Once again Arnold Schwarzenegger has to save the world from destruction in this tired and tiring dud of an action movie. The thin premise this time is that our whole calendar was designed so that the devil’s one opportunity to bring about the apocalypse is to impregnate a woman at 11:00 P.M., December 31, 1999. “Is that Eastern Standard Time?” Schwarzenegger asks helpfully. And luckily it is, so we can juxtapose the race to save humanity with the countdown at Times Square.
The damsel in distress is named Christine, just in case we need a reminder that this is all Deeply Meaningful. And the good guys are straight out of a scriptwriting software package — a disaffected former cop accompanied, of course, by a wisecracking sidekick.
Kids will want to see this movie because Arnold Schwarzenegger gets to fight the devil and lots of things get blown up. But parents should know that it is in the upper ranges of the R rating, with some gross-out violence, a sexual threesome featuring a mother and daughter, and suicide portrayed as an heroic act.
Teens who do see the movie may want to talk about some of the issues it raises, including the theme of faith against force. Characters also ask whether it is right to sacrifice one innocent life to save millions — renegade priests try to kill Christine to prevent her from becoming pregnant by the devil. And people grapple with the question of free will – – one character sells his soul to the devil to stay alive and then struggles to do what he knows is right