The 6th Day

2000, Movie, PG-13, 124 mins


The good news is, Arnold Schwarzenegger's commitment probably got this ambitious sci-fi thriller made. The bad news is, it would have been better without him. In the near future, dead pets can be cloned at RePet shops, virtual girlfriends offer the fun of real women without the upkeep and kids clamor for interactive playthings like SimPal Cindy. "Don't you have real friends?" old-fashioned dad Adam Gibson (Schwarzenegger) asks his little girl. "Yes, and they all have SimPals," she replies pertly. Gibson and best friend Hank (Michael Rapaport) run a helicopter service catering to the filthy rich, and their newest client is billionaire Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) of Replacement Technologies, RePet's corporate parent and a leader in cloning research. Because it's Gibson's birthday and he's got errands to run, Hank takes over the Drucker job without bothering to tell the client. But when Gibson goes home that night, some guy who looks exactly like him is enjoying his birthday celebration with his family and friends. Then a bunch of thugs (Michael Rooker, Rod Rowland, Terry Crews and Sarah Wynter) try to kill Gibson. The fact is, Gibson has been cloned, which makes him living proof that stringent "6th Day" laws (as in "on the sixth day, God created man"), enacted after a disastrous experiment in human cloning, have been violated. His only chance to get back his life lies in figuring out how and why he was cloned, and using that information against the (ir)responsible parties. Schwarzenegger is profoundly unconvincing as a regular guy caught up in a futuristic nightmare, and his monumental, cartoon-like presence undermines the generally somber tone. The movie isn't BLADE RUNNER, but it's got some provocative ideas about the implications of cloning in a market-driven, capitalist society. It would be nice if they weren't competing with cliched explosions, car chases, gun battles and Schwarzenegger's trademark, ham-fisted quips. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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