Its been a while between movies for the Big A lately, with his last effort being End of Days, which if I recall correctly came shortly after he’d just had some heart surgery or something like that. End of Days was given a pretty lukewarm reception despite being Arnie’s big comeback movie, but I still enjoyed it (Arnie kicking the devil’s ass? Awesome!).
The Sixth Day is an pseudo-sci-fi action flick set in the near future. As an aside, there’s some cool examples of networked technology which would be awesome to start seeing in common appliances (like a fridge that tells you when you’re running low on something and allows you to order more from a panel on the front).
Uh, anyway, the world is a different place (as usual). Apparently the world was on the brink of starvation, or something, before some combination of ninja genetic engineer Dr Weir and entrepreneur richman Michael Drucker were able to figure out how to make good, reliable and safe clones. From here, I assume that Drucker, being a capitalist pig, was able to turn the scientific advances of Weir into a giant fortune, which he used to build a bigger fortune, and, inevitably, became Evil.
After some early cloning of humans went horribly wrong (apparently), a multitude of laws were passed to make cloning a human extremely illegal, and had ramifications which would have you dropping soap for forty years. Despite this, Drucker was doing it anyway. This, of course, opens up a whole kettle of philosophical fish for the characters, AND the audience, as they have to grapple with the theory of ‘does a clone have a soul?’
Enter Arnie – a helicopter pilot who has been happily living out his family life with loving wife and daughter (aka, plot accessories) until he becomes embroiled in Drucker’s cloning conspiracy when anti-cloning activists start messing with Drucker’s plans. The writer cleverly put in a reference to the hypocrisy of the anti-cloning people by having Drucker denounce them.. uh.. as hypocrites… pointing out that his cloning technology has saved millions of lives by providing food (after all the fish in the oceans died or something, which obviously had the snowballing effect of wiping out all the cows and bananas), and then pointing out how cloning humans could improve people’s lives. This left the activists with nothing to stand on but the soapbox of God, so I’d say the writer/director was an advocate of Darwinian theory, at least to some degree. Oh yeh, the plot. Anyway, as is evident in the trailer, this leads to a brief bit of confusion whilst Arnie tries to figure out what the hell is going on – eventually, of course, someone starts trying to kill him (to erase the evidence of the cloning) and before you know it, we’re bumper-deep in a chase scene with laser bolts flying all over the place, a steadily increasing body count, and several witty Schwarzenegger-esque lines.
Like just about every movie that is ever made, its full of disgusting plot holes. Arnie was pretty boring in it; there was way too much hilarity and Arnie being jovial at the start instead of walking around laying down the smack like I wanted to see. They need to stop him being happy and get him mad earlier on.
Now, I’m going to run the risk of a spoiler here and throw in a very brief bit of the ending that might SHOCK and SURPRISE you – Arnie triumphs over the bad guys and wins.
The bad guys, in this case, were Drucker and his cronies. Drucker, you see, is a multi-uber-billionaire after developing, patenting and selling his quality cloning techniques, and has more money than (I would imagine) anyone else in the world in this particular story. Every scene with Drucker in it, and his wealth is displayed in lavish ostentatiousness, just in case you missed the fact that the main building the thing is set in is a technological gold mine.
Despite all this money, and setup, and sound business planning, apparently Drucker is a bit clueless when it comes to a) choice of employees and b) planning ahead. The main cronies are just the typical Hired Goons, which are somewhat out of place in the surroundings. I would have been expecting some sort of vat-grown, genetically customised and optimised killing machines (like the ninjas that come out of William Gibson’s Chiba City). Instead, he chose a mildly good-looking chick, who didn’t really do anything that useful, and this total tool of a guy who had nothing better to do than die repeatedly in a manner very reminiscent of comic relief.
Of course, after Arnie dispatches the simple guards, he has no problems in defeating Evil and Saving The Day. The 450,000 other security guards that were wandering around the building were apparently too busy to bother coming to battle Arnie until it was way too late to save the Evil Boss. I took very careful notes on the downfall process, so one day when I’m a Good (or Evil, or whatever) uber billionaire like Drecker, I don’t make the same idiot mistakes that he does and get taken out by some punk ass pilot.
Overall, I must confess I was pretty unimpressed. I’ve always been (and still remain) a big Arnie fan, but I thought this movie was pretty lacklustre. The surroundings were good, the futuristic technology was cool (but integrated a little awkwardly, I thought). The laser gun things were sorta boring, which resulted in the gun fighting scenes being average as well. Arnie did pop out a couple of good calls though, which I giggled at (big fan of stupid bravado movie calls). Special effects were boring and barely noticable (which I guess means they were good?); I’d go so far as to say you could live without seeing this on the big screen.
Summary: Make more Terminator movies, or only accept roles in James Cameron movies from now on, please Arnie! I BEG YOU!