The 6th Day (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/12/2000

Three out of five stars
Running time: 123 mins

Above-average sci-fi themed "Schwarzy Movie" with a lot of interesting ideas sprinkled in amongst the explosions.

In the not-too-distant future, cars drive themselves, bananas come in regular and nacho-cheese flavours and ‘Virtual Girlfriends’ are all the rage. Cloning is widespread, but restricted to pets only (courtesy of the Re-pet corporation), since the ‘6th Day Laws’ made cloning of humans illegal.

Imagine Big Arn’s surprise then, when, after a hard day’s work as a ‘whisper-craft’ pilot, he returns home to his perfect wife and perfect daughter to discover that he’s been cloned, and that his clone is inside whooping it up with his family on his birthday.

It swiftly transpires that Evil Billionaire Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) has cloned him by mistake, believing him dead, and that now, since there are two Arnies wandering about, one of them has to be killed off…

It’s impossible to watch The 6th Day without being reminded of Total Recall, and although it never quite hits the heights of Verhoeven’s film, there are still a lot of good ideas kicking about to make the story worth watching. However, those hoping for an intelligent discourse on the ethics of cloning, should probably look elsewhere.

As it’s a Schwarzy Movie, we also get healthy doses of self-referentiality, such as when Arnie tells a salesman "I might be back", or when he warns some gunmen not to fire at him, because he has his daughter with him and he "doesn’t want to expose her to mindless violence". The trademark wisecracks are in evidence too, though in a couple of cases these go too far and the film could just have easily have done without them.

It’s hardly worth commenting on the acting – it’s not really fair to suddenly expect Schwarzy to mutate into Kevin Spacey at this late stage of the game, and, true to form, he is as wooden and awkward in the ‘regular guy’ scenes as ever.

He’s given good support though, especially from Michael Rapaport as his friend and co-pilot, but also from Robert Duvall as the weary head scientist, and the ever-reliable Michael Rooker as the lead henchman.

In fact, Rooker and his team of henchman provide many of the films best moments, as they get repeatedly killed and re-cloned – with Rooker at one point telling them to "Quit your whining – we’ve all been killed before!"

The only real problem with the film is that you correctly sense that there is a genuinely creepy and suspenseful, more intelligent movie to be made from the same material, and it’s frustrating to imagine what the film could have been in the hands of a more imaginative director (such as Cronenberg, Lynch or even Ridley Scott), with a different actor attached.

Still, a film that contains lines such as "That sonofabitch has my thumb!" can’t be all bad, and this has more than enough to satisfy as a Saturday night popcorn movie and at least it strictly adheres to the golden rule: If in doubt, blow everything up…

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Content updated: 24/10/2017 06:51

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