Two Arnolds for the price of one. How could you go wrong with a recipe like
that? Well, in THE 6TH DAY, director Roger Spottiswoode (TOMORROW NEVER
DIES) doesn't, coming up with an intelligent and high energy science fiction
tale that is a lot of good old fashioned fun.
Set in a time -- "In the near future. Sooner than you think." -- in which
cloning has become possible, the cautionary movie opens with an XFL football
game. (Just think of the product placement fees that the XFL had to come up
with for that plug. The NFL, the story explains, is in the midst of a
4-year player strike.) The first $300,000,000 quarterback is severely
injured in the game. The solution, of course, is cloning. Although
cloning of human organs and of entire animals is legal, complete cloning of
humans is against the law, so the replacement strategy for the quarterback
is kept strictly secret.
As Drucker, the head of a cloning conglomerate and of the XFL, Tony Goldwyn
(GHOST) is a villain who is a bit too cold for the part. His chief
scientist, Dr. Graham Weir, is significantly underplayed by Robert Duvall.
The rest of the supporting casting, however, including Michael Rapaport as
Arnold's sidekick and Michael Rooker, Rodney Rowland and Sarah Wynter, as
Drucker's thugs, works quite well.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, as helicopter pilot Adam Gibson, is at the top of his
form. He is lovable, humorous, vulnerable and strong. A man who has been
known for some robotic acting at times, Arnold is remarkably human this
time, even when he is a clone. Early in the story, he is cloned and the bad
guys under Drucker's orders try to find the real Adam and eliminate him with
the use of some cool guns. If people find out that there are two Adams,
Drucker will go to jail, and his operation will be shut down.
The gadgetry becomes an engrossing and hilarious subplot in its own right.
Carefully mixing the future with the present, all of the technological toys
seem quite realistic. Car's navigational systems have become capable of
autopiloting. Holographic images have become the billboards of the future.
Kid's dolls become a creepy cross between a real girl and something from THE
BRIDE OF CHUCKY. Get arrested and you are instantly given a virtual court
appointed attorney. And if you have been worried about sex on the Internet,
wait until you see what is possible with a full-sized virtual sex toy. The
latter is one of many reasons why the film's PG-13 rating is a bit
You back up your data regularly, or you should, but do you back up your
brain? Drucker does. Memory dumping becomes part of this intriguing and
complex story, whose twists come quickly and often. Even if part of it is
familiar ground for an Arnold actioner, it is none the less entertaining.
It may not be the sort of movie that you'll be discussing a week later, but
while you're there, you'll have a high old time.
THE 6TH DAY runs 2:04. It is rated PG-13 for strong action violence, brief
strong language and some sensuality and would be acceptable for teenagers.
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes