Classic Schwarzenegger. Commando. Terminator. Total Recall. What’s different about The 6th Day? Only that it was made in the 21st century instead of the 20th century. It contains the same high octane action, car chases, explosions, superior firepower and non-stop noise. USA Today’s Susan Wloszczyna writes that The 6th Day "is edited like the world's most expensive car ad. The screen opens and closes like a nervous accordion, and the action shifts speeds like crazy." And like its predecessors, it features just enough plot to make it interesting.
In the not-so-distant future (but still far enough away to evoke images of Back to the Future II), cloning dominates modern science. Animal clones are a dime a dozen (you can even get your pet cloned while you wait at the mall), but when the first human experiments produced a monster, the government banned all future procedures on people. Any clones produced illegally are to be destroyed. Enter Michael Drucker, a power-hungry billionaire who is secretly cloning the American population one hapless soul at a time, hoping to establish a group of clones large enough to sway lawmakers into repealing the ban. Dr. Graham Weir does his dirty work by developing a system that creates "human blanks" which can be turned into exact replicas of living (or dead) people in a matter of hours. (Some things never change at the movies; one can’t help but think of classic Frankenstein horror flicks as these lifeless bodies are given unearthly vitality in the soulless confines of a high-tech laboratory.) It works like this. Steal a person’s memories and DNA, kill them, then create a copy. No one’s the wiser until they try to clone Adam Gibson. Try as they might, they just can’t kill the real guy. And with two Adams running around, Drucker’s got his hands full. Let the gun battles begin.
positive elements: Adam adores his wife and young daughter. He (and his clone) are willing to risk their lives time after time to secure their safety. The idea of "playing God" by cloning humans gets a sound drubbing here. It’s crystal clear in the plot of The 6th Day that if such a practice ever became feasible, it would bring horrific peril to all of mankind. Drucker and his henchmen are obsessed with the power that immortality brings them. Fortunately, their folly is not indulged, and they are exposed as the half-crazed madmen that they are. Weir’s wife realizes the futility of living forever and begs her husband to let her die as she rightfully should.
spiritual content: Adam questions the morality of cloning, even as it relates to animals, expressing his opinion that God should be the only one who determines life and death. Drucker insists he is merely picking up where God left off. He believes that since God gave man the intelligence to make cloning a reality, that man also had the license to do so. Genesis’ account of God creating man on the sixth day serves as inspiration for the film’s title.
nudity and sexual content: A holographic "girlfriend" is shown (from the back) taking off her top for Adam’s best friend, Hank. Other scenes show her trying to "seduce" both Hank and Adam. Adam watches his clone and his wife make out in their van (the clone zips up his pants afterwards). While cloning both men and women, the bodies that are receiving the DNA coding are shown nude, their private parts barely obscured by strategically placed objects.
violent content: Constant violence and killing. Indeed, the fact that the "bad guys" can clone themselves every time they die just gives Adam more people to slaughter. Adam breaks a clone’s neck, quipping, "Try to stay dead this time." He kills another man by shooting him in the head (and he’s not the only victim dispatched in such a manner). He throws a woman to her death from a speeding car. Several men get shot through the chest (in one case, the gaping wound is shown in detail). A man gets his leg shot off (the cameras quickly find his smoking and bleeding stump). A quarterback for the XFL gets his neck broken on a blitz. Hand-to-hand combat features both fists and stun guns. A man is flung from his vehicle when Adam (who is being chased) stomps on the brakes. A life-like doll, which is really a android-esque replica of a young girl, is brutalized and decapitated. Disturbing. Adam knocks a man off a tall building with his remote-controlled helicopter (the man is not only shown plummeting to his death, but also impacting the concrete below). Another man, who is shot, crashes down a set of stairs (the camera zooms in on his head as it buckles under his body at the bottom). Adam carries around a woman’s amputated thumb, using it as a macabre keycard on high-tech fingerprint security scanners. Other significant violence includes numerous car crashes (one of which blasts right through the middle of a house), drawn-out laser gun battles and massive explosions.
crude or profane language: Close to a dozen s-words and a sexually explicit use of the f-word. Jesus’ name is abused at least six times. Milder profanities are also uttered.
drug and alcohol content: Adam’s clone and his wife share a cigar. His wife mentions that tobacco has been outlawed. Drucker drinks brandy. Several in the cast drink beer, and various forms of alcohol are consumed at a birthday party for Adam.
other negative elements: Gross-out scenes of half-formed humans in the cloning laboratory are reminiscent of The Matrix. Slime and puss cover the bodies.
conclusion: Instead of making an intelligent film about the issue of cloning and how that might affect mankind, Roger Spottiswoode has created one more slam-bang actioner. And the MPAA rated it PG-13. That’s a travesty. It seems that the only difference in the ratings board’s mind between an R and PG-13 action film is the number of times the characters use the f-word. The amount of violence depicted (and even its intensity) doesn’t seem to matter much. Besides the language quotient, there’s very little difference between The 6th Day and Schwarzenegger’s other R-rated thrillers. That despite the huge spotlight currently shining on Hollywood’s unhealthy obsession with violence. And don’t think for a second that actors, writers and directors are unaware of the cause and effect factor inherent in film. Schwarzenegger recently told the London Times, "We could say to all those marketing people, ‘Look, we know that if you sell an R-rated movie to 12-year-olds, they will want to go and see it. But is it really good to let them in? Do I want my children watching incredible violence? No. You have to be much more careful with these things. ... At 30 you go around saying, ‘I want to do the biggest blow-ups, the biggest shootings and I want to have the biggest body count.’ But when you get over 50 and you have a family, you should broaden out and do other things." Maybe he really believes that, but he’s obviously not committed to actually doing something about reversing the trends of his youth. He’s not even adverse to mocking such concerns onscreen. In the movie (while holding a gun on two men) he politely asks them to back away since he didn’t want to kill them in front of his young daughter and expose her to "graphic violence." "She gets enough of that from the media," he jokes. Yep. From your media, Mr. Schwarzenegger.