal. Jericho and Christine escape the burning lair into a subway tunnel. Satan appears on the tracks and begins attempting to board the train, killing the driver. Jericho separates the two train cars to get away from him before firing a grenade at Satan, destroying the train car he was in. As they flee, Satan is forced to abandon the banker's now destroyed body for a new host.

Jericho and Christine escape to another church, where he renews his faith in God and prays for strength. Satan confronts Jericho as a massive, winged creature and possesses him. Satan in Jericho's body attempts to rape Christine, but Jericho is able to resist Satan long enough to tell Christine to flee. Jericho then deliberately impales himself on a sword protruding from a broken statue of Archangel Michael, sacrificing himself to stop Satan's plan. At the stroke of midnight, God frees Jericho and sends Satan back to hell while the world celebrates the new millennium. Jericho and Christine see his wife and daughter waiting for him in the afterlife. Jericho dies peacefully, and Christine tearfully thanks him for saving her life. Afterwards, the police and ambulance arrive to take Jericho's body away.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Directors Sam Raimi and Guillermo del Toro were offered End of Days, but turned it down due to other projects. Marcus Nispel was going to direct the film, but he left because of budget and script problems and was replaced by Peter Hyams.

The role of Jericho Cane was written for Tom Cruise, but he chose to work on Magnolia and Arnold Schwarzenegger was then cast. Liv Tyler was the first choice for the role of Christine York, but she declined over contractual issues. Kate Winslet was then set to play the character, but she dropped out and Robin Tunney replaced her. According to Hyams,

Jim Cameron was the kind of godfather of me doing that film, because of his relationship with Schwarzenegger. He told me I was doing it! ... End Of Days was going to be Marcus Nispel, but it wasn't working somehow, but they had Arnold and a start date, and Jim came to me and told me I had to do it. This was the first picture Arnold had made for a couple of years. I think he had a heart thing. So this was Arnold coming back. And he wanted to try to make something good, and to take some chances. I applauded that. And we had very, very good actors around him, like Gabriel Byrne and Kevin Pollak and Rod Steiger. It was a very enjoyable experience. Half way through shooting I told Arnold I thought he should die in this movie. Of course Universal blanched at the idea, so I shot the ending both ways, and everybody agreed that the dying ending was the better one.[3]

Alternate ending[edit]

Jericho dies, and Christine tearfully embraces his body and thanks him for saving her life. Suddenly, God removes the sword from Jericho's body and heals his wounds, bringing him back to life. Christine is surprised and glad Jericho is back, and they embrace before leaving the church together.

Music[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

The film's soundtrack primarily contains tracks by industrial rock and alternative metal bands. It features the first song released by the "new line-up" of Guns N' Roses, which is "Oh My God". During the editing of End of Days, soundtrack songs were overlaid in scenes that are usually silent in thriller films. In several scenes, a sample from Spectrasonics' "Symphony of Voices" is heard. The score for the film is composed by John Debney and conducted by Pete Anthony.

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

End of Days received mainly negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 11%, based on reviews from 101 critics. The site's consensus states: "An overblown thriller with formulaic action scenes and poor acting."[4] Metacritic gives it an average score of 33/100, based on reviews from 33 critics.[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

The film grossed $66,889,043 in the United States and about $212 million worldwide,[1] against a budget estimated at $100 million. Although it was profitable because of strong international revenue and DVD sales, its final numbers fell short of Universal Studios' expectations. Schwarzenegger received a salary of $25 million for his role in the film.[7]

End of Days was nominated for three Razzie Awards—Worst Actor (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Worst Supporting Actor (Gabriel Byrne) and Worst Director (Peter Hyams)—and was pre-nominated for Worst Picture, but it was withdrawn shortly before the awards ceremony.[citation needed]

Schwarzenegger later said he thought Hyams was "the wrong director" for the film. "He did not have the potential… I think visually and intellectually to really do something with that movie, but he was recommended by James Cameron, so we thought "Well he must know.""[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "End of Days". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 24, 1999). "'End of Days': Satan Is Planning Millennial Mischief". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Peter Hyams Film by Film" Empire accessed 30 July 2014
  4. ^ "End of Days". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  5. ^ "End of Days". Metacritic. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  6. ^ "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com.
  7. ^ "Arnold Schwarzenegger". The Numbers. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
  8. ^ Knowles, Harry (November 10, 2012). "Harry interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on the set of THE LAST STAND. We cover a lot of ground!". Aint It Cool News.

External links[edit]