The doomsday prophecies towards the end of last year, century or millenium - whatever - were so rife that Hollywood could not resist taking up the subject and filming it. But the very nature of those prophecies and this film stand testimony to how our collective psyche has become a slave to sensationalism.
Perhaps it isn't possible anymore for filmmakers to discuss a subject in a rational manner with the society in mind. On the contrary, with the homogenization of cultures, we have characters that have the 'global interests' in mind. At any given point, no more than five people are out to save this world from some ridiculous alien or the vagaries of nature. This one has just one and you couldn't expect anyone else when this one is around.
Arnold has not stopped being a savior to all kinds of women - his daughter in Commando, some unrelated one in Terminator 2, and here it is a girl whom Satan wants to marry (we might just be able to believe this one, once we land in hell!) Christine (Robin Tunney) is born when the stars are just right for Satan to make her his chosen one - only the girl doesn't like it on coming to know of this, some twenty years after she is born.
Satan is just a spirit who inhabits the body of a man (Gabriel Byrne). This Satan starts working in his subtle style and recruits everyone who has anything to do with the girl. All of them do his bidding. But Jericho (Arnold), a cop, gets involved in the melee when he tries to save an investment banker - incidentally, Satan - from a shooter. The man turns out to be a churchman who has more portent messages. It is known that some religious men are out to kill Christine because if Satan manages to conceive a child through her, before the end of the millenium, it would bring about the end of days for man.
This is an inane plot with a seedy protagonist in Jericho. Having lost his family to thugs while he was away, he takes to drinking and brooding. You know what? I could see that flicker of an expression on Arnie's visage. It conveyed surprise, but for the most part, boredom. Arnie hasn't changed and neither have his films. It is only a strategic shift from science fiction to theological fiction. He is likely to be back in his next film, trying to save the world from 'Men from Mars'.
Gabriel Byrne is all style but his relaxed demeanor is the only respite throughout the chaotic scenes. Robin Tunney seems to be in a hurry throughout. She starts out very poised but as the film progresses she seems a trifle hyper and with a blank expression. If anything, movie characters have an amazing knack of recovering from the worst shocks. I guess there is no point in probing the psyche of the characters in movies that are primarily meant to 'entertain'. I wish they did.
The music in the background consists of sundry intonations and the Pope in
Rome is shown as a passive servant of God. The athletic ones and the ones who
matter are bound to be in America. Another thing: I can't recall such disregard
shown by the Satan/devil towards holy objects/places, as in this film. I guess
man himself has undermined their effectiveness.