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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.13%
Worth A Look: 26.88%
Pretty Bad: 28.13%
Total Crap: 11.25%

15 reviews, 70 user ratings

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6th Day, The
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by Erik Childress

"A Better Written Than Directed Action Film?"
4 stars

I never thought I’d say this about an action film, but The 6th Day is actually better written than it is directed. Usually big-budget techno-thrillers like this leave their brain in the recycle bin while their guns do the talking. Much like some members of the NRA. But Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new film goes the extra mile and gives us something to think about keeping us interested through the chase and gunplay which aren't quite as spectacular.

In the not-too-distant future, cloning has become a reality. But only legal to create donor organs and “Re-Pets”, so your child never has to go through the trauma of losing the family dog. Illegal is the kind of experimentation that Michael Keaton used in Multiplicity. Such laws are known as “sixth day violations”, named in honor of that classic Genesis passage. But as God rests, science takes over and like the Prohibition of old, there is profit and a means for cloning humans.

The Schwarz plays Adam Gibson, a pilot for a charter company. He’s got a loving wife and kid and a brand new remote control for his helicopter. Life is good. Until he comes home one night expecting a surprise birthday party and instead finds a bigger surprise waiting. Himself. Hugging his family and blowing out his candles. Of course, it isn’t him, or is it? Before he has time to ask questions, he’s being hunted by a group of hired guns (including Michael Rooker & Sarah Wynter) who want him out of the picture. Two of the key players in this mystery are billionaire Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) and Dr. Graham Weir (Robert Duvall) and its up to Gibson to discover their connection and get his life back.

If the plot sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because The 6th Day is, in its own way, a thinly-veiled clone of one of Arnold’s best works, Total Recall. Even a doll Arnold brings home for his daughter here looks like the mutant freak Quato from Recall. Both films set Arnold as a regular guy in the future where various technological accomplishments wow the audience as mere backdrop. In Total Recall, Arnold has doubts about going to “Recall” where simulated memories can be implanted in one’s mind to give them the illusion of taking past vacations and what not. The 6th Day has Arnold hesitant about “Re-Pet”, worrying that a genetically-created replica of a pet with sharp teeth might not be the best idea for his daughter. After making his decision in both films, he works his way towards home only to be jumped by a gang of baddies. Then the chase is on to figure out why this ordinary everyday guy is now being shot at. The evil corporation in Total Recall stole Arnold’s memory. The one in The 6th Day wants Arnold for his body as well as his mind.

The 6th Day works best when its either dealing with the futuristic components and satire or really digging into the debate about cloning. It’s always nice to see a film that doesn’t feel the need to pin itself down to an exact year. That way we can always marvel at the potentially impending advancements for years to come without sneering at how that year has come and gone and still no flying cars. (Escape from New York was set in 1999 and that city still hasn’t been turned into a giant prison). The cloning discussion really gets its day in court here with both the good and bad sides raising interesting points about food supplies, disease study and people’s feelings. I was amazed and pleasantly surprised how many quiet moments in The 6th Day take the time to deliberate the issues it raises, rising above your bargain basement high-concept sci-fi thriller.

What should be the easy part for a film in that genre is the action. And one of the drawbacks of the action sequences is that they don’t seem designed for a PG-13 film. They have the feel of a more violent staging that got cut down from a “R” to appease the Ratings Gestapo. If you doubt my paranoia, just remember Arnold saying to one bad guy, “I don’t want to expose my little girl to any graphic violence. She gets enough of that from the media.” Then remember the scene where one of Arnold’s attackers gets their foot severed in a laser blast. We see the gun, then a scream and then a shot of the guy’s foot unattached. It looks silly and will probably get an unintentional laugh in some theaters. What happened to the good ol’ Arnold days when we got to see the bloody limb taken off on-screen? Ahhh, those were the days.

Action and issues aside, there are a lot of good actors at work here. Arnold is always a pleasure to watch, whether he’s snapping somebody’s neck (an Arnold staple) or making some real subtle and funny quips along with the usual one-liners after a kill. Tony Goldwyn creates a real interesting villain, slimy and calculating, but with some keen dialogue that has us wondering about the validity of his points. And the great Robert Duvall looks to be cashing a paycheck (a la Gone In Sixty Seconds) from what the trailers show, but he assuredly is not. As the leading specialist in cloning, Duvall has some wonderfully special moments with his sick wife that elevate his character from becoming just a one-note plot point.

There’s plenty to like about The 6th Day. It’s a great-looking film as the more suburban utopian futuristic tales are. It may not have as much action as say, Eraser, but its not as dumb as that movie was either. If director Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies AND Stop or My Mom Will Shoot) had oiled the action sequences with a little more ooomph, it could have been one of Arnold’s best. Nevertheless this still is Arnold’s best film since True Lies and while it may not rank in the same echelon as Arnold’s other action efforts like Terminator 2 or Total Recall, it’s a smart one and how often can you say that about an action film?

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originally posted: 11/20/00 16:50:40
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good imho 4 stars
4/08/16 David Hollingsworth Too derivative, even for Arnold. 2 stars
7/08/14 Kat Could have been good. Wanted to like it. Sadly, it was both boring and terribly written. 2 stars
8/01/11 Chris F not one of Arnies best films 3 stars
12/22/06 David Pollastrini must have sucked. I saw it but have no memory of it 1 stars
8/18/05 ES better than Total retard, I liked the way the villains kept coming back from the dead 4 stars
7/03/05 Quigley had some clever ideas, but it becomes a really forgettable film. watch T2, not this 3 stars
6/02/05 Chris Are you who you think you are? 1 stars
3/31/05 hannaho Just another Arnold film. 3 stars
3/05/05 Gloria Anderson love this movie 4 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung one of arnie's worst films 2 stars
2/28/05 Diane Stedner It wasn't so bad but wasn't so good either 3 stars
2/23/05 ALDO one of arnie's worse films...disappointing!!!! 2 stars
8/23/04 R.W. Welch Plot line is too far out to be very involving. Some snazzy F/X. 3 stars
6/09/04 Nobody I'm glad arnie went into politics, now he can't make any more crappy movies like this 1 stars
4/17/04 ALBERT H. TAYLOR JR. Not Arnold's better films! 3 stars
4/09/04 y2mckay One of Arnie's most brain-dead actioners - rent "Total Recall" . Sarah Wynter hot, though. 2 stars
4/09/04 Jack Sommersby Uninteresting, unexciting, and unmemorable. A real waste of fucking time. 1 stars
2/21/04 Stefan Halka The worst action I have ever seen in any A-level movie. 3 stars
1/29/04 stuntman A good idea ruined by poor writers 2 stars
7/01/03 Frank Lynch Decent flick 4 stars
4/20/03 Pratim Guha Biswas IT was really a waste of time which u would not normally expect from a Arnie Movie 2 stars
4/18/03 Matt Thiel An action film that tries to tell a story; but there are better examples than this. 3 stars
10/29/02 Jay Is this movie bad? No fucking way! Arnie at his best! 5 stars
8/02/02 Zefram Mann That Sim-Pal was so friggin' evil looking. 3 stars
5/26/02 I'm in (L) with a Jedi when i told u to go screw urself i didnt mean it literally 3 stars
3/29/02 Evan The Critic An attempt to go back to the 'Total Recall' sci-fi action, and it hit on target! Must see! 4 stars
3/15/02 Zargo underrated 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Interesting premise. Not very exciting. 3 stars
11/29/01 The $1.98 Pyramid I had high expectations about this movie, and so I was disapointed. 2 stars
10/31/01 Connoisseur nice entertaining movie, quit carping! 4 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat Lots of fun for the first hour and a half. 4 stars
6/11/01 I love movies this movie absolutely rocked the world! Arnold's best in years but his acting hasn't improv 5 stars
5/13/01 Pete Wrigley just bad 1 stars
5/09/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Christ... 2 stars
5/08/01 Monday Morning Kind of a cross between "Total Recall" and "Twins". Fun futuristic appliances too. 4 stars
5/07/01 saleh sientific 4 stars
4/16/01 The Bomb 69 interesting look at the possibilities of cloning and the potential downfalls 4 stars
4/13/01 DREDD really bad plot, must have been really big hard drives to store all those memorys 2 stars
4/11/01 Del R One of me says he liked it, the other one says he didn't 3 stars
4/11/01 Jesse L Most boring Arnie movie ever made. Thin thin plot. 2 stars
4/11/01 Spetters Arnold sucks!!! He should make a Movie with Cameron again. 1 stars
3/30/01 The Reviewer it is better than last action hero, end of days, but not as good as total recall. 4 stars
2/04/01 Avenger girl Not to bad a movie,lots of action,but Arnie movies need some new insights. 3 stars
1/26/01 Sickofshitfilms comes a close second just after 'Battlefield Earth' 2 stars
1/26/01 Diego Romero Preet good movie,believe me,Arnie will return with T3 and true lies 2 5 stars
1/17/01 The Terminator As a fan of Schwarzenegger, I enjoyed this movie 4 stars
1/15/01 Action freak Good movie, should have been a huge hit, but people don't seem to like Schwarzenegger 4 stars
12/31/00 kevin AH im a clone i have two rings under my eyelid, this movie sucked D+ 2 stars
12/21/00 owen thought provoking action flik 4 stars
12/12/00 MAXOMENOS Good premise, boring execution. Could be the last gasp of the typical Arnold flick. 2 stars
12/05/00 Charlie.X "Did you get the info, !!Arnie,!! my soul wants 2, know, du plane will land, its gonu blow. 4 stars
11/26/00 FlickChick Kinda like Total Recall meets Demo Man meets 5th Element. Fills the flick need. 4 stars
11/25/00 Blubberbot Some good parts. Some bad parts. Some exciting parts. Some boring parts. 3 stars
11/25/00 FELaPorta Great Fun - my kids and I loved it! 4 stars
11/25/00 TigerShark Could've been so much better than it was. Ah-nold was good, but the plot was stupid. Rental 2 stars
11/24/00 KoHawk I guess it was okay... Damn those lasers ruined it, though 3 stars
11/23/00 Florida Voter 2 Too close to call.........lets recount!!! 4 stars
11/22/00 Greyjack An all right movie. Not blow-you-out-of-your-seat great, but a good matinee flick. 4 stars
11/21/00 Wyatt Earp Better than I expected. Nice FXs. Acting wasn't painful 4 stars
11/20/00 Stuntman not as bad as Red Planet, but worth watching 3 stars
11/20/00 TheRock Much better than M2M and Red Planet...not in Total Recall's class though 4 stars
11/19/00 frankko it's no COMMANDO. 3 stars
11/19/00 Will it was good simple fun. 4 stars
11/19/00 Brandon Bickford not bad when arnie isn't talking 4 stars
11/19/00 Bruce Has it's problems but it is entertianing. 4 stars
11/19/00 FLORIDA VOTER This movie was great! I disagree with the reviewer, this movie is 5 stars, A++ 5 stars
11/18/00 Eve Crisp visuals, some neat twists, and Arnold is always a reliable source of fun and heroism 5 stars
11/18/00 artifact great special effects, but missing a strong storyline 3 stars
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  17-Nov-2000 (PG-13)


  18-Jan-2001 (M)

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