Home > Action, Sci Fi, Thriller > The 6th Day (2000)

The 6th Day (2000)

What is more badass than Arnold Schwarzenegger as a military guy? Arnold Schwarzenegger as an ex-military family guy. What’s more badass than a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it once? A movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it twice. The real question, though, is whether or not a movie with two Arnolds in it can still pull off a deep philosophical discussion of the implications of human cloning and still be badass. Let’s find out.

The 6th Day is a sci fi thriller film directed by Roger Spottiswoode, in a near-future where animal cloning is commonplace but human cloning has been outlawed. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Rapaport, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rooker, Sarah Wynter, and Robert Duvall.

It is the year 2015. Cloning technology is sufficiently advanced that animal cloning is commonplace (leading to the recovery of a number of endangered species and a virtual end to world hunger), every child has grown up with a cloned Re-pet (a genetic copy of a pet that has died), and cloned human organs for transplant are becoming mainstream. However, the cloning of a complete human is forbidden by “6th Day” laws, named for the creation story in the Book of Genesis which states that God created man on the 6th day. Cloning is still a highly divisive issue, however, with cloning protestors appearing regularly outside Replacement Technologies, a firm that specilizes in cloning. Ex-military family man and charter pilot Adam Gibson has his doubts about the moral implications of cloning, but he has other things to worry about right now: It is his birthday, and he has been hired as transportation for Michael Drucker, the CEO of Replacement Technologies, who is headed on a ski trip. On his way to pick up Drucker, Gibson is informed that his daughters beloved dog has died, and his wife instructs him to have the dog cloned as a Re-pet. Gibson’s buddy Morgan offers to take his place on the charter so Gibson can get the Re-pet, and the two part ways. Then things start getting really complicated. Gibson returns home after running a few errands to find that, um… he’s already home. He barely has time to digest the presence of this doppelganger before he learns that people want to kill him, and for good reason – he has been illegally cloned. Since the existence of two Adam Gibsons could have serious consequences for Replacement Technologies, one of them has to go. Unfortunately for them, they don’t realize that this is Arnold Goddamn Schwarzenegger, and clone or not, they’re both going to be very difficult to kill…

This is one of those movies that flew in under my radar. When it was in theaters, I saw maybe one or two ads for it, and then nothing. I found it again after it came out on home video, and decided to give it a shot. It was… enjoyable. While it was not your typical Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, it had thrills and chases and explosions and, of course, Arnold being a badass dad. Twice. However, despite its early lip service to the moral and philosophical implications of mainstream cloning processes, such as whether a cloned pet is still the same pet, and a related brief existential crisis regarding whether the cloned Adam is still fundamentally Adam, ultimately The 6th Day remains an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie through and through, with all that implies. He’s a badass. People try to kill him. He outwits them. Shit gets blown up. The only thing about this movie that does not fit into the mold of a typical Arnold movie is the fact that both Adams genuinely love the family of Adam 1.0, which sets up a Papa Wolf sequence of truly epic proportions, wherein both Adams become Badass Dad squared.

The supporting cast was decent, but the mooks bordered on self-parody at times, due to the fact that since they could be brought back in a matter of hours through the miracle of cloning. The head villain didn’t seem to think he was evil,though after a few scenes of dialogue the actual amount of altruism in his project (very low) became clear. Amongst the hero, Arnold was… Arnold. He is a badass with a family and an existential crisis. That makes Arnold upset, and when Arnold gets upset Arnold breaks things. Adam’s buddy Morgan is a loser with a holographic programmable porn star for a girlfriend (raise your hand if you know someone who would have a virtual pornstar housemate given sufficiently advanced technology). Meanwhile, Adam’s wife and daughter are wonderfully believeable given the movie’s setting, like his wife winning an argument by simply not acknowledging her husband’s protests, and his daughter wanting the Latest Cool Thing that all of her friends has (though why any sane parent would buy one of those creepy-ass Sim-Pals for their child boggles the mind).

In the end, The 6th Day is an enjoyable sci fi thriller with slightly more depth than your average Arnold movie, but not quite enough to rise above the brand of being an Arnold movie. If you like hard(ish) sci fi paired with thrilling chase scenes, check this one out. If you want a deep discussion on the meaning of life and death in a world where cloning is commonplace, try something by Philip K. Dick.

  1. Mars
    05/06/2011 at 10:05 am

    huh. have to find it and watch it, then!

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