A clone is a clone is a clone

The 6th Day

If you have trouble finding one Arnold Schwarzenegger difficult to believe as an actor on screen, you’re going to come to serious grief watching The 6th Day, where audiences are treated to Arnie and Arnie acting together on-screen.

At least that’s an interesting sort of concept, unlike the rest of The 6th Day, set in a futuristic world during "a time sooner than you think". It’s a world where the cloning of pets is perfectly legal – you can save your children the heartbreak of a dead dog and get one remade – but the cloning of humans is still off the agenda, at least according to The Sixth Day law. (On the sixth day God created man et cetera, from Genesis.)

But a Microsoft-like mega-company with a rotten, evil core, is surreptitiously going ahead anyway – and even their managing director, the magnificently powerful Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) is a clone. But clones are persona non grata under the law, so precautions must always be taken to ensure nobody finds out the truth behind Drucker’s uh, origin.

Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger), husband, father and adventure helicopter pilot, doesn’t like the idea of cloning and recoils at the thought of cloning his daughter’s pet dog for her when he dies. Yet he agrees to head off to Repet anyway, the store that takes care of your pet’s cloning needs, instead of piloting Drucker up some mountain as he’s been commissioned to do. After blood and visual tests – oops, just the information they’ll need for cloning – he lets his buddy Hank (Michael Rapaport) take Drucker instead.

It’s up on the mountain that an anti-cloning fundamentalist shoots dead Drucker, Hank and various others. But the company guys think that it’s Adam; thus they quickly clone him – it’s a process that only takes a couple of hours – using the information they picked up via the tests. Don’t ask why then Hank’s also cloned – you’re not supposed to think that deeply in this film.

When the real Adam returns home he finds that some other Adam is already there. A couple of thugs, Marshall (Michael Rooker) and Talia (Sarah Wynter), arrive to take care of their mistake, but Adam escapes. (Talia, by the way, looks like she’s escaped from The Matrix.)

"Cool, a car chase," says one of the characters as the cat and mouse game begins. Hardly: there’s nothing cool about any of the chases in this film, and in fact it’s a little disappointing to have advance notice of the fact that even when humans are able to be cloned, people will still be mindlessly chasing each other around in fast cars.

The futuristic world has enough gimmicks to sustain interest for quite a while, with hologram fish tanks in shopping malls, automatically driven cars, groovy streamlined helicopters, virtual girlfriends, self-ordering fridges – but an imaginative setting isn’t enough to drive a whole film that has too many holes in a plot that had potential. Regardless, audiences might find themselves enjoying the ride for the first two-thirds of the movie; it’s well-paced, standard action-flick fare. Whatever your tastes, however, the final third simply drags on for too long to be forgivable. And one of the problems with cloning is also a problem on the big screen: just who is really who anyway?

The 6th Day plays with some interesting ideas, but fails to deliver anything innovative. As a shoot ’em up it’s all been done before. Which is kind of appropriate, really.

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