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I won’t lie to you, END OF DAYS ($30) isn’t Arnold Schwarzenegger’s best movie, but then again, it isn’t his worst either. In the film’s favor, it does offer up all the requisite action that Schwarzenegger fans will expect, but PREDATOR or TERMINATOR it isn’t. In the hands of director Peter Hyams, END OF DAYS comes across as a slightly pedestrian offering, which has Arnold facing off against the devil… of all things. The premise of the film finds that Satan has been let loose upon the Earth and has a shot at bringing about the end of days, that is, if the woman that prophecy has foretold, bears him a son.

In END OF DAYS, Arnold portrays retired police officer Jericho Cane, who works private security. The murder of his wife and daughter has left Cane in a perpetual state of nearly suicidal depression, but his day job keeps him from teetering over the edge. Cane’s latest security detail charges him with protecting a Wall Street banker (Gabriel Byrne), whose physical form has been usurped by the prince of darkness. An assassination attempt on the banker by a Catholic priest eventually leads Cane and his partner, Bobby Chicago (Kevin Pollak), to a young woman named Christine York (Robin Tunney), who bears the mark that prophecy has foretold and is destined to bear Satan’s son. What follows is Cane’s attempt to protect Christine from not only consummating her destiny with Satan, but the rogue Vatican Knights who want to kill her. The cast of END OF DAYS also features CCH Pounder, Derrick O'Connor, David Weisenberg, Rainer Judd, Miriam Margolyes, Udo Kier, Victor Varnado, Michael O'Hagan, Mark Margolis, Jack Shearer and Rod Steiger.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made END OF DAYS available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is generally impressive for what it is. Peter Hyams serves as his own director of photography and the stylistic choices he has made for END OF DAYS, make this a less than attractive film. Bottom line, END OF DAYS is a dreary, dark and depressing looking movie that is faithfully represented on Blu-ray. Image sharpness and detail can be very strong when there is enough lighting, darker moments can seem murky and under defined. Colors are subdued much of the time, and tend to come across as drab during these moments. However, there are other times when the colors are more fully saturated. For the most part, the flesh tones come across as realistic. Blacks are accurate, as are the whites. Contrast is a bit iffy in places, due to the way the film was shot. Additionally, shadow detail can be less than exemplary, but again, this is how the film was designed to look. The film elements from which END OF DAYS has been transferred do show some blemishes, but not an excessive amount. Grain is ever present, but it does give END OF DAYS natural film like quality.

END OF DAYS is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The is a competent, good quality sound mix that can be aggressive when required, but lacks the edge to make it demonstration quality. All of the discrete channels are effectively utilized during the action portions of the movie. Quieter passages are a little too subdued, but otherwise, the sound design holds its own. Fidelity is very strong; music has a full-bodied quality, while the sound effects have weight. The bass channel packs a suitable wallop anytime a gun is fired or something blows up. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a running Audio Commentary with director with Peter Hyams.

END OF DAYS is a middle of the road Arnold Schwarzenegger action fest with a supernatural theme. The Blu-ray presentation is an impressively faithful rendering of the film’s intended look.



End of Days [Blu-ray] (1999)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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