You think you’ve got a rough holiday to-do list? Schwarzenegger has you outmuscled. In his first flick since 1997’s ”Batman & Robin,” the 52-year-old star plays a recovering-alcoholic ex-cop who’s working security. Turns out he’s the only guy in the world who can stop a corporealized Satan (Byrne) from taking a mortal bride (Tunney) – a consummation that would spell ”hasta la vista” for humankind.
Behind the scenes, the picture itself skirted purgatory when director Marcus Nispel, a music-vid and TV-ad tyro, departed a few weeks before shooting was to start on the $100 million-range flick. Everybody’s mum on exactly why, but we doubt it was a tearful farewell; in August 1998, someone circulated Nispel’s 64-page on-set ”manifesto,” which said, among other things, that ”talent should… not talk to Marcus unless he needs to talk to them.” (Nispel’s reps said the document was written mainly by an assistant and was several years old anyway.) In came vet Peter Hyams (”The Relic”), who’s no barrel of monkeys either. ”Making a film,” he states flatly, ”is not a bunch of laughs for me…. It’s terrifying.”
Byrne, meanwhile, had a hoot manhandling Arnold, even throwing him through a plate-glass window. Says the actor: ”My son saw the scene and said, ‘Well, obviously that’s a special effect.”’ BUZZ FACTOR: 6
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