Roger Spottiswoode directs Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Goldwyn and Arnold Schwarzenegger in this cloning sci-fi thriller where Arnie’s helicopter pilot comes home to discover he has been replaced… by himself.
It says something when the most intriguing concept a blockbuster throws out there is a Nacho flavoured banana. Made in that down period when Arnie was eyeing up politics – his box office power was on the wane and he avoided having guns or violence in the marketing materials – The 6th Day is neither fish nor fowl. It follows the template of Total Recall almost slavishly yet avoids gore and glee. It feels more akin with similar flat, rote futuristic chase movies of the era (Paycheck, Minority Report, Hollow Man) presenting a clean, sheeny world of hologram advertising, glass corporate lobbies and aluminium labs that seem too glossy to ever occur. It is almost like the millennium hit and Hollywood saw no fun in the idea of imaginatively conceptualising the future now we were actually living in it. At the script’s heart, it is a clone of Harrison Ford’s The Fugitive. With an innocent man being doggedly pursued while trying to figure out how his life was destroyed. Yet the thrill of The Fugitive was seeing Harrison Ford’s regular guy dive headfirst off from a real cliffhanger, run desperately through real moving traffic and slip through the net milliseconds before it would have ensnared anyone else. Arnie has always been superhuman. He eats cliffs, the traffic swerves to avoid him and he wears bear traps as earrings and nooses as a necktie. Arnie is the roadblock. You don’t come to a Schwarzenegger flick for conspiracies and close shaves. You come for carnage. Now, there are laser battles and, in one neat moment, feet and fingers are severed by them. And there is a finale involving two Arnies teaming up. Guess what? Arnie has great chemistry with himself… even if he struggles to look himself in the eyes. But that all comes a little too late. The plot is just too uninspired, the set pieces a little too safe. It passes the time but it never raises the pulse. Arnie himself works hard, there is a dated humour to it all that tickles the nostalgia receptors but it just never comes to life. A tale about cloning that never replicates the spirit of the various movies it unashamedly apes.