Prayer Focus
Movie Review

End of Days

MPAA Rating: R for intense violence and gore, a strong sex scene and language.

Reviewed by: Ken James
STAFF WRITER

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Length:
1 hr. 58 min.
Year of Release:
1999
R
End of Days—child baptism with rattlesnake blood
Relevant Issues
End of Days

Satan in the Bible

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

Devil

Demons

Is there an actual place called Hell? Answer

Why was Hell made? Answer

Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer

Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer

What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer

How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer

The Good News—How to be saved from Hell. Answer

How do you know the Bible is true? Answer

Can a saved person ever be lost? Answer

What is the eternal destiny of an infant who dies? Answer

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

About the Book of Revelation

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Tunney, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger | Director: Peter Hyams | Producers: Armyan Bernstein, Bill Borden | Distributor: Universal Pictures

Ephesians 6:11-12 gives the warning to…

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Without even realizing it, suicidal skeptic Arnold Schwarzenegger sets out to fight the evil one head-on in “End of Days.” Throughout the story, he resorts to a plethora of guns and firepower. He just didn’t understand that spiritual warfare cannot be fought with guns. Not until the conclusion, when Arnold comes face to face with the knowledge that, without God he is useless, is he able to effectively battle Satan. In this I find redemption in “End of Days”, and Biblical truth, though one will find a theologically flawed plot, profanity, a heavy sex scene (though it was edited out of the version I saw in Manila), and other offensive materials.

Some call this movie 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. The Bible says in…

“When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth…” —Revelation 20:7

Those familiar with Biblical prophecy know that this doesn’t really mean that Satan will be released to Earth in 1999, try to get a girl pregnant, thus producing the antichrist and ushering in the end of days. Other biblical errors made were supposed references to the Bible which say things like “Satan cannot see into the house of God” and “God didn’t say he’d save us, he said we have to save ourselves.” What’s more, we learn that the famous mark of the best, 666, is really just an upside down version of 999 (because we see things upside down in our dreams). Thus 1999.

Yes, they’re stretching it, but I don’t think “End of Days” is intended to be biblically accurate.

Through various heavenly signs and prophecy, the mystical Catholic church catches on that the chosen one of Satan has been born and, through papal orders, sends out representatives into the major cities of the world to try to find this girl and protect her. Of course, there are those in the church that believe only the death of this unknown woman can stop the end of days. And so we are introduced to a special group of assassin priests whose only job is to find and destroy Christine (Robin Tunney).

Thus lies the conflict: Satan (shown as a Wall Street tycoon character played by Gabriel Byrne) is trying to impregnate Robin in the final hour of 1999 or he loses his chance (again bad theology), the Catholic church is split as it works to both protect and kill Christine, and Arnold is caught in the middle trying in futility to blow the brains out of Satan to protect Christine while struggling to find meaning in life.

Dr. Rebecca Brown, in her book “He Came to Set the Captives Free,” talks extensively about spiritual warfare and how we as Christians are to fight. In her book, she tells the story of an occultic group at work in the hospital where she was a doctor. Patients mysteriously die. Things happen. Eventually Dr. Brown learns what is going on as she begins to go through an education in spiritual warfare and on what Satan and his followers can and cannot do. It is through the Bible and these experiences that she tells her incredible story. I had to wonder if someone in the production of “End of Days” read her book, or at least has extensive insight into the spiritual world. “End of Days” accurately shows Satan as limited in power and knowledge, full of hatred for both his followers and enemies, evil to the core, yet entirely cunning—a master of temptation and deception. An excellent scene occurs in Arnold’s apartment with Satan, as he tempts Arnold with the offer of a restored family, and encourages him to blame God for allowing the murder of his wife and daughter to happen. This is another point where the film comes through with truth of Satan and his schemes.

In viewing this movie, I couldn’t help but think about the Christian church. We’ve nearly lost the comprehension of the incredible authority we have in the name of Jesus Christ. We must be aware that much of the stuff portrayed in “End of Days” is *real* and *does* happen. In the film, Satan is free to enter the doors of the church and, to the dismay of the religious men present, is not even mildly phased by being rebuked in the name of God. He carries on as if he loves smashing the myth that he can’t do as he pleases inside the church, as well as outside (evidence for this is in many churches today). Christians can only stand firm against the powers of Satan through the authority that we have in Jesus Christ, and because of what He did on the cross. It is His authority that what are to use, not weapons. So, if you are a Christian,

“put on the full armor of God”… with “the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” —Ephesians 6:14-18

For those who are not yet followers of Jesus, I hope you are not relying on your good works. If you’ve sinned only once in your life, if you’ve ever broken even just one of the Ten Commandments, you are still a lawbreaker and guilty of punishment. The fact is that all of us have sinned. God, being just and fair, has to punish us because we have broken his law and sinned. But Jesus has paid the penalty for us through his death on the cross. After being buried, he raised again on the third day and went to heaven, where He is now sitting at the right hand of God the Father. The spiritual world is just as real as the physical world, and it is only through Jesus Christ that we can be saved from the eternal destruction of hell.

While “End of Days” raises many open doors for a conversation that may lead someone to the truth, it is marred with a heavy sex scene, profanity, and theological problems. Discernment may lead you away from this film, despite the pro-God, anti-Satan message. Be warned of the problems in content, but be aware of some of the more positive aspects of this film.

Viewer Comments
This is a movie you DON’T have to see! It’s quite long and over drawn… We as Christians have delegated authority over the power of the devil, but it’s sad to say that the people who do not believe on the Lord Jesus don’t have His Spirit. So they can’t have that power only the believers in Christ can.
—Caleb
I did not like “End of Days.” The violent nature of the film was too much for me, and the sexual content was ridiculous. I will say, the scene with Satan and Jericho (Arnold) was very accurate, and because he was not a Christian, he is unable to save himself from the powers of Satan. I thought the quote from the priest about God doesn’t save us; we must save ourselves was so much of the world’s thinking…

I did not find it entertaining—I was quite uncomfortable throughout the whole film, and was glad when there was a glick in the film (during the violent subway part) that I left the theater… I don’t recommend it… My Ratings: [1/1½]
—Jennifer, age 27
How many big studio movies have a truly reverential attitude toward the Almighty? END OF DAYS suprised me with this. Though watch out for the strong violence and perverse sexuality, which if you’re of adult age should still be approached with discernment. That said, I had to pinch myself—here’s a big Hollywood action fest with some pretty lofty spritual ideals and, even big Arnie (in his all time best and LEAST atypical performance—a broken man, with anger toward God) saying stuff like “God give me strength” in a humble tone!! I kept thinking that this movie actually does have its heart in the right place. Despite the usual amount of violence and bloodletting. Its portrayal of evil and the devil I thought was spot on, remember “Resist the devil and he will run from you.” The scene where Arnie is tempted was the highlight. Afterall this is a studio potboiler, NOT made by Christians, NOT aimed at Christians. Despite being theologically confused, EoD is a good try, and I can’t help thinking that with a more restraint and a better script, it could of been an absolute sensation. My Ratings: [2/2½]
—Andrew Thorn, age 32
I had an interesting experience with this film in that the night before I had viewed “The Omega Code.” While this movie was filled with many biblical falsehoods, it did have a redeeming factor of portraying Christianity in a somewhat positive light. I thought the dialogue between Arnold and the Satan character in the apartment scene was pretty intriguing. The accusations at God sounded similar to what I’ve heard from many skeptics over the years. It made me wonder where the writer was coming from spiritually. All that’s on the plus side for the film. The extreme violence and the two sexual perverion scenes (especially the mother/daughter scene) made this movie unacceptable for me. I was sorry that I permitted those type of images to enter my mind. The garbage in this film really helped me appreciate the clean wholesomeness and positive message of “The Omega Code.” My Ratings: [1/3½]
—Dave Biggs, age 37
“powerful”… I found this to be a powerful movie. The movie is not scripturally accurate, but it is also not sold as a Christian movie. It is sold as a thriller about the devil coming to the world to bring about the end of days. If you go without your copy of the book of Revelation I believe that you will find much to appreciate. 1) The film makers made a devil that is evil, frightening, and completely devoid of morality 2) The film highlights the dangers of a world that has given up God to serve the devil 3) While the film shows a church filled with intrigue, false prophesy, secrecy, and at times downright evil; it also shows a church striving with those elements, and standing on principles of faith 4) The film stresses the futility of battling evil without God 5) Finally, it is only through an honest prayer for strength that the protagonist is able to prevail in the end. While there are problems with this film, language, nudity, violence, I think that this film may actually be a way to provoke discussion and thought. Audiences throughout America are prompted by the devil “remember who you serve!!” My Ratings: [2½/4]
—R. Bryan Brito, age 34
…Schwarzenegger’s role is pretty atypical. …Arnold’s massive personality still overshadows his acting and he resorts to machine guns and grenade launchers two-thirds of the way through the movie, but he does a decent job playing his most vulnerable, low-key character yet. Much of the theology in the movie is so twisted and absurd, you’re just going to have to ignore it. Non-existent and heretical scripture verses are made up by priests (“Satan cannot see into the house of God,” “God didn’t say he’d save us, he said we have to save ourselves,” etc.). “666” is really “999” because everybody knows you see numbers upside down in dreams, which means Satan is loosed in 1999. you’ll be laughing out loud at stuff like that. …the film ultimately appeals to the human attraction to the dark side and includes a gnarly sex scene with two women sure to offend and infest minds… but it doesn’t glorify Satanic service at all. And in the end, it’s faith in Christ and self-sacrifice that wins the day, making this more of a “Christian” movie than sex-and-violence critics would have you believe.
—Josh Spencer, age 17
absolutely horrible… This movie was, in my opinion, absolutely horrible. First, it was a hoax theologically. The Biblical inaccuracies were ridiculous. Second, it was sexually offensive. The beginning of the movie had a scene that was so repulsive, and that was one of the lesser things the devil did. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie I will not trash your minds the way mine has been already. Third, it was the most bloody movie I had seen in recent memory. The final thing that made it the most offensive, is the fact that the reason the devil was destroyed was not because of God, it was because of Arnold. I realize that it wasn’t Christians making this movie, but if a movie was made about the life of Mark McGwire or Bill Clinton and it had [content referring to them] beating their wives, [there] would [be] big problems… Why should it be any different for a movie that is about anything relating to God? My Ratings: [1/1]
—Ben Dell, age 22
some amount of truth can be found… Let me start by saying that “End of Days” IS theologically incorrect. It also has scenes that are “mature” (i.e. sexual). But it does have a “thread” in the storyline worth making a note of: It shows what Satan really thinks of humankind, and of his own followers. In the film Satan’s disregard and abuse of his own people is very upfront and a good takeoff point for discussing Satan, who he is, and what he really thinks of humankind. This film also touches upon themes of faith, and the question of how do God’s people confront and stop evil. Please be aware up front that this film IS NOT made (that I am aware of) by Christians and contains bad theology, violence, profanity, nudity, sex, and even some scenes that some may find spiritually offensive. My Ratings: [1½/3]
—Layne Schroeder, age 36
not even Arnold could save this one… It is not very often that I don’t stay to finish a film that I have paid $7 for. Well, this is one that I had to check out early on. So if I am missing something that would have changed my opinion of the movie than you must please forgive me. I have loved the Arnold Scwarzneger films (“Total Recall,” “Terminator” “Predator”) but not even Arnold could save this one. More Y2K hysteria folks …not only will you lose your money and your power but New Years Day 2000 will also unleash the anti-christ. But I wouldn’t be too frightened of this “anti-christ”—he doesn’t seem to be all that powerful. Oh yeah—he can make women swoon with passion and he seems to have this knack for blowing things up, but after all he has to rely on the Schwarzeneger character in order to locate the girl that will help him manifest his evil plan of taking dominion of the world (why does he need this girl so bad anyhow? You’d think that he would automatically know where she is right? The film does try to be clever with Arnold telling the anti-christ to “go to hell” or when the anti-christ happens upon a young death metal kid out on the street wearing a “Satan Rulz” shirt he tells him,” hey kid! nice shirt!.” It also attempts to make some kind of statement on the age old battle of faith and doubt but even this is lacking and it is almost laughable. Don’t see this movie. It is a big waste of time. My Ratings: [1/1]
—Don Lambirth, age 31
Arnold shows spiritual growth in film… WOW! After reading the above quotes, I’m beginning to wonder if I saw the same movie. I enjoyed “End of Days” and I think people should be going for entertainment and NOT expecting to see a Biblically based movie… To me, this was more of a supernatural thriller then anything else. Arnold Schwarzenegger was once again, fun to watch and Gabriel Byrn was great as Satan… I do give it a Moral Rating of 2 because some Christians unfortunately find anything that features Satan or God, that is not solely based on the Bible, objectional. And in that case, they will have many problems with “End of Days.” But I’d like to point out one part of the film that touched me. It was at the end, when Arnold’s character (who had lost any faith in God), looks at a statue of Jesus and asks for help. He finally realizes that there is a God and that he can’t do this on his own. That to me, is a VERY Christian example. My Ratings: [2/3]
—Maggi, age 24
Negative—I couldn’t finish watching this and had to leave the room several times when it was on. It left me with bad images in my head and an overall feeling of dread and regret for having watched it, which continued into the next day. I had liked most of Arnold’s previous movies and was very disappointed in this one. There is nothing God-honoring in this movie. Avoid it. Watching movies like this opens yourself up to attacks by Satan, as he brings up the images and profanity to taunt you. Instead, fill your mind and heart with the word of God and good things.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality:
—Kelly, age 49 (USA)
Movie Critics
…an unbiblical view of Satan and his powers…
—Movieguide
…rife with special effects—and illogic. …loud, goofy, roller-coaster ride of a movie, Satan shows himself to be such an incompetent boob…
—Eric Harrison, L.A. Times
…wretchedly bad… The free association of sex, violence and religious iconography would make even Godard blush, and it’s tough to know what to think of the renegade, knife-wielding clergymen who shuffle through the movie, intent on murdering Christine (and anyone else who gets in their way) as a method of preventing the coming apocalypse…
—Steve Schneider, Orlando Weekly
…a theological mess. Scripture… taken out of context and twisted to make a case for a millennial apocalypse. …frequent, graphic violence…
—Bob Smithouser, Plugged In, Focus on the Family
…extreme blood/gore, violence, and profanity… at least 20 uses of the “f” word…
—ScreenIt
…mindless millennial megillah… so bad it will make you pine for the cinematic lyricism of ‘Commando’…
—Kevin Maynard, Mr. Showbiz