The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Announcement

Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Friday, January 1, 2010

End of Days (1999)

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It's New Year's Day, and I could only think of three great films set during that holiday (I don't know why I said two earlier in the week): Strange Days, Four Rooms, and this Arnold not-so-classic End of Days. It just seemed to fit with the types of films I review on here that I'd cover the last of those three today.

End of Days takes place right before the year 2000. The devil is coming to take a bride and have a kid with her, and it's up to former cop turned drunk turned head of a high-end security outfit named Jericho Cane, played by Arnold. The key is he doesn't have to kill the devil, just cock-block him long enough so that he can't impregnate Robin Tunney before the clock strikes twelve, then the poor devil will have to wait another thousand years to impregnate another chick.

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I watched this recently with a buddy when he bought it to add to his Arnold collection. It was as funny then as it was now. Maybe it doesn't have the special effects 2012 does, but it has the governor of California, and even Lucas can't CG him into a movie. What's great about this one is the Bronson-esque role he takes on as a drunk down on his luck, making smoothies in the morning with pizza, booze, and Pepto in them. Then Gabriel Byrne steps in and plays a devil as good as we can imagine him doing. The action wasn't quite what you'd want from an Arnold pic, and this definitely was on the low end of his filmography, but all in all, a pretty fun picture.

After this, Schwarzenegger would only make three more pictures with him as the star: 6th Day, Collateral Damage, and Terminator 3. This one, as much as any, is really hard to rectify with the idea that he's the governor of the biggest state in our country population and economically. At the same time, you could tell that he was close to the end here, that he wouldn't be making many more films, and there was a sense that he was running the relay, holding the baton behind him, waiting for someone to take it from him-- and that someone never came. As much as Arnold may have started off as another action star, he ended his reign sui generis, and there will never be another one like him.

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End of Days has a very Cathlo-centric view on religion, which makes a lot of sense, because the Muslim and Jewish calendars weren't nearing the year 2000, and Protestants aren't good with the ritual stuff you'd need for a film like this. What's interesting, is out of those four religious sects I mentioned, Catholics, at least recently, have been the least responsible for violence in the world-- whether it's Jews and Muslims fighting in the Middle East, or Bush invoking his Protestant faith when going to war in Iraq-- but it's always Catholics in movies who have secret armies and assassins. I mean even in The Godfather III, which I confess was ridiculous, despite being nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, the struggle to seat a new Pope was fraught with assassinations. I'm not saying the Catholic church is the nicest thing in the world, but imagine if it was as secretly violent as it's often portrayed in cinema.

The other idea, of course, is that these Catholic super secret special forces units are in a constant literal struggle with the devil. For as many Udo Kiers as there are out there sitting in the middle of candle lit pentagrams reciting incantations, there are Rod Steigers performing exorcisms and sending Italian men into girls' brownstone apartments to kill them in a very specific holy way before the devil can impregnate them with his evil seed. It sounds ridiculous in this paragraph, but it's a pretty standard paradigm, whether Catholics are fighting vampires, ghosts, or the devil himself. Probably the best use of the paradigm, Dolph Lundgren's The Minion, where Dolph plays a KGB trained priest.

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I considered getting political or waxing intellectual for this last paragraph about what the end of this decade meant, or what the end of the decade before it, which End of Day was set in, meant; but I didn't want to bore you. There's plenty enough to glean from a post about a film featuring a big budget action star whose films were becoming dinosaurs, and rather than face extinction, he got himself elected governor of California. The last ten years saw a lot of big things happen in this country, but I'd say none were more ridiculous, yet more indicative, than that one.

I have to assume most of my readers have seen this. If not, you should, just to have done it. My buddy is an Arnold completist, so he owns it. I'm sure most of you know another Arnold completist out there too, so maybe you can borrow it from that person. Then after watch Commando again, because you can never watch that too much.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0146675/

5 comments:

  1. Nice post & nice blog. I love both.

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  2. I think I might be that Arnold completist. I even have Hercules in New York on dvd. I quite like this movie, just as I quite like Collateral Damage and The 6th Day. And it does have the great line "I could do this all day long." I _love_ Commando, Predator, The Running Man, Terminator and Red Heat though - they are the Arnie top 5 for me, with T2 and Total Recall battling for sixth position.

    The only Arnie stuff I really don't need to see again is Twins and Kidergarten cop, mainly because they aren't action movies and both were replayed ad-nauseum on free-to-air TV every Friday night for a decade.

    I probably should take a second look at Last Action Hero - I remember not liking it when it came out and I know it was critically panned, but I have heard from friends it's pretty fun.

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  3. What about Junior? I think there's nothing wrong with being an Arnie completist, as I'm a Dolph one, and as I said, my friend is definitely an Arnie one. I tried doing my ranking for Arnold films out, and realized I can't do it. I'd have a four-way tie between Commando, Predator, T2, and Total Recall, with Terminator and the Running man close behind.

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  4. I know this was in 2010 but I think we are all proud that The Last Stand was made and that Arnold is back.

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