Written by: Andrew W. Marlowe
Directed by: Peter Hyams
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Gabriel Byrne, Robin Tunney, Kevin Pollak, Rod Steiger
My Advice: Wait for cable.
Jericho Cane (Schwarzenegger) is a man with a problem. Not only is he depressed and suicidal, but he really wishes he could pull off the scene where he wants to kill himself as good as Mel Gibson did in Lethal Weapon, but he can’t–which makes him even more depressed. He only thought he was having a bad day, because his buddy and partner is Kevin Pollak, who immediately upstages him and continues to do so in pretty much every scene. To make matters worse, Satan comes to New York City looking for not only a good lay (Tunney) but also an actor worthy of playing him (Byrne), whom he promptly possesses. Then, for no particular reason, Cane and partner go to work protecting Byrne-Satan, and then leave their client and job to chase after a would-be assassin, again for no particular reason. And of course, this leads them into a world that they never knew existedâ€”action movie hell.
[ad#longpost]There’s no justice in the world â€“ finally we have a film involving religion that is really deserving of someone to protest it and it opens with nary a picket line. You see, in the dreams of action movie hell, plots and good ideas are sometimes viewed upside down and backward. That’s why you can have good actors like Byrne and Pollak and some great scenes and imagery, all of which seems like they belong in another movie. For example, any good movie about the return of the Adversary. This is not that movie. The problem is not even that it’s Arnold vs. Satan, which is rather laughable. It is extremely laughable when Miriam Margolyes kicks Arnold’s ass, and it’s almost worth watching for that scene alone, but alas, not even Kung Fu Nurseâ„¢ can save fight off the rest of this mess.
Arnold tries, but he had better dialogue in Batman and Robin. Robin Tunney could have been any actress so we can’t blame her. Byrne is having fun slumming and being just flat out evil. A scene where he tempts Arnie with his former life is good because he’s good. Kevin Pollakâ€”I’m glad he’s working. And Rod Steigerâ€”I feel cheated because I wanted HIM to be the one to kick Arnie’s ass, not Miriam. I would have paid good money to see that.
The list of questions goes on about this nonsensical film: Who are the endless hordes of people who show up for no reason with clubs and flashlights? Why does the temple of Satan look like a fraternity initiation party? And is the Pope really trying to sound like Brando? Ask these questions, yes, but ask them at home when there’s nothing else better to do, and you’re paying for HBO anyway. Go ye now in peace.