Rated PG-13 - Running Time: 2:04 - Released 11/17/00

The idea of human cloning has become quite a fertile field for science fiction ever since Dolly the sheep emerged from her test tube. It is a daunting consideration that people could be copied using a microscopic sample of their DNA, a blood sample, a hair, a bit of sloughed off skin — and it should make for a fascinating film. But the combination of director Roger Spottis- woode's frenetic action-pic style (remember, he directed the high-tech, low-touch 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies) and the tendencies of writing team Cormac and Marianne Wibberley and star Arnold Schwarzenegger in the same direction, sacrificing believable action for one-liners and gunfire, make The 6th Day simply another fiery, loud shoot-em-up with overblown villains, over-the-top heroics, and lapses in simple logic. I ask you: why would a man who claims to be genetically perfect require glasses?

The opening readout of The 6th Day states that its story takes place in "the near future — closer than you think." I can only assume from the cautionary nature of this message that the film is intended to warn viewers of the moral dangers of human cloning, something that could become a possibility in the near future. Schwarzenegger plays Adam Gibson, a man who lives in a world where dead pets can be reborn, sick people can have a brand spanking new liver if need be, and nacho bananas are readily available. Adam is a pilot who runs an air taxi company, flying these nifty, futuristic helicopter/jets for wealthy people who need to get somewhere expensively. One day after being asked to take a routine drug and eye test at work, Adam comes home to find himself already there, enjoying his birthday party with his wife and kids. Watching through the window, he soon begins to wonder what kind of other stuff this guy's doing with his wife. And then some people show up and say, "Sorry, but we're going to have to kill you." Very unsettling.

As it turns out, the thugs at the door (Sarah Wynter, Michael Rooker) work for the wealthy, powerful Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), the myopic superman mentioned above who is also chairman of the multibillion-dollar cloning company responsible for everything listed above except the bananas. It seems that despite the "6th Day Law" banning the Xeroxing of human beings, Adam has indeed been copied after Drucker's people mistakenly thought he had been killed while transporting Drucker in his heli-majig. Now, since there are two Adams, one must go.

The 6th Day tries to present an intelligent statement on the ethical considerations of cloning, but since Spottiswoode sees everything through Bond-colored glasses, too many details are glossed over in favor of high-speed Cadillac chases and red-orange explosions. Even the inclusion of heavyweight Robert Duvall as the conflicted scientific genius behind it all can't make this movie any smarter. Too bad — I was thinking about investing in a mini-me. ***

Copyright 2000 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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