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Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Retro Review: The 6th Day (2000) #Schwarzenegger

The 6th Day
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenneger, Michael Rappaport, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rooker, Sarah Wynter, Robert Duvall
Genre: Science Fiction Action
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $96 million

Plot: A man meets a clone of himself and stumbles into a grand conspiracy about clones taking over the world

'Another Post-Early 1990s Arnie Effort Bites The Dust'

The 6th Day was released 10 years after the release of Arnold Schwarzenneger's Total Recall; however, circulated at a period when his Hollywood blockbuster status made less sense as it continued to drift further away after 1994's True Lies (IMO, his last best movie), the film is directed by Roger Spottiswoode, of whom but for the 007-based Tomorrow Never Dies (seen by many as one of the weakest and forgettable Bond movies, ever), and Turner & Hooch - which I enjoyed -, has always been a lacklustre filmmaker, whose approach lacks cutting edge and boldness, as exemplified in the 1986 sports comedy, The Best of Times starring pre-Hollywood stars, Robin Williams and Kurt Russell. 

Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a family man who arrives home one day to see that a clone has replaced him. In a future where human cloning is universally and socially accepted and plunged further into a world that he thought was prosperous and happy, Gibson discovers he has been cloned and that he has to evade the bad guys who are after him and get to the bottom of whom and what is behind the horrible things happening to him and his family.

The 6th Day continued the trend of progressively worst, or be it least appealing and demanding Schwarzenegger movies ever produced from the mid-1990s onwards. Many may cite comedies, Kindergarten Cop or even the much-maligned comedy, Junior as the film/s whereby Arnie jumped the shark and whose career never recovered after that. I beg to differ on this, - although right after the release of the James Cameron 1994 actioner, the less conventional his movies were, the less impressive they became: from Collateral Damage, Millenial flop End of Days to the unsavoury post-2010 actioner, Sabotage, but for Escape Plan, the quality with each release dwindled.

This one has the feel of a B-movie and much like with many of Arnie's films, post-mid-1990s, The 6th Day is less of a Schwarzenneger movie, but a bog-standard sci-fi thriller and a G-rated Total Recall, - yet the comparisons with the R and 18-rated Paul Verhoeven effort come to an end. Minus the fun, spontaneity, wit and entertainment value it possesses The 6th Day doesn't have much in the way of charm and verve to make it a memorable classic. This is very similar to Virtuosity and as much as he tries, Arnie feels kind of out of place here.

This is bargain bin Arnie, of whom for die-hard fans wouldn't mind, but this doesn't feel like something he'd appear in. His performance is stilted and nothing about Adam rings appealing or like someone we ought to take an interest in. This character Adam was Arnie's attempt to pull off the actor thing like he did in Total Recall as Doug Quaid; but The 6th Day is nowhere near the level of that movie, as the writing is lacklustre, the plot doesn't try to test the main character, the supporting characters are forgettable and arguably, it is more boring. It is devoid of characterisation throughout; Roger Spottiswoode fumbles in the execution as he fails to get to the heart of and delve into the protagonists and antagonists' actions. Robert Duvall tries in a bit-part role, but the rest of the supporting players do not seem to make an effort with their performances; Terry Crews is in it briefly until he is killed off, Tony Goldwyn as Drucker doesn't look like he can be a bad guy, even though he plays as one here and thus, is gravely miscast.

There are special effects, explosions, the action is decent at best but quantity-wise, there just wasn't enough of it in abundance, the plot is handled in a complicatedly absurd fashion for anyone to wrap their heads around, & despite some of the technological advances through the cars and the usage of computers, The 6th Day isn't imaginative as it tries to come across, and is thus, very unremarkable. Ultimately, the action picks up from the final third, but even that was scant consolation.

Though it is not amongst his sheer worst, this was far from a return to form for Schwarzenneger, a 2000s Total Recall but minus all the great things that made it a classic; as Arnie movies go, The 6th Day was a rough, occasionally conflicting, muddled and unsatisfying watch that tries to be cleverer for its own good, in place of characterisation and memorable scenes -, and yet this was also a film where it didn't quite live up to what it could have and should have promised.

Final Verdict:

This is so easily throw away and has little to redeem itself as his big hitters such as Terminator 2, True Lies, Total Recall, Predator still remains as Schwarzenneger's movie elite, whilst this one is barely regarded and perceived as one. The 6th Day isn't just a generic B/Z-movie action wannabe flick, it is also one of his least memorable ones too, as, under Roger Spottiswoode's vision, its ideas and potential have practically gone to waste.

As a fan of the early 1980s to early 1990s Arnold Schwarzenneger, it remains an essentially uneventful, middling and empty-headed affair and is, therefore, not that good that it just isn't worth revisiting.


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