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Peter Hyams
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney
Writing Credits:
Andrew W. Marlowe

At the end of the century, Satan visits New York in search of a bride, and it's up to an ex-cop who now runs an elite security outfit to stop him.

Box Office:
$100 million.
Opening Weekend
$20,523,595 on 2593 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 122 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 8/26/2008

• Audio Commentary with Director Peter Hyams


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-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


End of Days [Blu-Ray] (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 5, 2018)

Despite predictions that January 1, 2000 would bring widespread mayhem, the whole thing wound up as a peaceful bust – and not just for the folks who wasted money on canned goods and bottled water or for the Satanists who wanted the downfall of society. Financially, a lot of people took a bath, especially everyone who organized these mega-expensive New Year's Eve parties that attracted few revelers.

Hollywood also suffered from the lack of “Millennium Fever”, mainly because they foisted a bunch of apocalyptic efforts upon us but none caught fire at the box office. Probably the most highly-anticipated of the bunch, End Of Days also had the distinction of being the last millennium-oriented Hollywood film to appear prior to the actual date.

Add to that its $100 million budget and the fact it was Arnold Schwarzenegger's first movie since 1997's borderline disastrous Batman & Robin and you can understand why so many viewed it as a potential blockbuster.

Alas, that was not to be. I don't know if Days feel victim of millennium apathy or if movie-goers just thought it looked stupid, but it didn't perform well at the box office. It grossed a not-horrible but pretty weak $66 million in the US and faded away pretty quickly.

And pretty deservedly so. Days isn't a terrible movie but it's a pretty blah one, and that's not a good look for an action/horror/thriller.

On December 28, 1999, the devil comes to New York City and inhabits the body of a local man (Gabriel Byrne). Beelzebub comes down to Manhattan to seek Christine York (Robin Tunney), a young woman marked at birth by Satanists to become their leader’s bride.

Ex-cop Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger) finds himself witness to many nutty shenanigans related to this event. Along with partner Chicago (Kevin Pollak), Cane seeks to stop Satan and save Christine.

The greatest flaw I find in Days stems from the fact that for pretty much all of the movie, we find ourselves way ahead of the characters. It's not unusual for films - particularly horror pictures - to let the audience in on aspects of the action before the on-screen participants learn, but in this case, it reaches an absurd extreme.

By maybe ten minutes into Days, we know exactly what's happening - and what will happen - for at least the first half of the film. That means an hour or more of plot that goes nowhere because it's already essentially been covered.

The second half of Days seems less predictable, but by that point, the film had already lost me, and the events of the final hour weren't compelling enough to regain my interest. Sure, the movie contains a few well-executed action pieces - actually, one chase scene early in the picture provides some of its best thrills - but these can't redeem the film's slow pace.

As noted, Days offered Schwarzenegger's first movie in two years, and it’s clear he didn’t spent the time off taking acting lessons. He actually looks slimmer more recognizably human here, and that helps him in this role, one that requires him to be more sensitive and less robotic than usual. Unfortunately, he still can't pull off the emotional aspects of the movie, though I applaud him for trying.

Tunney also seems underwhelming as Christine, the woman at the center of the plot. Arnie can't act, but at least he offers a strong presence, whereas Tunney might have some acting skills but provides a negligible on-screen presence on-screen.

Tunney seems so wan and flat that she might as well not have been there. Couldn't they find someone with a little more zest and personality?

At least two of the supporting actors help. Byrne has some trouble with his American accent but otherwise gives the film a real kick in the pants with his slyly subversive portrayal of the ultimate baddie. He contains any thoughts of over-emoting and provides Days with some of its high points.

Pollak gives his formulaic role as Arnie's sidekick Chicago a bit more punch than the usual comic pal. He throws out the expected wisecracks with panache.

By the way, it should be observed that Days displays something of a Usual Suspects-wannabe syndrome. Not only does it bring back Pollak and Byrne - two of that film's stars - but also it steals one of Usual Suspects' most memorable lines: "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist”.

Days offers a slickly-made, mildly watchable thriller that doesn't do much terribly wrong but it simply never catches fire. It boasts a few thrills but they're too few and far between to make the movie good.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio A-/ Bonus C+

End of Days appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not terrible, the transfer seemed lackluster.

Sharpness became one of the inconsistent elements, as overall definition varied. Some scenes showed pretty good delineation, but a number of shots seemed somewhat iffy, and frequent edge haloes made this worse.

I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects, but prnt flaws caused distractions. The movie suffered from a light but fairly persistent display of specks and small marks.

In terms of palette, Days often opted for a red orientation, though it threw in blues and other tones as well. The colors could be a bit heavy but they usually showed reasonable vivacity.

Blacks looked a little too dense, while shadows could be slightly murky. The image offered appealing enough visuals to merit a “C” but the movie could use an updated transfer.

I felt much happier with the movie's bombastic DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, as the mix provided a very encompassing experience. The soundfield appeared excellent, as all five channels actively blasted mayhem.

The soundscape also served quieter moments well, as we heard subtle effects pop up all around the room. From start to finish, this mix cranked up the action and really helped make an otherwise somewhat blah movie more exciting.

Audio quality also seemed very good. Dialogue occasionally got a little buried in all of the noise, but in general the lines appeared clear and natural, without any overtly "dubbed"-sounding instances.

The score seemed a bit overwrought but quality remained good, with appropriately bright highs and some solid bass. Effects also appear clean and realistic, and they pack a strong punch. End Of Days sounded great.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original DVD from 2000? The Blu-ray’s lossless audio brought out more range and impact.

Visuals showed a mild upgrade due to the superior capabilities of Blu-ray, but the flaws of the transfer restricted its potential. Overall definition and colors did show improvements, though, so even with the image’s drawbacks, it still topped the DVD.

Surprisingly, the Blu-ray drops most of the DVD’s extras and retains only an audio commentary from director Peter Hyams. He presents a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, visual effects, action and stunts. Cinematography and editing, music and connected domains.

Because Hyams doesn’t start to talk until a couple of minutes after the movie’s start, I feared that he’d provide a dud of a commentary. Happily, he quickly proves me wrong, as Hyams digs into a solid mix of topics in a likable, engaging manner. Hyams makes this an informative track.

As noted, the Blu-ray drops most of the DVD’s extras. This means we lose some video programs, text features and trailers. The DVD didn’t offer a treasure trove but it’s still a disappointment that those materials don’t return here.

End Of Days boasted some potential to create an exciting, pre-apocalyptic cash-in on “Millennium Fever”, but it managed to provide only intermittent thrills. Most of it became tempered by a pretty dull and predictable plot. The Blu-ray offers excellent audio along with mediocre visuals and a good audio commentary. Days winds up as a forgettable supernatural thriller.

To rate this film visit the prior review of END OF DAYS

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