23. End of Days (1999)

There are loads of Arnold Schwarzenegger films among my favourites, but most of them are sci-fi (Total Recall) or action thrillers with a bit of alien action (Terminator, Predator). End of Days came towards the end of his pre-gubernatorial career, and it’s a load of old bollocks in some ways but I do love it. Arnie plays a very depressed ex-cop who has to track down the Antichrist – just another everyday assignment for the big man, it seems, who approaches Satan and his minions just like any other nasty foreign insurgents. There’s a ton of fantastic religious hokum, most of it involving a ludicrous priest played by Rod Steiger (never knowingly underacted). At one point he shows Arnie round his candelit crypt, crowded with stigmatics groaning on beds. ‘She’s the fifth one we’ve had this week,’ says Fr Rod, rolling his eyes, in one of the movie’s many unintentionally camp moments. arnold-schwarzenegger-end21There’s another scene in which Miriam Margolyes beats the shit out of Arnie: how could I not love End of Days? The female lead, Robin Tunney, is pretty gormless, but there are enough winged demons and gruesome effects to make me overlook that. Hell, I’m even prepared to tolerate the presence of Gabriel Byrne, an actor whose name on the credits is usually enough to ensure I willnever watch a film (see also: Robert DeNiro). Like so many films on this list, End of Days got absolutely dreadful reviews from all the serious critics, which I suppose is why I went to see it in the first place.

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