Dir: Roger Spottiswoode. US. 2000. 124 mins.
Prod co: Phoenix Pictures. US dist: Columbia Pictures. Int'l dist: Columbia TriStar. Exec prods: Daniel Petrie Jr, David Coatsworth. Prods: Mike Medavoy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Davison. Scr: Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley. DoP: Pierre Mignot. Prod des: James Bissell, John Willett. Eds: Mark Conte, Dominique Fortin, Michel Arcand. Mus: Trevor Rabin. Main cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Duvall, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rapaport, Michael Rooker, Sarah Wynter, Wendy Crewson.
Arnie's back - again - in yet another high-tech actioner crammed with action, effects and throwaway one-liners. And while The 6th Day effortlessly improves on last year's misfire End Of Days, the formula is starting to get seriously dated. Ten years ago, Total Recall was an understandable blockbuster - vigorous, exciting and viscerally violent. But this film - a sort of cleaned-up Total Recall for all the family - feels routine in a new millennium where teenagers are getting their thrills from hip, adventurous packages like The Matrix, X-Men and Charlie's Angels.
Then again, you can never underestimate Schwarzenegger's global appeal. End Of Days grossed a staggering $210m worldwide (only $67m of which was in North America) and this is a far more entertaining picture. Again the majority of grosses may be generated in international, but either way, Sony and Phoenix Pictures should be left with a hefty return on their investment, that is if Arnold hasn't secured most of the backend for himself.
Set in a near future where human cloning is outlawed but animal cloning is widely accepted, The 6th Day is the story of a happily married helicopter pilot Adam Gibson (Schwarzenegger) who by a strange confluence of circumstances is accidentally cloned by a ruthless genetic engineering tycoon Michael Drucker (Goldwyn).
Arriving home one night, Gibson finds his clone enjoying his own surprise birthday party only then to face a murderous attack from a gang of Drucker's thugs (Rooker and Wynter among them). Needless to say, numerous pursuits, gun battles and scientific exposition scenes later he has sorted the whole mess out. Watch out for Robert Duvall, hamming it up as a cloning genius, and Michael Rapaport as Gibson's short-lived best buddy.
Spottiswoode, still best known for his great 1983 movie Under Fire, does a solid, if uninspired, job of keeping the action moving, although most fun comes from the film's gadgetry and vision of the future, whether it's the lifelike doll which Gibson buys for his daughter's birthday, the futuristic helicopters, the self-driving cars or the spooky cloning process itself.