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Movie Review

The 6th Day

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for strong action violence, brief strong language and some sensuality

Reviewed by: Curtis D. Smith
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
Genre:
Sci-Fi Action
Length:
2 hr. 10 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Copyrighted poster
Relevant Issues
Arnold Schwarznegger in “The 6th Day”

Read the Creation story

Cloning: Right or Wrong?

Learn about the Sixth Day of Creation

Featuring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Duvall, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rapaport, Wendy Crewson
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Producer: Daniel Petrie Jr., David Coatsworth, Mike Medavoy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Davison
Distributor: Columbia Tristar

“The 6th Day” won’t necessarily be the final nail hammered into the action film coffin, but it sure doesn’t do much to bolster the floundering genre.

Another dubious genre is Science fiction, which also plays a large role in “The 6th Day”. While the film shows hints of the brilliance that makes for good sci-fi fun, too much of the film’s success or failure lies on the large shoulders of its star rather than on a quality story. But once you see the story you’ll know why.

The one thing that could save “The 6th Day” at the box office is its tribute to some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s past efforts, namely the immoral yet successfully engaging “Total Recall”. And though his latest is a far cry better than his last junker, “End of Days”, it still falls flat in just about every way. Except for in its defense of God’s sovereignty as it relates to the creation of man. In the future, “sooner than you think,” the president is a woman (hopefully not Hillary) helicopters convert mid-air into jet airplanes, single guys have beautiful virtual girlfriends and RePet facilities can clone Fido if he dies unexpectedly. It is in this setting that devoted family man and helicopter charter pilot Adam Gibson (Schwarzenegger), along with associate Hank (Michael Rapaport), enjoys a successful business shuttling thrill seekers to and from the mountains for snowboarding trips. Things are going great for the Gibsons until a rich and famous animal cloning entrepreneur named Druker (Tony Goldwyn) charters a flight. Feigning a security check, Drucker’s malevolent gang captures some of the guys’ DNA in order to clone them for reasons unknown to this reviewer. Evidently, any knowledge of Drucker’s devious business practices are enough to warrant elimination by clonig, but the ambiguity surrounding the bad guys’ motives is vast.

In any event, Adam is duplicated and later returns home to find he is now out of the family loop. Before he can march into his own house and demand an explanation he is accosted by a thug named Marshall (Michael Rooker) and a thugette named Talia (Sarah Wynter). As should be expected a huge car chase and firefight ensues which eventually reduces Talia and another ruffian to road kill. Not to worry though, Drucker orders his chief scientist, Dr. Griffin Weir (Robert Duvall), to simply clone the two loyal employees—after which he complains about it costing him $1.2 million to do so—and race is back on to eliminate Adam once and for all before the company’s illegal practices are revealed to the public.

The first question that comes to mind (other than why Drucker can’t just hire different thugs for less than $1.2 million) is why the bad guys go through all the trouble to clone some average Joe rather than just conceal their crimes the old fashioned way?

Indeed the film raises more questions than it answers and things get even more sticky when the morality of cloning is explored from all sides. Is it OK to clone a dying species of salmon they ask? How about your dying sister or what about farming body parts for organ and limb transplants?

While scripture does not delve into specifics on the topic it is clear that God’s handiwork should not and cannot be duplicated or tampered with when it comes to humanity. Likewise, the idea of eternal life, as sought by the story’s bad guys, cannot be attained outside of faith in Christ and His untainted forgiveness. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” and John 3:16 is very clear on the eternal life issue. However, in “The 6th Day” several jokes are made about how many times one of the inept thugs has to be brought back to life through cloning.

Auspiciously, the good guys take God’s side in “The 6th Day” (a reference to the creation story) and identify the practice of human cloning as an abomination. Furthermore, clear lines of right and wrong are drawn and those on the righteous side of the issue do not sacrifice their integrity to win.

To the surprise of many, Schwarzenegger has made several public statements lately admonishing violence in film. While he himself is responsible for most of the action movie violence that has been so prolific on and off for the past decade, he says turning 50 and raising a family has mellowed his view of the standard action film and violence. So as featured in this rare PG-13 action flick, look forward to more kindler, gentler Schwarzenegger films to come.

It’s just too bad the entertainment portion of “The 6th Day” suffers so badly. Once the ambiguous foundation of the story is in place we settle into a fairly straightforward action film that pits our muscle-bound hero against the cloning baddies. But it isn’t long before the plot throws another curveball by generating some confusion as to which Adam is the real Adam. This uncertainty mixed with the fast pace of the film offers little opportunity for the viewers to catch up to the story—a story which is never really distinct in the first place.

Being the first big budget film to take a good look at the cloning issue (unless you count “Multiplicity”), “The 6th day” squanders a great opportunity to match a real life issue with a compelling story. Sure, sci-fi films are often laced with hazy tangents and baffling rationale, but enough post-credits thought dedicated to the subject can usually produce a resolution. Not so with “The 6th Day”. One must wonder why instead of cloning average Joes and hit men the bad guys don’t just clone enough members of congress to sway the moral vote in their favor? Still others might simply ask why Hollywood doesn’t just spend more time making movies with sensible, alluring and morally virtuous plots. Now that has to be one of life’s biggest unanswered questions isn’t it?


Viewer Comments
…I thought it should have been “R” for the strong language, and sexual innuendos/references and scenes… My Ratings: [2/2]
—D.L. Eni, age 24
I thought this movie was okay, but some of the things in it like the virtual girlfrind, that’s horrible! And I was very offended with the swearing, more the [GD] than anything else. My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 4]
—Arne, age 11
Some reviewers have been too hard on the plot in this one. Neither Action/Adventure nor Sci-Fi films are typically very sophisticated in any way except their premises—for A/A, some variant of a good v. evil showdown, for SF a possible world generated by changes in technology. Because these genres (of which 6th Day is a blend) explore these premises, they generally do not attempt to meet the expectations of other genres. Indeed, the family relationships and genuine suspense in 6th Day, as well as certain horror elements (Drucker’s metamorphosis), are welcome mixings of other genres which enhance the film. Certainly, there are unexplained motivations and loose ends enough to annoy the fastidious. The idea of cloning an “average Joe” rather than covering up his death more conventionally, though, fits the plot well: it is the hubris of Drucker to believe cloning makes his concealment airtight, and it is his ideology to look to cloning to solve his problems. A much more significant problem is the failure to follow up on Dr. Weir’s death and Drucker’s intention to clone him, a loose end which could have been easily tied up in any of several ways.

As for the moral content: the opposition to human presumption in tampering with life is evident, but not unambiguous. Of course, most believers will agree that the creation of a human “blank” capable of being overwritten by a consciousness after full growth is untenable. However, our failure to temporarily suspend disbelief will blind us to the important issues examined by the film. From Frankenstein (Mary Shelley) to Midas World (Frederick Pohl) to The 6th Day, the “weird tale” in all its forms (horror, sci-fi, fantasy) asks us to say, “what if?” Only if we are willing to follow out the speculation will we discover the real implications of the hypothetical question. Truths we often avoid in day-to-day settings may be highlighted by acting them out in unreal, and even implausible, settings; and demanding that fiction obey the laws of reality misses the point. My Ratings: [3½/2½]
—Peter G. Epps, age 26
This was a fairly typical action film, but with a plot of great moral value which I feel was wasted. The main character talks about a clone not having a soul which has always been my main argument against cloning. Man may be able to duplicate life, but only God can create it and it’s very essence—the soul. Yet, at the end of the film, the clone acts with compassion towards “his family” thus making it appear he indeed has a soul. I found this to be contradictory to the first premise that only God can create life. I do give the film credit for its special effects which satisfied the sci-fi lover in me. My Ratings: [3/2]
—Marguerite Thompson, age 48
Not for younger kids because of the violence. Our 12 year old thought there was too much foul language and I agreed. My Ratings: [2½/3½]
—Randy Shufeldt, age 48
Good action flic, however the language was a bit much for a PG-13, and it’s not so much the usual cuss words that bothers me as much as when the Lord’s name is taken in vain. 6th Day has a good bit of “GD” and abuse of Jesus’ name. That is offensive to me, more so than the other curse words. Other than that, there were some brief “skin” scenes when clones were “activated” and brief sensuality from a “virtual girlfriend”. The plot was OK, sometimes a little weird. I would recommend it if it weren’t for the excessive abuses of God’s name. My Ratings: [3/3]
—Jonathan Blanks, age 25
My feelings on this movie are mixed. On the one hand, the plot is awesome and the stand against cloning is to be respected. On the other hand, this movie includes much more objectionable content than would be expected even in a PG-13 movie. The movie is set in the not too distant future where cloning is illegal, but still being carried out by the corrupt Drucker. When Adam (the main character played by Schwarzenager) finds out that he has been cloned and another man is leading his life, he races to fix the evil by whatever means necessary. From a Biblical perspective, the movie presents a lot to think about in the area of what is right and wrong as far as cloning is concerned. Do clones have a soul? Is it right to kill a clone if they have the exact same memories, feelings, and personalities as the person they represent? Adam does point out that only God has the right to create a man… a perspective that I would have to agree with. Despite this message, there is enough bad content that you should be wary of seeing this movie. My Ratings: [2/4]
—Trae Cadenhead