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The 6th Day

  the eye job
Arnie gets an eye rub.

2000, Columbia
All Rights Reserved

"The 6th Day" (IMDb listing) makes it feel like 1987 all over again — the days when Arnold Schwarzenegger ruled the box office with hits like "Predator," "The Running Man," and "Commando." Losing ground to younger, smarter cinema action heroes recently, Schwarzenegger tries to regain his title with another brainless actioner that is beneath his talents. Like last year's "End of Days," "The 6th Day" is nothing that UPN couldn't do with Lorenzo Lamas, Cindy Margolis, and $80 million less.

"The 6th Day" opens with the statement that it is set in the future, and ominously enough, it's listed that this future is "...closer than you think." True, but this film features supersonic helicopters, virtual reality girlfriends, and elaborate cloning programs. (I still chew the same brand of gum as ten years ago. I don't think the world's going to change that drastically that quickly. But I digress.) Arnold stars as Adam Gibson, a father, husband, and best friend who finds himself the victim of an illegal cloning. In true Arnold fashion, he must find out who is behind the cloning and make sure this never happens to anybody else ever again.

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode ("Tomorrow Never Dies"), "The 6th Day" is a mess of a dramatic feature, but somehow remains B-level entertainment throughout. I chalk its success to Arnold himself, who with a retro move brings back the one-liners and obscenely mundane action sequences that made him the superstar he is today. It's fun to watch him waste bad guys with a wink. It's a shame that Arnold and Spottiswoode have felt the need to sterilize "The 6th Day" to achieve that annoyance of all annoyances: the PG-13 rating. Blood, exit wounds, and nudity are all obscured — proof that at one point "The 6th Day" was going to be awesome (in a vulgar way). These being spineless times, all the violence has been toned down, all the skin has been covered, and every time a laser penetrates a body, we are clumsily cut away to a random object. For all the money being spent, this type of filmmaking doesn't provide the project with any integrity.

Spottiswoode's direction drains the film of all sorts of style. Hell-bent on crafting a mass-audience thrill ride, Spottiswoode misses the little things like character and logic. The editing of the film looks like it was supervised by The Rugrats. People enter and exit the film without much explanation, all in the name of pacing. And I would like to know who consented to the idea of scene transitions that recall early episodes of "NYPD Blue." It makes the film look very crass.

But for every stupid idea, for every gap in logic, and for every hideous Schwarzenegger punchline, "The 6th Day" somewhat succeeds by being that big dumb popcorn flick that we all need now and again.

Filmfodder Grade: C

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