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 Arnies 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?
Running time: 123 minutes
Studio: Columbia Tristar
Format: 2.35:1 (Clairmont-Scope)
Released: December 15th 2000
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.