The 6th Day
dir Roger Spottiswoode
scr Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley
with Arnold Schwartzenegger, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rapaport, Robert Duvall, Wendy Crewson, Michael Rooker, Sarah Wynter, Rod Rowland, Terry Crews, Ken Pogue, Colin Cunningham, Taylor Anne Reid
release US 17.Nov.00; UK 15.Dec.00
Columbia 00/US 2h02 2 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
Brainscan. A pair of thugs (Wynter and Rooker) forcably extract a snapshot of Adam's (Schwartzenegger) mind ... through his eyes of course.
Arnold continues his attempted "comeback" after a string of duds with ... another dud. And another biblical theme as well (his last was the apocalyptic thriller End of Days, this one's title comes from the day in Genesis when man was created). But the problem here, besides a dire script and pedestrian direction, is that the film startlingly highlights each and every one of his weaknesses as an actor. He plays Adam Gibson, an adventure helicopter pilot in the near future ("nearer than you think!"), flying with his partner (Rapaport) to take snowborders to the tops of mountains. Whatever. Adam has a loving wife and daughter (Crewson and Reid) and when he comes home he finds another version of himself celebrating his birthday with them. Yes, he's been cloned by a villainous businessman (Goldwyn) and his ace scientist (Duvall), who have henchmen looking for him. So Adam must figure out what's going on, then set things right.

Since this is a Schwartzenegger film, the outcome is never in doubt. So much for suspense. And Spottiswoode, while a gifted filmmaker, is in the wrong genre here, undermining any exciting action with direction that's too straightforward and relies too heavily on special effects and futuristic gimmickry. The result is a who-cares adventure with shallow characters, little logic or coherence in the story and a pathetic fear of confronting the serious issues it raises. That isn't to say it's boring--there's a certain level of watchability in any slick Hollywood dreck. Besides all the fun future stuff, Arnold does still have serious screen presence. Alas, this film requires him to do some subtle acting--as if he could. The results are, frankly, laughable, as he seems to be parodying the family-man-in-trouble long before we start seeing double.

[15--violence, language, themes] 11.Dec.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall