6TH DAY is a science fiction movie dealing
with the very topical issue of cloning.
Unfortunately, since it's also Arnold
Schwarzenegger's latest attempt to reclaim
his title as King of the Action Blockbuster,
it's pretty stale. Its action is lame,
its comedy ham-handed, and its promising
premise treated shallowly.
plays the perfect family man who gets
cloned against his will. He comes home
to his own birthday party already in progress,
to see another version of himself in the
act of blowing out the candles. Soon,
he is on the run from people who want
to kill him. Is he the real Arnold? Or
is he the clone?
it matter? Either way, it takes him about
a nanosecond to suddenly switch from family
man to indestructible killing machine.
In the first major action sequence, he
kills two villains, is involved in about
15 car collisions, falls roughly 500 feet
into a dam basin, and swims in the dark
for half a mile without even taking off
his leather jacket.
the fact that Arnie is still doing this
in his fifties is amazing, THE 6TH DAY's
action is pretty tired stuff. It's mostly
the demolition of uninteresting locations,
combined with really bad computer graphics—including
a CGI cabin that looks like something
out of Mario 64! And Arnie's coy post-mortem
one-liners lost their magic about a decade
ago. He would toss off a choice zinger
("I'm not feeling myself today," for instance)
and pause as though waiting for the audience's
laughter. Almost without exception, the
audience just sat silently. It felt like
watching bad stand-up.
there was the movie's conservative agenda,
which I began to find pretty disturbing.
of all, it takes a staunch anti-cloning
stance—not necessarily wrong, but the
only argument THE 6TH DAY really musters
up is pretty weak: "Of course cloning
will save lives and may allow us to extend
our lives indefinitely, but it's bad,
see? Because, you know, all it takes is
one evil head of a corporate empire who
happens to have sole ownership of the
technology, and there you go, it's bad."
(The evil boss in this case is played
by Tony Goldwyn, by the way.)
there was its take on violence in the
media. At one point Arnie cracks wise
that, "I don't want to expose [my daughter]
to any graphic violence, she gets enough
of that from the media." Yes, I know this
is meant as a joke, but the movie takes
the issue seriously. It avoids an R rating,
and there's no graphic violence. Yet,
in the same scene, Arnie happily murders
dozens of innocent security guards who
are just doing their jobs. Sure, there's
no blood, but to me it smacks of hypocrisy.
disturbingly, the movie glorifies a religious
fundamentalist who goes around killing
the makers of cloning technology, treating
him as a noble warrior—which is really
equivalent, if you think about it, to
glorifying religious fundamentalists who
go around killing abortion doctors. Are
they noble warriors too?
get me wrong. I enjoy mindless ultra-violent
movies. CONAN THE BARBARIAN, for instance—now,
there was a great Arnold gore-fest. But
THE 6TH DAY feels neutered.
I'm not being fair. There were a few parts
which could be enjoyed with guilty pleasure.
Like, three. And you know what? In retrospect,
I actually had a good time. It's one of
those movies it's fun to sit and make
fun of. So I'll bump up the rating by
the way, what the hell was Robert Duvall
doing in there?