The 6th Day

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Goldwyn, Robert Duvall, Michael Rapaport, Michael Rooker.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong action violence, brief strong language and some sensuality.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
November 20, 2000

After seeing the deplorable Grinch, anything will look good in comparison, even the new Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle. Well, it won't look good exactly, but it will be a welcome respite.

Our beloved Ahnold plays Adam Gibson, a helicopter pilot in the not-too-distant future ("sooner that you think", according to the opening titles). Cloning has become a reality, and is perfected to the point that when his dog dies, Adam can have it replaced with an exact replica before his daughter returns from school. Cloning of humans has been made illegal with the passing of the Sixth Day Law, named after the day in Genesis when God created Man. The law was passed because the first experiments were disastrous, the human brain being too complex for the existing technology to copy all the memories and gained knowledge to a clone.

To head down to RePet nice and early to get a new dog, Adam trades places with his partner, Hank (Michael Rapaport) before taking the next customer on a chartered flight. That customer is Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), the president of Nu Organ -- the cloning company that also owns RePet, among other genetic enterprises. He insists on performing drug and alcohol tests on both Adam and Hank before takeoff. This precaution was actually to get DNA samples and brain scans, which are needed when Hank and Drucker are killed by asassins upon landing. However, the people at Nu Organ thought that Hank was Adam, and cloned him. Now there are two Adams running around, and only one of them is sleeping with Mrs. Gibson (Wendy Crewson). The newest Drucker clone must kill this extra one off, or face conviction for breaking the Sixth Day Law.

One of the nice things about The 6th Day is that you don't know which is the original Adam and which is the clone. After the accidental cloning, the film is mostly from the perspective of the one who isn't sleeping with the wife and petting the new dog. The identities are revealed eventually, of course, but it is interesting to find out. The other positive aspect of the film is the underlying sense of humor. This is mostly in the little details, and the general tone of the film. There aren't as many funny lines, per se, as a comedy.

Somehow, despite these signs of intelligence, there is an overwhelming stupidity in the film. As with End of Days, I couldn't tell if the film was trying to spoof itself. So many lines are loaded with clichés, and are then spoken with the most earnest sincerity. I suppose you could find amusement in seeing just how bad it gets, but it's a weird way to watch a film.

As Schwarzenegger gets older, it seems that his films are getting weirder. The oddest thing about The 6th Day is not its unevenness, but the fact that it was hardly promoted. The marketing department over at Sony just seemed to preemptively concede the box office to Universal's Grinch. Even Rugrats in Paris destroyed this film. Many Schwarzenegger fans probably don't even know that it exists, or that it's out right now. This could be the end for our musclebound friend. He and Sly Stallone can spend their years sitting together in their last remaining Planet Hollywood, hoping that Bruce Willis will take the time to return their calls.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
The 6th Day (2000)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
The 6th Day (2000) -- VHS
The 6th Day (2000) -- DVD
The 6th Day, a screenplay novelization by Terry Bisson -- Paperback
The 6th Day: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack -- Compact Disc


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Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan