Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The 6th Day

directed by Roger Spottiswoode

The 6th Day poster  
Cloning is one of those technologies most likely to provoke accusations that scientists are playing god. The 6th Day takes place in a near future world, where cloning and genetic manipulation have penetrated into all aspects of daily life. Yet human cloning is outlawed, and as the result of a failed trial most people believe it isn't even possible. But as is often the case with prohibition, strict laws have simply driven the activity underground.

Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a pilot and a contented family man. He's uncomfortable with the idea of replacing the family dog with a clone after it has died. But cloned pets are gaining increased acceptance with the general public.

One day Gibson has the bad luck to have a contract to transport Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), an influential company executive. This is where his troubles begin.

Gibson comes home to discover that his life has been stolen by his clone. His replica has his appearance, his abilities, and his memories. However people are out to get him, because there can't be two copies of the same person on the loose. If Gibson were allowed to live, the secret of human cloning would be out. The cloning also endangers his whole family, because if they see both copies of him their lives will also be forfeit.

There's a lot of action, and a younger actor might have been better in the leading role. But the story deals with some interesting issues without getting bogged down with too many car chases and explosions.

The clones themselves are created in a matter of hours, for the sake of fitting everything in to a fast-paced movie. It's not a realistic depiction of the rather more mundane process of cloning from birth. Instead there are some impressive special effects, particularly as the clones take on the characteristics of the people they will become. And the effects aren't limited to cloning. There are self-drive cars, holographic wives and lawyers, biometric scans, helicopters that change into planes, and so on. The movie is bursting with the details of a shiny, advanced future.

The 6th Day poses the question, what would you do if someone you loved died and you had the opportunity to make a complete copy of them? And what would happen if the power to secretly make copies of people was concentrated in the wrong hands? This film is a satisfying mix of high-octane thrills, good effects and intriguing issues. Some of the hired goons are a little one-dimensional, but on the whole the cast is convincing. It's an effective and enjoyable cautionary tale.

Film Details

Year: 2000

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson