END OF DAYS [1999 / 2008] [Blu-ray [US Release]
The Perfect Hi-Definition Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie Experience!
All hell breaks loose when Arnold Schwarzenegger battles the ultimate evil in this chilling supernatural action thriller. When Jericho Cane [Arnold Schwarzenegger], a burned-out former New York City cop is assigned to security detail for a mysterious stranger The Man [Gabriel Byrne], who thwarts an incredible assassination attempt. During the ensuing investigation, Jericho Cane and his partner Bobby Chicago [Kevin Pollak] save the life of the beautiful and terrified Christine York [Robin Tunney], whose destiny involves death, the Devil and the fate of mankind. Now it's up to Jericho Cane to save the girl, the world and his own soul as he comes face to face with his most powerful enemy ever!
FILM FACT: The role of Jericho Cane was written for Tom Cruise, but he chose to work on the film ‘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 director Peter Hyams. An alternate ending was filmed in which Jericho Cane returns to life after being impaled on the statue's sword and leaves the church with Christine York, but test audiences preferred the original version. The ending was used in the film's novelization.
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, CCH Pounder, Derrick O'Connor, David Weisenberg, Rainer Judd, Miriam Margolyes, Udo Kier, Victor Varnado, Luciano Miele, Michael O'Hagan, Mark Margolis, Jack Shearer, Rod Steiger, Eve Sigall, Victor Varnado, Robert Lesser, Lloyd Garroway, Gary Anthony Williams, John Nielsen, Yannis Bogris, Elliot Goldwag, Elaine Corral Kendall, Denice D. Lewis, Renee Olstead, Mo Gallini, Marc Lawrence, Van Quattro, Charles A. Tamburro, Lynn Marie Sager, Linda Pine, David Franco, Steven Kramer, Melissa Mascara, John Timothy Botka, Walter von Huene, Michael Rocha, Tom Bysiek (uncredited), Rebeca Cristian (uncredited), Sebastian Feldman (uncredited), Mark J. Ferreri (uncredited), Ariane Von Kamp (uncredited), Kassandra Kay (uncredited), George Meyers (uncredited), Terry Ostovich (uncredited), Frankie Ray (uncredited), Paul Schackman (uncredited) and Sven-Ole Thorsen (uncredited)
Director: Peter Hyams
Producers: Andrew W. Marlowe, Armyan Bernstein, Bill Borden, Marc Abraham, Paul Deason and Thomas Bliss
Screenplay: Andrew W. Marlowe
Composer: John Debney
Cinematography: Peter Hyams (Director of Photography)
Image Resolution: 1080p (Color by DeLuxe)
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Spanish: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround Sound
French: 5.1 DTS Digital Surround Sound
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French
Running Time: 122 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Universal Pictures / Beacon Pictures
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘END OF DAYS’ is set at the end of the 20th century, and Satan visits New York in search of a bride and it is up to an ex-cop Jericho Cane [Arnold Schwarzenegger], who now runs an elite security outfit who is out to stop him. As the millennium draws near and New York City is planning the biggest turn of the century party ever. But, what they are not aware of is that with this party will come a most unwelcome guest, in the form of the Devil [Gabriel Byrne]. After inhabiting a man’s body, the Lord of Darkness begins his prowl for a bride Christine York [Robin Tunny], intent upon bearing a child within the very last hour of the century. For if he does, he will succeed with his quest and the world will come to a complete end.
Jericho Cane, a former cop turned mercenary is also a depressed burnt out shell that has lost touch with faith, no longer believing in a higher power since the murder of his wife and daughter. His latest assignment is to protect an extremely wealthy investment banker. During the job, he gets shot by a priest who seems to have gone off the deep end, who happens to think that a banker is also the Devil, and is correct in his assumptions. However, no one else believes his theory; but nonetheless, Jericho Cane investigates and is led to Christine York and is out to saves her from the Catholic assassins bent on destroying Satan’s plan.
‘END OF DAYS’ sets this metaphysical tale in the days leading up to New Year’s Eve, 1999, and the Y2K anxiety to fuel its story’s sense of apocalyptic catastrophe. Director Peter Hyams fills his shots with snatches of gloomy radio commentary, degraded cityscapes and urban white noise. Doing double duty as cinematographer, Peter Hyams succeeds in creating feelings of claustrophobia and malaise, in several shots of the expansive nature of the hustle and bustle of New York City into a sea of careening cars and grey looking metropolis with visually-striking images, particularly Victor Varnado’s malevolent and the nasty Albino.
Without even realising it, suicidal sceptic Arnold Schwarzenegger sets out to fight the evil one head-on and throughout the film tends to resorts to a plethora of guns and firepower and just does not understand that spiritual warfare cannot be fought with an arsenal of guns and firepower. Not until the conclusion of the film, when Arnold Schwarzenegger comes face to face with the knowledge that seeking God’s help and feels he is able to effectively battle against the power and evil of Satan.
Some call this film a “theological mess.” I can see their point. Early on in this apocalyptic thriller, a baby girl is born in New York City that is marked to be the chosen one of Satan. Those familiar with Biblical prophecy know that this doesn’t really mean that Satan will be released upon Earth in 1999, try to get a girl pregnant, thus producing the antichrist and ushering in the end of days. What’s more, we learn that the famous mark of the beast, 666, is really just an upside down version of 999, because we see things upside down in our dreams, thus is created 1999.
The incredibly underrated Gabriel Byrne is the real star of the show though as one of my favourite screen depictions of The Devil and portrays the horned one with a mysterious kind of charm that you cannot help but be drawn to when he is on screen, and when he is not you just cannot wait for him to come back, even if he does ham it up a bit, with great relish.
Gabriel Byrne is clearly having a ball with the role which only serves to make his performance all the more brilliant. His best moment comes when he is trying to tempt Arnold Schwarzenegger to join him in his dark mission, loudly denouncing God as “The Biggest Underachiever of All Time, he just has a good publicist that’s all” and in a clichéd but still incredibly funny tirade that Gabriel Byrne absolutely nails it.
In the body of Gabriel Byrne, the Devil is given a decent opportunity to make his case. But the prolonged scene with the Devil offering ex-cop Jericho Cane attractive inducements to side with him is much better that it needed to be. The exchange straddles the line between absurd and existential and lands just on the right side of explaining human propensity to sell out in favour of selfishness.
The final act gives credit to director Peter Hyams, with the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and screenwriter Andrew W. Marlowe for conjuring up and then sticking with a bittersweet ending. The special effects may consume most of the budget, but amidst the rampant destruction at the ‘END OF DAYS,’ is basically a battle between Arnold Schwarzenegger vs the Devil and let's face it, deep down, we all know who is going to come out on top in this film, but hey, let us go along for the ride anyway and enjoy every 123 minutes of the film.
END OF DAYS MUSIC TRACK LIST
LITTLE YURY ON THE PRAIRIE (Written by David Hoffner and Kongar-ol Ondar) [Performed by Ondar]
SLOW (Written by Roman Marisak and Jeff Schartoff) [Performed by Professional Murder Music]
FOR THE BEAUTY OF THE EARTH (Traditional) [Performed by Conrad Kocher]
CAMEL SONG (Written by Jonathan Davis, Reginald 'Fieldy' Arvizu, Brian 'Head' Welch, James 'Munky' Shaffer and David Silveria) [Performed by Korn]
DECK THE HALLS (Traditional tune, lyrics by Thomas Oliphant) (uncredited) [Performed by Ottmar Liebert]
GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN (Traditional) [Performed by Bing Crosby]
THE CHRISTMAS SONG (Written by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells) [Performed by Nat 'King' Cole]
SUPERBEAST (Written by Rob Zombie, Charlie Clouser and Scott Humphrey) [Performed by Rob Zombie]
OH MY GOD (Written by Axl Rose) (uncredited) [Performed by Guns N' Roses]
CRUSHED (Written by Fred Durst and Leor Dimant aka DJ Lethal) [Performed by Limp Bizkit]
SO LONG (Written by Danny Lohner and Erik Schrody) [Performed by Erik Schrody]
Blu-ray Image Quality – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment brings us this Blu-ray release in superb 1080p image presentation and is enhanced with a wonderful 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The overall presentation retains a delicate balance, and avoids any kind of bright imaging, and at times keeps the image dark enough at times you can see what is going on as the actors use torches just enough to see what is happening in that particular scene, which the director likes with this type of film that is shot with high-contrast film stock for low light conditions. Black levels are predictably spot-on, and director Peter Hyams decided to choose to film the actors lit only in the mid-tones, so giving the flesh tones to appear nicely rendered throughout the film and there is a good amount of depth to the image quality. So all in all the film ‘END OF DAYS’ looks good with this Blu-ray release, and a massive marked improvement with the overall image quality compared to the inferior DVD release.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment brings us a superb 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio experience to go with a really heady rollercoaster ride of our life, especially with the sense of depth and presence to the audio mix is very comparable to films of this genre. Right from the start of the film, your speaker’s blasts out the 5.1 surround sounds with very dramatic audio effects, which gives you some really decent sound mix, especially when you get the very dramatic scenes in the film, especially when it comes to the massive explosions and the very spooky supernatural sound effects, are very prominent and are of excellent very dramatic to good audio effect, especially Arnold Schwarzenegger’s subway battle with the Devil, and of course with the climactic duel in the church, especially with this very polished big-budget Hollywood action film. What is also excellent is when you get lots of choral musical moments; you again get some really good dramatic surround sounds experiences. So all in all this is a very good film and a very good way of showing off your Home Cinema set up.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary with Director Peter Hyams: Here we are personally introduced to director Peter Hymas and talks in-depth and also informs us that he directed the film ‘END OF DAYS,’ as well of informing us he was the cinematographer, but unfortunately there is a 90 seconds silence before he starts to talk anything about the film. Peter feels an important factor towards the film is the composed music by John Debney, who has worked with Peter with a previous film of his and what both of them strove to create for this film, is to make the signature composed music theme at the start of the film, to set up the atmosphere for the rest of the film, and especially to make the religious element of the composed music very strong, very forbidding and especially lots of tension and feels the main title music is really wonderful and feels that John Debney did an absolutely brilliant job. When it came to filming the birth of the baby girl, they had to use infant twins, because of the restriction on filming babies in a certain filming time session, and the stuff you see on the baby girls skin, well we are informed that this is a combination of jelly and cream cheese, as that is the restriction on what you can put on a babies skin, but at the same time, in certain scenes they used a mechanical baby doll, that was produced by Stan Winston and Peter really praised how good the mechanical doll looked. The actor who played the priest you see cutting the snake for the blood, is in real life terrified of snakes. Peter feels the actor Gabriel Byrne was a very important factor for his performance in the film, who he feels personifies the evil entity of Satan, especially being a very handsome men who is also attracted to women and that is why a lot of female actresses wanted to be in the film. The restaurant scene where Satan walks out and blows it up, this was built specially for the film on the backlot of Universal Pictures. At certain times with this audio commentary director Peter Hyams is very funny, as well as very personal about his film and not at all pretentious about the film, and also Peter says he really liked Arnold Schwarzenegger, as he was willing to try anything that Peter wanted him to perform, and especially with the helicopter scene at the start of the film, where the actors had to climb aboard, was actually shot in Los Angeles and was a very dangerous procedure, as the area was a very tight space for the helicopter to land and peter really praises the helicopter pilot for his precise and professional helicopter manoeuvres. When the priest gets shot by Arnold and he finds that little item with the name SPOTA’S on it, people keep asking why is all his films he has that name appear, well Peter informs us that that it his wife’s Maiden Name. Peter also gives great praise on the classically trained British actress Miriam Margolyes, and says Miriam was very funny and kept the cast and crew in stitches, but is also very knowledgeable about all kinds of dialects. Every now and again Peter comments that he hates watching his films, as he tends to notice lots of mistakes and wants to film those scenes again. But it is also refreshing to hear a director speak with such wit and candour. Peter Hyams offers some very nice series of antecedents on working with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and also about the film's obvious cinematic influences, as well as details and the various visual special effects sequences. Peter Hyams informs us that the scene with the Pope at the Vatican was actually shot at the long-defunct Los Angeles Movie Theater in downtown Los Angeles, which he praises the interior of the décor. Peter talks about the scene near the end of the film, where Arnold impales himself on the sword, and he sees his wife and daughter, well Arnold suggested this to peter and was glad it was filmed and also at the previews the audiences gave it the thumbs up for a positive response. Peter also tells us that the film took 18 months out of his life to produce, especially when the film was released to the general public. So all in all this is a very nice audio commentary from director Peter Hymas, who did a very accomplice effort and well worth a listen.
Finally, the ‘END OF DAYS’ film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger who is trying to battle against the ultimate evil entity in this chilling supernatural action thriller, and in my opinion Arnold Schwarzenegger does a really good job, especially with his role as a fired and alcoholic police officer, who is on the edge of sanity and tries to commit suicide too often, but without much success. I really liked the very scary elements in this very demonic horror thriller from the very talented director and cinematography Peter Hyams and I feel it very much helped to create a film full of effective and very ominous imagery, in making the film very dark and satanic. As a horror film, ‘END OF DAYS’ works really fine and offers 123 minutes of solid action packed entertainment in a myriad of ways: good action, witty dialogue, a decent enough story, and above-average personality acting for a film such as this one and creates an atmosphere that is so rare in mainstream films these days, but at the same time there are some very comic elements to balance things out. What was also a very good performance was the actor Gabriel Byrne, who played Satan in a very stylish and evil personality and I loved the way he blew up the vehicle in a very creative way. Overall, the film did not deserve the really bad critical press it got, especially from the people who hated the religious aspect of the film, and especially because they feel it is a very sensitive subject, so maybe that is why there was a lot of the negative critical stuff came from these idiot critics. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado Le Cinema Paradiso United KingdomBack to homepage