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Jericho Cane (Arnold Schwarzenegger), suicidal after losing his wife and young daughter to terrorists, is dragged into a bizarre case while shot in the line of duty, protecting a man supposedly a Wall Street executive. He and his partner Chicago (Kevin Pollak) chase the crazed attacker - who turns out to be a priest - and discover a 20 year old woman, Christine York (Robin Tunney) at the centre of a terrible mystery: Satan, in the form of the dark suited executive (Gabriel Byrne) is chasing her to bear his child, to be conceived in the last hour of 1999, to 'loosen Satan from his prison' as the Bible puts it. Jericho has to find a way to keep Satan's embodiment - with its supernatural powers and resistance to the usual weapons - from consummating his evil prophecy.

"Arnold Schwarzenegger is back - more human and vulnerable than we've seen in him before - in End of Days, a thrilling action film, with elements of the supernatural. It's a larger-than-life experience with jaw-dropping stunts and a superb cast, all under the expert director's baton of Peter Hyams. There are hours of sheer unadulterated escapism enjoyment on this DVD – one of the best I've seen - with enough special features to keep you glued to your TV screen for ages. John Debney's marvellous score, capturing the essence of spiritual foreboding and tension can be heard at its best, while the picture quality is uncompromised. The special features are not only plentiful, but impressive.

Director Peter Hyams' informative commentary makes you privy to a private screening as if watching the film with him. He divulges not only snippets about the making of the film, but also much of his own philosophy as a director and filmmaker - and with considered timing in relation to the movie - for maximum effect. I was fascinated by his thoughts on the use of shadows and silhouettes, and how he believes actors bring what they are to the role. 'I do not have the skill or talent to inspire a performance out of an actor' he says, explaining how he gravitates towards actors who have a lot to offer. He has nothing but praise for the entire cast, explaining enthusiastically that Arnold is a dream to work with. He is fearless, intelligent and will try anything. If you are interested in film making, there's much to learn here, as Hyams divulges intriguing insights about the process, the stunts and the actors.

In an excellent behind the scenes feature, there are interviews with writer Andrew W. Marlowe, the producers, production designer, as well as the actors Kevin Pollak, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney and Schwarzenegger himself. You might be interested to know that he is always called 'Arnold'. Never Arnie, but Arnold. And he is obviously a charmer. (Don't you just love that accent?) There is a lovely anecdote when Schwarzenegger asks the writer and producer to explain the story to a priest friend – with a view to obtain advice regarding the ending. They do, tentatively – with an unexpected result. Byrne reveals he has avoided playing villains until now: 'If you're gonna play a villain, you may as well play Satan in an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie…'

A big bonus is 'Revelations' – a 34 minute special effects featurette with nine chaptered sections allowing you to play all of the special effects sequences. The miniature effects supervisor and visual effects director of photography divulge the most detailed processes of the making of the miniatures and the challenge of doing everything once only. The construction and destruction of the eighth-scale train and sixth-scale church sequences are explained in fascinating detail with others including Turning LA into NY and the Sex With Satan (mother and daughter).

Don't wait until the end of the day to look at this DVD, you'll run out of time. There are also two cool music videos, the theatrical trailer and the usual chapter selection – all in widescreen. This is really a knock-out DVD, and one that will satisfy action lovers and those who want something more."
Louise Keller

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END OF DAYS (M 15+ )

CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Gabriel Byrne

DIRECTOR: Peter Hyams

RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes

RRP: $34.95

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: May 23, 2000


We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD player from Philips.


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