A few years back, scientists shocked the world by announcing that they had cloned a sheep. Cloning had long been the stuff of science fiction, and all of a sudden, here it was as a factual basis. Soon after the cloning announcement, the lawmakers of the country, the scientists, and the religious community undertook the great debate. Human cloning, is it legal, and is it ethical? The debate was laid to rest as cloning a human was said to be impossible, and that sheep were a unique creature that made them ideal for cloning. The debate seemed to be forgotten until scientists cloned a cow and a monkey, and a scientist announced that he had managed to get human cells to replicate in an early step of the cloning process. Once again the debates were raised, and once again, the cloning of a human was deemed to be an illegal and unethical practice.
It is from this backdrop that Arnold Schwarzenegger makes his return to the big screen in “The Sixth Day”. The story opens in the very near future where high tech items such as holographic maids, self-driving cars, and pet cloning, are commonplace.
Schwarzenegger plays, Adam Gibson, a helicopter pilot who is a loving family man. All seems well in his life until he comes home one night to see another man with his family. The man being an exact ringer of him further complicates the matter. The shock of seeing another man in his home has barely worn off, when mysterious people arrive telling him that he was cloned, and he must leave before anyone can see him. Before Gibson can ask any questions, the strangers try to kill him, leaving Gibson on the run for his life, not knowing where to turn, and how his ordinary world could be upturned so quickly.
Before long, Gibson is not only trying to save his own life, but that of his family as he has become and unwitting pawn in a much larger game.
The title of the film was originally going to be “On the Sixth Day” in reference to Genesis where God created man on the sixth day of the creation of the Universe. The film raises some interesting questions regarding the ethics of cloning, by showing both the positive and negative sides of the debate. Schwarzenegger gives a restrained yet effective performance as Gibson, and the supporting cast of Robert Duvall, Michael Rappaport, and Michael Rooker is effective. The film was directed by James Bond veteran Roger Spottiswoode, and mixes, humor, drama, and action to provide an entertaining film that does what few action films do, makes the audience think. People ready to write off Schwarzenegger as a fading action star might want to rethink this conclusion, as “The Sixth Day” shows that Arnold can still deliver the goods.
3.5 stars out of 5