The 6th DayThe Sixth Day on DVD

Making Your Own Friends...

The Governator stars in yet another rip roarin' sci-fi mind game - this one reminiscent of his "Total Recall."

The Sixth Day is also an excellent look at both sides of the cloning issue, with timely and intelligent insight into the potential benefits and pitfalls of "do it yourself humanity." In the end, it takes a stance against cloning, not so much because the writers are against cloning (we have no idea how they really feel about the issue) but because this is first and foremost a drama and there needs to be a bad guy.

And what better bad guy can there be to liberal Hollywood than Big Science and Big Business?

In this entertaining and thought provoking flick, Arnold Schwarzenegger turns out to be his own best friend, as he's cloned illegally, and against his wishes in a plot to save the multiple lives, reputations, and fortunes of a wealthy entrepreneur.

Schwarzenegger is Adam Gibson, a futuristic adventure tour operator whose life is great until he arrives home on his birthday to find he's been replaced in his own family by that darn clone. Not only that, but there are some really nasty assassins after him, apparently trying to ensure that only one of the Adam Gibsons lives through the night - and it looks as if they prefer the clone to survive than the original.

Thrown onto his own resources, Adam must fight to save - and regain - his life, in the process uncovering a vast, illegal cloning operation that needs him dead in order to hide the evidence.

The Sixth Day (from the boook of Genesis, the day on which God created Man), is a nifty roller coaster that, while a tad more predictable than "Total Recall" on the whole, is still a wonderful vehicle for Schwarzenegger fans and action aficionados. For most of the movie, you're never really sure exactly who's who, though the lights go on a little bit before the writers and director would like them to.

One improvement over "Total Recall" is the toned down violence. Sure, there's plenty of shooting and enough people get killed (well...) to keep violence buffs happy, but it isn't as graphic or gratuitous as "Recall" was in places.

Arnold does his usual workman's job in his character. It would be nice, just once, though, if the producers would give his character a European name, to more realistically exploit his accent. He could be an immigrant, you know!

The supporting cast is full of excellent actors, including Robert Duvall as the cloning scientist, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rapaport, Michael Rooker, Wendy Crewson, and Sarah Wynter.

The special effects and production design are also first rate and, for the most part, they've done a good job of turning present day Vancouver into "near future" somewhere else. Some neat sci-fi technology is on hand as well, especially the "Whispercraft" combination helicopter/jet planes that Gibson uses for his tour business. And the cloning lab is nifty and creepy..

The Blu-ray disc presentation is first rate, with excellent quality and plenty of extras. Presented in 1080p at an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the video quality is superb. Images are razor sharp, with no artifacts, and the colors and contrast are rich and deep. This is a "show off the theater" disc.

Audio is prestened in Dolby TrueHD, and it's also of excellent quality, with rich dynamics and very nice use of the surround channels.

The disc also features plenty of extras, including a Showtime Special "The Future is Coming", some storyboard comparisons to the final footage and a selection of anamatics. There's an "informercial" and TV spot for the film's Repet company, a bunch of featurettes and even D-Box controls for home theater aficionados who've shelled out for that system, which takes the "rockin' and rollin' rumble" off the screen puts it right in your bum.

The Sixth Day, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
124 min, widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 compatible, Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Rapaport, Tony Goldwyn, Sarah Wynter and Robert Duvall
Produced by Mike Medavoy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Davidson
Written by Cormac Wibberley & Marianne Wibberley, Directed by Roger Spottiswoode.

Jim Bray's columns are available from the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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