the sixth day(2000)
director: roger spottiswoode
arnold schwartzenegger, michael rapaport, tony goldwyn

. The near future of Arnold Schwartzenegger’s new action thriller, The Sixth Day, is set in yet another one of the paranoia-inducing dystopias that have characterized the generic Arnold film since The Running Man.

These are usually worlds where the government, one of its shadowy agencies, or some powerful corporation, has engineered a conspiracy of such nefarious fiendishness that only Arnold, armed with his own awesome physique, a few fast vehicles and endless cannon amunition, can put right. We cheer his progress along with each moment -- scripted with obligatory ritual -- where he delivers a Bond-like verbal coup de grace over the body of a painfully vanquished villain. 

In The Sixth Day, it’s a massive biotech firm who have invited Arnold’s wrath by cloning him illegally. The first half of the film is actually interesting, as it plays with musings over medical ethics and takes a gleeful stab at previewing the consumer technology of the next decade. Once the nifty toys and sophomoric moral head-scratching run out, however, we’re left with a bloated thriller shot in shades of bruised blue and flame orange.

A final speech, delivered by Arnold to his clone double, on the nature of being human, elicited an explosion of guffaws and derisive howls from the preview audience. Somewhere, somehow, a screenwriter is no doubt imagining a time machine that would allow him to hit the delete button on his word processor.