||The 6th Day
2000 - PG-13 - Mins.
|Director: Roger Spottiswoode|
|Producer: Mike Medavoy|
|Written By: Cormac and Marianne Wibberley|
|Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Rapaport, Wendy Crewson, Taylor Anne Reid, Tony Goldywn |
|Review by: John Ulmer
Sci-fi-action-thrillers haven't been done very well since "Terminator 2," or, if you prefer more strict sci-fi films, "Total Recall" (1990). Both starred Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now he's *back* in a film that is not only fun but conceals an important message. It's about cloning.
It is the future. ("The very near future.") In the future just about any animal can be cloned at "Re-pet," a store devoted to cloning your ex-pets. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Adam Gibson, a family man with a wife (Wendy Crewson) and daughter (Taylor Anne Reid). He strongly dislikes futuristic devices; in a time where people laser shave, Adam still uses an old-fashioned razor blade. His friend, Hank Morgan (Michael Rapaport) is all for the future and what it holds; he even has a virtual girlfriend.
But after Adam comes home one night to find someone in his house ("There's someone in my house, eating my birthday cake, with my family!"), he grows worried and soon finds a cloning conspiracy headed by a man named Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) and a scientist played by Robert Duvall who isn't quite so sure he's doing the right thing.
"The 6th Day" pretty much flopped when it came out. Not only should it not have flopped, but it should not have been so easily ignored. As we see now, with parents asking judges to "create their own babies genetically," our times are nearing much closer to those in "The 6th Day." The film is not just an Arnie action flick; it's a bit more.
The underlying roots of the film are not only important, but also contain "Back to the Future"-type paradoxes. For example: they make clones by taking "blanks," fitting them with the genetic structure of the human, then insert their memory (filled on chips of some kind) into their brains. As Roger Ebert roughly stated, when you are a child--let's just say ten for right now--you get a memory-scan or whatever they're called. Then, when you're fifty, you clone yourself at age ten. You could actually raise yourself. Of course, the question is whether you would want to raise yourself, but that's merely a technicality. And could you imagine if time machines and cloning devices existed in the same future? The results and/or possibilites are endless.
One other thing I liked about this film is that they do not disclose the year. Just like "Star Wars" and such films, it becomes much more wonderful and suspenseful when it does not disclose the year the film takes place. In this movie, they say, "In the very near future--closer than you think."
The movie was directed by Roger Spottiswoode, the man responsible for, among other things, "Turner and Hootch"--that dog-buddy movie with Tom Hanks that I found pretty darn infectious and charming--and "Tomorrow Never Dies," a James Bond actioner I found weak and stupid. This stands out as one of his best. He clearly has an idea of the future and how it should look. Many of the actual objects of the future--from dolls to cars to virtual girlfriends--are given such familiarity and deep thought that we start to believe we really are in the future. "The 6th Day" doesn't try to show off the future; it sets us in the future and tries to make us believe. And it does so greatly.
"The 6th Day" is not only an important film, but an extremely entertaining one, too. On the plus side, the filming technique is very futuristic, but not the millionth rip-off of "Blade Runner"--dark and broody. The only other film I can think of that dealed with the future and did not rip-off "Blade Runner" is "Back to the Future Part II"--which used bright colors to represent its future.
And as for the people who complain Arnie is too old in this movie--were you expecting his age to decrease during the filming? The nature of man and aging is involuntary--get over it already.
"The 6th Day" is the rare sci-fi film that leaves you pinned to your seat in awe. It's thrilling, fun, humorous, and adventurous. The images of the future burst through the screen like the hovercopters we see and they make a direct route right into your brain. This is a spectacular movie with a clear vision of the future--don't miss it.