One of Arnold Schwarzenegger's last hurrahs as an action film icon, The 6th Day is a reasonably entertaining blend of science fiction thrills and macho action chills that serves as a decent time killer... but nothing more.
Set in the near future, Schwarzenegger plays Adam Gibson, the owner of an Extreme Sports charter company. He and his partner, Hank (Michael Rapaport), fly rich snowboarder types up into the mountains using their high-tech helicopters. When they're not flying around, Arnold is hanging out with his wife (Wendy Crewson) and daughter (Taylor Anne Reid while Hank enjoys making sweet love to his virtual girlfriend (Jennifer Gareis) and hanging out with his cat. Hank and Adam decide to swap shifts one day meaning that Hank will fly rich industrialist Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) up into the mountains while Adam celebrates his birthday, but an anti-cloning fundamentalist attacks Hank and Drucker and screws everything up.
While Hank is getting shot, Adam is at the mall debating whether or not he should pay Re-Pet to clone his recently deceased dog, Oliver. Adam's pretty old fashioned and he doesn't really like the idea of cloning much. That all starts to change, however, when Adam comes home one night and finds an exact duplicate of himself hanging out in his home, playing with his daughter, smoking his cigars and getting it on with his wife in the mini van. Adam's investigation soon uncovers a conspiracy involving Drucker and a Doctor Weir (Robert Duvall) who happens to specialize in illegal human cloning techniques. Meanwhile, a gang of Drucker's cronies, lead by Robert Marshall (Michael Rooker), are out to make sure that Adam doesn't uncover too much about the operation and to keep him silent no matter what the cost.
Borrowing a little bit from The Terminator (at one point Arnold tells a character 'I might be back') and Total Recall but coming nowhere near the success of those two films, The 6th Day is Arnold-lite. While there are fights, shoot outs and explosions aplenty, the violence in the film is pretty sanitized (hence the film's PG-13 rating) and devoid of any real impact. The film moves along at a brisk pace but it winds up being pretty predictable and as such, it's lacking in tension or suspense. This is simply Schwarzenegger going through the motions and The 6th Day is about as formulaic as it gets. The film wants to be intelligent with it's pokes and prods at the moral debate surrounding human cloning but instead opts for the low brow 'let's blow everything up and throw in some witty dialogue' approach that you'd expect from a by-the-numbers action film. This would be fine if we had memorable characters to believe in but the filmmakers can't even give us that much and there's no chemistry between the good guys (Rapaport and Schwarzenegger just seem awkward) nor are there any memorable bad guys for them to fight. Goldwyn does nothing to make the role his own and while Duvall is decent in his part, he's not given very much to do with it.
Director Roger Spottiswoode ensures that the film looks good and that it moves along nicely enough but the film winds up as little more than a moderately entertaining if uninspired time killer. It's worth a watch on a rainy day when you've got nothing better to do even if everyone involved seems to have phoned it in.
The 6th Day is presented in a decent 2.40.1 1080p anamorphic widescreen presentation courtesy of some spiffy AVC/MPEG 4 encoding. Overall, this image on this DVD is pretty solid. Detail is strong throughout and there aren't any problems with dirt or print damage to complain about. Skin tones look very realistic and black levels stay strong throughout. There aren't any problems with mpeg compression artifacts or edge enhancement to complain about though some scenes look a little too sharp for their own good. Overall this is a very clean and clear image without any major flaws or problems. A little bit of grain is obvious in some scenes but it isn't distracting though some of the CGI work in the film looks dated by today's standards and the enhanced clarity of the picture serves to bring that out more than a standard definition DVD would. All in all, however, fans of the film should be pretty happy with the way that film has been treated on this DVD.
The English language 48Khz/16-bit Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Sound mix very strong, with French and Portuguese TrueHD mixes also supplied and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mixes available in Thai and Spanish. Subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Thai.
The English TrueHD mix is pretty aggressive and it makes excellent use of the surround channels during the action scenes in the film. Bass response is nice and strong and it brings a bit of very welcome rumble to the shoot outs and explosions. There are a couple of scenes where the dialogue could have been up in the mix a little more but aside from that things are well balanced and very clear. Sound effects pack a nice punch and the performers are audible throughout. This mix isn't as strong as Blu-ray presentations of more modern films but for a movie that's almost ten years old, The 6th Day sounds pretty darn good.
Sony has carried over most of the extra features from the standard definition release, but they're all presented in non-anamorphic standard definition. Optional subtitles are available in French for all of the extras.
The supplements start off with a featurette entitled On The 6th Day, which is a collection of nine shorter segments that run a combined twenty-two minutes in length. Much of this material is made up of clips from the film and closing credits, leaving very little meat on the bones. Basically what this featurette does is show us a clip from the film and then follow it up with some brief interview and behind the scenes footage showing and explaining to us how that shot was accomplished. It's all very much a surface level presentation and it doesn't go into very much depth at all, which makes it a bit of a disappointment.
Up next is a sixteen minute featurette entitled The Future Is Coming which is a promotional television piece that was originally shown on Showtime before the film's theatrical debut. This is very much an EPK style supplement and at sixteen minutes feels more like a glorified commercial than any sort of substantial look at the making of the film. Essentially, this is a few minutes of talking head interviews with the cast and crew about how great the movie is along with a few clips from the film.
Rounding out the extra features are a few unrelated Blu-ray trailers, some storyboard to film comparisons (three scenes), two animatics, animated menus and chapter selection, and D-Box enhancement. The trailer for the feature itself is nowhere to be found. This release is also 'Blu-ray Live' enabled, which means you can go online through your web-enabled profile 2.0 player and check out some trailers for other Sony releases. Unfortunately, the standard definition DVD had a commentary/isolated score track included that has not been ported over to this Blu-ray debut.
Sony has given The 6th Day a solid presentation on Blu-ray that established fans of the film will probably be pretty pleased with, despite the unimpressive extra features. Those who don't already know they like the film, however, would be best to rent the picture first. While it's an entertaining action/sci-fi hybrid, it's far from a classic. Rent it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.