On the 6th Day, it’s stated that God created man in his own image. It’s just that each of us were only meant to be pieced together once and after you’ve had your prescribed measure of life, you shuffle off your mortal coil and someone else gets your soul. Not so here as cloning is the order of the day in this film set “in the near future” and Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) has perfected the technique of cloning pets and animals such that if the family dog dies under the wheel of a car, a sample of their DNA is all that’s required to have Rover bouncing about as per normal, for which they’ll have no recollection of ever being brought back to life and will know all the same tricks they’ve been taught.
Of course, new technology always has its sceptics and none more so than birthday boy Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger), owner of a firm of choppers that charter about the businessmen that hire them, which, as bad luck would have it, include aforementioned baddie Drucker. You know they’re bad because it’s not long before Gibson’s colleague and best friend Hank Morgan (Michael Rapaport) is bumped off.
Or is he? We see him get killed, but later on he’s back in his apartment being entertained by his virtual girlfriend (Jennifer Gareis) where Adam returns because he’s in a foul mood, with good cause – Adam’s been cloned. Yes, after being told that it’s just not possible with humans yet, not to mention the fact that it was declared illegal, why are there now two Arnie’s running about?
Adam must put a stop to it, but this is where the film begins to fall down. Although starting with an interesting premise and Arnie putting in enough work to make his character believable, he must still take part of the rap as co-producer as it descends into generic action fare with plenty of “seen it all before” moments and cliched one-liners.
The man who was Henry, the serial killer, Michael Rooker, is Robert Marshall, one of Drucker’s right-hand men who tries to stop Adam from finding out the truth and under him comes Talia (Sarah Wynter) and Wiley (Rodney Rowland).
Robert Duvall gets precious little to do as Dr. Griffin Weir, who we learn was the genius in getting the formula right for cloning humans, but his practices go unrewarded by Drucker who is attempting to cash in on the cloning boom by making his clients come back for more and sooner by introducing defective genes on purpose, such as liver cancer and cystic fibrosis.
There was no reason for this film to last two hours plus. With some script rewrites and shortening of unnecessary scenes it could have been cut down by 20-30 minutes and a bit more thought could have helped the film to fulfil its original premise, rather than give us double vision by thinking than making us think we’ve got another Total Recall here.
Finally, although the BBFC’s website shows no cuts, I was wondering if a strong language substitute had been made by the studio prior to submitting the film to them, since at once point Arnie tells Drucker to go fuck himself. Later on, after something happens that I won’t reveal, Arnie says, “See, I told you to go screw yourself”. Eh? People in the real world wouldn’t change tack like that, so why are they doing that here?
The picture is a flawless anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen ratio, with bright colours excelling for scenes involving special FX such as the choppers flying over the mountains, hologram street ‘signs’ and the cloning facility. Artifacts are nowhere to be seen. The average bitrate is 5.2Mb/s, briefly peaking above 8Mb/s.
This DVD contains the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack in both English and Hungarian. Despite the film being a bit of a duffer, when sound FX are required they certainly go the distance expected. It’s a shame there’s no DTS soundtrack included but then the Region 1 DVD is similarly-afflicted.
Columbia have done us proud with this release and if you’re a big fan of the film, the supplemental material will keep you entertained for some time.
First on the extras menu is an Isolated musical score with commentary by composer Trevor Rabin. Then comes a 15-minute featurette, “The Future is Coming”, a standard affair of film clips and interview soundbites with film clips cropped to 16:9. On the 6th Day is a look at how nine of the special effects sequences were created including the Virtual Girlfriend and ‘Detonation’, with each mini-featurette lasting a few minutes apiece.
Three Storyboard comparisons – Car Chase, Whisper-Craft Crash and Cloning Tanks – are included, as are Animatics or “moving storyboards” for the Snowy Mountain flight scene and the final Rooftop scene. The RePet Infomercial (2½) and TV Spot (30 seconds) can also be found here.
Finally there are Filmographies for the director and cast members Arnie, Duvall, Goldwyn and Rapaport, plus Theatrical Trailers for The 6th Day (2 mins, Dolby Digitat 5.1, non-anamorphic 16:9), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (5 mins, non-anamorphic 2.35:1) and Vertical Limit (2 mins, anamorphic 16:9).
As this is a Columbia DVD we have the usual 28 chapters and subtitles in 16 languages: English, Dutch, Polish, Czech, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hindi, Hebrew, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Greek and Arabic. The main menu combines a short looped piece of the score with some subtle animation but it’s not overly impressive.
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Running time: 119 minutes
Released: June 4th 2001
Region(s): 2, PAL
Chapters: 16 plus extras
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English, Hungarian
Subtitles: 16 languages available
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Clairmont-Scope)
Disc Format: DVD 9
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Producers: Jon Davison, Mike Medavoy and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Screenplay: Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley
Music: Trevor Rabin
Adam Gibson: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Hank Morgan: Michael Rapaport
Michael Drucker: Tony Goldwyn
Robert Marshall: Michael Rooker
Talia Elsworth: Sarah Wynter
Natalie Gibson: Wendy Crewson
Wiley: Rodney Rowland
Vincent: Terry Crews
Dr. Griffin Weir: Robert Duvall
Katherine Weir: Wanda Cannon
Virtual Girlfriend: Jennifer Gareis
Johnny Phoenix: Steve Bacic
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.