“Try to stay dead this time”: ‘The 6th Day’ Review

Posted in The Screening Room by - September 25, 2017
“Try to stay dead this time”: ‘The 6th Day’ Review

Arnold Schwarzenegger and science fiction are usually a great combination with some of his true classics being some of the best science fiction movies ever made (The Terminator, Total Recall) and while The 6th Day may not be on the same level as those, it’s a fascinating entry into his science fiction catalogue that dares to ask some thought-provoking questions.

Set in a futuristic world, Schwarzenegger stars as Adam Gibson, a pilot, who discovers that there’s been a breach in his family and someone who claims to be him has infiltrated his life. His investigation into this “clone” leads him to a vast conspiracy by a major corporation from this futuristic world.

The 6th Day is not your average Schwarzenegger action film and I think that’s why the reception is a lot more polarizing than some of the other classics; this film attempts to have a little bit more to say about what it means to be human and the greed that makes corporations want to play God. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, director of Tomorrow Never Dies and Turner & Hooch, the film is at times at odds with what it wants to be. Sometimes it wants to be a pure action film and one that is comfortable just being that but there’s also the more interesting ideas that it wants to explore, like the nature of humanity, the greedy aspects of corporations and this truly fascinating debate between science and religion.

The main problem with The 6th Day is that it never quite wants to know which movie it wants to be; a straightforward action film or a more complex action film with something on its mind. But what’s commendable is that the film at least attempts to have something on its mind; it offers enough material to prove something worth watching. Speaking of worth watching, this is one of the biggest ensemble casts that Schwarzenegger has ever worked on including turns from Michael Rapaport, Michael Rooker, Terry Crews (in an early role) and even a great sinister performance from Rubert Duvall.

One of the best aspects of the film is without its look; the cinematography courtesy of Pierre Mignot has a very slick and glossy sheen to it that gives the film a perfect meta-look to it since it deals with second lives that aren’t our own in the future. Even the pacing works really well since it builds up over time in a really organic way. As Schwarzenegger gets deeper and deeper into the conspiracy, the momentum becomes even more frenetic and more action-packed than ever before.

It might not rank alongside something like T2: Judgment Day or Total Recall or some of the other great Schwarzenegger sci-fi classics but The 6th Day is an action film with more thematic depth than some average action flick and that’s definitely something that makes it worth watching. While it didn’t create a lot of critical or box office success it’s more of an undiscovered hidden gem that will definitely surprise some people with its ideas and action sequences.

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He is an avid movie fan and loves to write about movies perhaps a little too much. He also considers Casino Royale to be the best James Bond film ever made and he’s ready to defend at any moment.

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