Film Reviews:

The 6th Day

(Roger Spottiswood, US, 2000)

It is the future and the so-called '6th Day Law' has been passed banning the cloning of humans. However, inside America, unbeknown to the authorities a leading US scientist is already attempting to perfect his human cloning technique. Indeed, the man himself is not what he seems - he is a clone - his source DNA coming from a man who secretly died years before. His company has a highly profitable and successful pet cloning service that replaces dead loved animals with genetic copies - indistinguishable from the originals. His ultimate aim is to break down the resistance to the concept of human cloning and see the 6th Day Law repealed. In walks charter pilot, good egg and loving husband Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who, although against the principle of cloning, decides to replace his son's beloved dog before he returns from school. Only when Gibson arrives home, he looks through the window to his house to see that he is already celebrating his birthday with his nuclear family. How can this be?

The premise is a mouthwatering one. Based in the hard SF territory of genetic engineering but delivering its story in a human dimension, English director Roger Spottiswood (the man who also helmed the Pierce Brosnan Bond debut GoldenEye) struggles to ensure the script gives equal weight to the emotional human and ethical issues the scenario offers.

However, with Arnold Schwarzenegger as your star, you're gonna have a battle on your hands, not least because the studio will be expecting a Schwarzenegger action vehicle (sexy - box office dynamite) and not a challenging, thought-provoking piece on the moral and ethical issues of human cloning (most definitely not sexy - and therefore box office poison). While the finished product is an admirable attempt at blending the two, it comes out as neither fish nor fowl and its relatively poor performance at the box office will convince studio execs that they were right all along. After all, they will have surmised, how can audiences not go for two Arnies for the price of one?? 7/10

Rob Dyer (July 2003)

Other 'I'm not the person I used to be' movies:

Blade Runner
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones
The Stepford Wives
Total Recall

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