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The 6th Day

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The 6th Day

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Duvall
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: November 2000
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

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 questionable.

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

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