Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Movie Review: "The 6th Day" (2000)

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Movie"The 6th Day"
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Year: 2000
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hour, 3 minutes

Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a charter pilot. He has been hired to fly Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), the billionaire owner of a genetics company, to the top of a ski summit. Because it is his birthday and he has some errands to run, Adam passes the job to his buddy Hank (Michael Rapaport), but the flight is attacked by some radical activists and everyone is killed. Upon finishing his errands, Adam arrives home to find he is already there celebrating his birthday. He suddenly realizes he has been cloned, which is common practice on animals, but is illegal to perform on humans. Now, the private security of the company responsible is there to kill Adam and make sure their illegal activities aren't discovered. 

The "The 6th Day" is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's more forgotten films. The title of the film is, of course, a reference to the bible and the passage in Genesis that states, "on the 6th day, God created man," which is also the tagline for the movie as well. When this film first came out, we were just a couple of years removed from Dolly the cloned sheep, and scientists had just mapped the human genome. As expected, the subject of eventual human cloning brought many controversies and divisive opinions, putting the issue front and center and fresh in the minds of the masses, in addition to the moral implications of such a practice. Despite the opening scene being an XFL football game, this movie is supposed to take place in the future, which is ironic in and of itself. It can only be excused as a poor product placement now, but thinking the almost immediately defunct XFL would be around long enough to see holograms, pet cloning, and self-driving cars as part of every day life is quite comical and it does date the film significantly. In this future, human cloning is illegal under an ordinance called "The 6th Day Law," but cloning pets, plants, and internal organs is fine and a common practice, even to the point of commercialization. Radical groups of religious fundamentalists are constantly protesting all cloning activities and they even use violence and commit murder in the name of God and their cause. It is one of these acts of violence that causes Arnold Schwarzenegger's character Adam Gibson to be cloned by mistake. Now, the company that did the cloning has to kill one of the Adams to make sure no one discovers their illegal activities.

Though this premise is different from any other Schwarzenegger romp, after the initial stage is set, it becomes the standard Arnold action flick relatively quickly with a cloning twist. He kills those pursuing him, only to have their clone pop up later to resume the hunt in a never-ending fashion. Schwarzenegger seems to have lost a bit of his 'magic touch' by the year 2000, sporting a smaller frame and an obvious dye job in an effort to recapture his youth and success as a staple of the action genre. There are a couple of cheesy lines here, but nothing like the amount in his past films. The main villain in this film is Michael Drucker, played by dreamboat Tony Goldwyn. Drucker owns the company that is doing the illegal cloning, though he is not a purely evil character. Many of his efforts are noble as he helps those with terminal diseases conquer death, but he has to do illegal and sometimes immoral things in the pursuit of the advancement of science. The overall subject matter and philosophical questions at the crux of the story are a little complex for a light action film. The filmmakers try to make the morality much more black and white, but it just seems like grappling with the implications of cloning, human or otherwise, was probably not suited for Schwarzenegger. Now, this isn't a terrible movie by any means, but it does feel like it is missing quite a big something. The action scenes seem to lack tension or excitement and don't really grip the way they should and have in several of his other films. The special effects and make-up are pretty good for a film from this era, especially considering early 2000's CGI didn't always look the best, even at the time. This film is modestly entertaining, but lacks a certain element that could make it truly memorable, especially with such a gripping topic.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 41%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
One year ago, we were watching: "Tammy"

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