End of Days

Bomb Rating: 

Why does the Devil always seem to have difficulty killing people when it's really necessary?

Here's a lesson: Never send a priest to do the work of a real man. That appears to be at least one of the stupid messages in "End of Days," a film with all the spark of a geriatric mall walk.

Once some of the priests figure out that Christine (Robin Tunney) is the woman chosen to bear the Devil's (Gabriel Byrne) child, they send a cadre from the Vatican's Mafia wing to murder her. Does anybody at the Vatican have a brain? I mean, I could understand this line of reasoning if the girl looked like Sandra Bernhard, but she's Robin Tunney. Give one of the brothers the day off, give him Christine's address, a limo and two tickets to "Jesus Christ Superstar," and let him ejaculate until he passes out. The Devil's going to have a damn hard time impregnating a girl who's already pregnant.

That minor kink in the Devil's plan aside, why does the Devil always seem to have difficulty killing people when it's really necessary? Is there some problem in eliminating the rogue ex-cop Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger)? Screw the fire and brimstone. Just shoot the guy. Idiot. This is something uneducated Mafia guys have known for centuries, yet the Devil is inexplicably perplexed. You know, he's the Devil, not some bleeding heart gun control freak.

It's not enough that Jericho is a conflicted ex-cop; he's got to have his funny ex-partner, Chicago (Kevin Pollak), along for comic relief because whenever two actors play cops in a movie, one of them has to be funny. All this makes perfect sense in a certain context. Director Peter ("Sudden Death") Hyams adheres to that new wave technique of shaking the camera like a crack-addled rhesus monkey so there's absolutely no chance for the audience to see anything anyway. For this he demanded the extra credit of "Director of Photography." Here's the real irony: Although I'd like to, if I put Peter's head in my hands and shook it like most of the images in "End of Days," I'd be spending mine in prison.

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