Rest assured, you're watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle. This time he's not a spy or a commando, he's Adam Gibson, an extreme snowboarding tour guide in the not-so-distant future, an era that includes a company called RePet can clone your dog, cat, or snake. Or you can pick up a Sim-Pal, a child-size doll (with real hair that grows) that makes for one of the creepiest props I've seen since that miniature, squirting chicken in Eraserhead.
One day in this utopia, our lovable hero returns home from work to discover that, a la RePet, he's been cloned and a doppelganger has taken over his life. Say what!? Everyone knows human cloning is illegal. Before you can say "I'll be back," Arnie finds himself on the run from goons intent on killing him -- if only he could figure out who -- and why -- they wanted him dead!
Of course, that reason just might have a little something to do with Tony Goldwyn's multi-billionaire bad guy Drucker, who turns out to be building some kind of illicit clone empire that is near-unstoppable. Clone hitman gets killed? Just re-clone him and send him back out into the field to bust some heads!
For the first time on film, it's Arnie vs. Arnie as the real Adam comes to terms with his alter ego, only he understandably finds he has trouble kicking his own ass. Why? Because this is the era of a kinder, gentler Arnold. A PG-13 Arnold. A pacifist Arnold that only kills four thugs instead of the usual two dozen during a shooting spree.
Much of The 6th Day serves as little more than an excuse to show off a bunch of gee-whiz effects, a lot of which is reminiscent of Schwarzenegger's Eraser. And while some of the FX really are gee-whiz, some -- like the extremely annoying "high-tech" wipes that work as scene transitions -- are tedious and look more like music video sequences.
A lot of this unevenness can be chalked up to director Roger Spottiswoode, the man probably best known for helming the limp James Bond vehicle Tomorrow Never Dies but also responsible for movies like Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Turner & Hooch. Then again, I suppose Spottiswoode is no more out of his element that Arnold Schwarzenegger is as producer.
So is all this talk of cloning possible -- namely that you can copy a person's personality and all their memories by flashing a light in their eyes, or that you can clone a whole person in two short hours? Well... what The 6th Day lacks in scientific feasibility it makes up for with some much-needed humor. Now, a little phony science I can forgive, but what's less forgivable is that The 6th Day is so damn boring! Where are the thrills? Sure Arnie hangs out of a helicopter once, but much of the film takes place behind corporate doors discussing the right and wrongs of the clone debate. Hardly a True Lies with, you know, a nuke or two going off.
Ultimately, The 6th Day turns out to be a curious modern morality fable, one that comes out distinctly on the anti-cloning side. But I'm not sure if Spottiswoode isn't sending mixed messages here. After all, two Arnolds!? What could be wrong with that?
...but two days too late.
Run time: 123 mins
In Theaters: Friday 17th November 2000
Box Office USA: $33.8M
Box Office Worldwide: $34.5M
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Production compaines: Columbia Pictures, Phoenix Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 41%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 69
IMDB: 5.9 / 10
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger as Adam Gibson, Michael Rapaport as Hank Morgan, Tony Goldwyn as Michael Drucker, Michael Rooker as Robert Marshall, Sarah Wynter as Talia Elsworth, Robert Duvall as Dr. Griffin Weir, Wendy Crewson as Natalie, Taylor-Anne Reid as Clara, Andrew McIlroy as Scott Moore, Alexandra Castillo as Reporter, Steve Bacic as Johnny Phoenix, Wanda Cannon as Katherine Weir