All we needed was another "end of millenium were all going to die" movie. Actually this one is not so bad. A lot of the elements in this film seem very familiar. These elements are stirred together to give an interesting result.
The plot is pretty basic. The end of the millenium approaches and the devil has a chance to break from his prison. If he couples with "the chosen one" he can bring about the "end of days" which is basically the end of life as we know it. There are those who want him to succeed and of course those who do not. The number of folks who are even aware of the situation is limited pretty much to those who work for the devil on one hand and the Catholic Church on the other.
There are MANY elements of this film that remind me of the much earlier film series The Omen (II, III, IV). There is a lot of mystery surrounding the birth of a special child who is to grow up to fulfill a special destiny. Both children have a physical birthmark that indicates their destiny. Both children lose their parents and are raised by others. Both children have people in their lives who are "aware" of their special destiny.
This movie is splendidly filled with wicked people. Sometimes it is very hard to distinguish who the good guys are, in fact it has to be pointed out at one point in the film, although Im not certain I agree with the assessment of who the "good guys" are. In several instances, bad guys get brought back to life by the devil. The excitement builds in the film as the clock counts down to the hour in which the prophecy can be fulfilled.
Gabriel Byrne turns in a wonderfully wicked performance as the devil. This is quite a startling contrast to his recent performance in Stigmata. I think the two films together really help to demonstrate the range of this versatile actor. He creates a strong, foreboding sense as he strides along the sidewalks of New York City. He goes through a range of startled to kindly to angry as the devil works to create the end of days. Byrne displays a panache somewhat akin to Al Pacinos performance in Devils Advocate.
Arnold Schwarzenegger turns in a good performance. I wouldnt count him as one of the ages great actors, but he does seem to improve with practice. Ive seen him do better (in True Lies) and Ive seen him do much worse (The Villain). His character is a former police officer turned mercenary who provides security services to wealthy clientele. He becomes involved after an assassination attempt on his client (Byrne) by a demented priest named Thomas Aquinas. His curiosity takes over and he tries to find out why Aquinas would attempt this killing. Odd, curious clues lead him to the young woman who is the object of the devils affectionate intent. His character develops as he saves Christine Ford from the good guys and the bad guys. A subplot is added to the movie to further his character by using the death of his wife and daughter to explain his motivations. Arnold takes an extraordinary amount of physical abuse and in his familiar style keeps on going.
Rod Steiger is ill used in this film as one of the priests of St. Johns. I would really call his involvement a bit part at best. I just hate to see such a major talent underutilized.
The dialogue is pretty good. There are a couple of areas where it doesnt really work for me. A few times it seems very forced and hokey. Ive found this to be pretty common in films with Schwarzenegger who again is NOT the most talented actor. It doesnt detract from the movie too much in my opinion.
The visual effects were okay. Again, they seemed borrowed from earlier films. The devil is shown moving invisibly with the same technique used in The Abyss. There is a lot of fire and explosion that seems to be the staple of this film. One interesting technique showed Byrne making love to two women and their body parts would morph together as the activity continued. A very surreal image to be certain. A lot of the imagery is also very reminiscent of Devils Advocate.
Was this film believable? No, I dont think so. It is an interesting adventure with some decent performances. I didnt see too much that looked new or innovative to me. It seemed in a lot of ways to be an interesting jumble of several other films. Im glad I watched it, Id watch Gabriel Byrne reading a stock ticker. Do I want to purchase this for my home collection? I dont think so. I might tape it off of cable if I happen to have some empty tape, but I wouldnt go out of my way to get a new tape for this one.
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Oct 5, 2010
Feb 12, 2011 09:06 PM UTC
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The blood-soaked story of a twenty-year-old girl (Tunney) who has nightmares about a mysterious man. Security guard Jericho (Schwarzenegger) finds himself caught up in the situation when he discovers that Satan (Byrne) is roaming the streets of New York City, trying to mate with the girl in the millennium's final hour. If he manages to impregnate her during these sixty minutes, she will give birth to the anti-Christ, who will put an end to the world forever.