Like John Travolta, it's not been a particularly good last few years for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although the action star has several strong successes a few years back with "True Lies" and "Eraser", "End Of Days" and other recent efforts have left his star power at a somewhat questionable level. Although "The 6th Day" didn't particularly do the kind of business that was expected of it, the film showed at least a strong-step in the right direction as Arnold joined with respected director Roger Spottiswoode ("Tomorrow Never Dies") and a strong supporting cast including Robert Duvall.
The film stars Arnold as Adam Gibson, a normal, everyday guy spending time in the future with a nice family and life's usual events arriving. Unfortunately, the family pet passes away and the choice comes up to have the pet taken to "RePet", which offers to bring the passed pet back. Such technical advances as cloned re-pets, creepy dolls and virtual girlfriends are the deal of the day in this "not-too-distant-future".
Unfortunately for Adam, he also finds himself in the middle of a scientific plot as he finds that he's been cloned by a secret agency headed by Drucker(Tony Goldwyn). Adam comes home to find...himself, and three of Drucker's drones (Michael Rooker, Rodney Rowland and Sarah Wynter) are after him to erase the original. At this point, the build-up stops and the usual Arnold-style action begins.
"The 6th Day" is not a fantastic picture, but it's certainly a return to form for the action star and slightly better than the usual genre offers. The film's discussion of cloning generally isn't too detailed, and certainly not as fascinating as Andrew Niccol's look at the human gene in "Gattaca", but makes for a film that's not completely without some minor thought-provoking moments. Some of these dialogue-driven sequences are a bit on the lengthy side though, and at 124 minutes, "The 6th Day" could have used an occasionally snappier pace - some of the middle of the films does drag. That, and the special effects and story involved with all of the neat little gadgets that are available in the future are realistic and well-done.
The performances are not stand-outs, but even Schwarzenegger is noticably better than he has been in the last couple of films he's starred in - funnier, less wooden. The great Robert Duvall is underused as the scientist who does all of the cloning and the supporting performances by Michael Rooker, Rodney Rowland and Sarah Wynter are decent, but not great. Michael Rappaport also turns in a decent performance as the sidekick. Tony Goldwyn as Drucker doesn't make much of a bad guy, but all of the equipment (neat lasers, etc) that they go after Arnold's character with defnitely are exciting enough.
"The 6th Day" is a an above-average picture - and, actually, a little bit of fixing and it could have been even better. Still, it's a return to form for the action star and an occasionally interesting lok at one vision of what the future might be like.
VIDEO: "The 6th Day" is presented in the film's original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the often breathtaking visual look of the movie is presented quite well with Tristar's impressive anamorphic transfer. Sharpness and detail are never less than excellent, lending the picture a very nice, often "three-dimensional" look. Even the film's night sequences look sharp and well-defined.
I didn't see any glaring imperfections throughout Tristar's presentation of "The 6th Day". A couple of very minor instances of shimmer and a slight speckle or two on the print are the only things that I noticed and even those tiny problems were certainly not distracting. No instances of pixelation or other flaws were noticed.
"The 6th Day" really isn't a very colorful picture, although the color palette used looked accurate and didn't show any flaws. With most of the film's action taking places in offices and cold rooms, colors remain blue and metalic for a good deal of the movie. Some scenes offer a wider range of colors, though. Overall, "the 6th Day" is more of the usual from Tristar, a studio who continues its reputation of providing excellent image quality for their DVD efforts. As there are no apparent differences between the picture quality for both editions, the review text stays the same. Subtitles are provided in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai
SOUND: The combination of Schwartzenegger and sci-fi should make for a pretty amazing presentation in Dolby Digital 5.1 and often, "the 6th Day" lives up to expectations. The film is not a consistently action-packed feature, and certain periods of the movie offer a more dialogue and score driven experience than others. Still, when the action becomes more intense, the sound boasts some terrific instances of agressive audio use.
During the film's chase/action sequences, gunfire (or, more specifically, laser fire) and action envelop the viewer with the surrounds agressively offering effects and Trevor Rabin's enjoyable, occasionally intense score. These scenes are presented with an engaging amount of activity and usually do their job at bringing the viewer into the middle of the action. The film's few explosions and more intense sequences also provide solid, if not overpowering, bass. Dialogue also sounded clear with no issues. Not a consistently thrilling presentation, but exciting at its best. As there are no apparent differences between the sound quality for both editions, the review text stays the same.
MENUS:: The main menu contains some slight background animation and there are transitions between the main and sub-menus, but nothing too remarkable.
EXTRAS: Originally announced as a special edition with several additional features, an announcement was made sometime later that these features would not end up on the original DVD, for reasons unknown. The features that were on that original DVD and return here are listed below. Afterwards, the new features will be discussed.
Isolated Score/Commentary: This is an isolated score in Dolby Digital 5.1 with commentary from composer Trevor Rabin, who is widely known for his work on several recent Jerry Bruckheimer pictures such as "Enemy Of The State", "Armageddon" and "Remember The Titans". He does provide a fairly good deal of discussion throughout, considering there are breaks in the discussion for some of the pieces of score. Sometimes, he does slightly talk over a bit of music, but really does provide a lot of insight not only about working on the production, but his work in general as a composer. Although not a full-length discussion, Rabin does bring some insight and information to the table and I enjoyed listening to much of what he had to say.
Repet: A Full "Re-Pet" Informerical (2:35) and TV Spot(:46) are included.
Trailers: Trailers are included for "The 6th Day"(Dolby Digital 5.1), "Final Fantasy"(Dolby Digital 5.1), "Spider Man"(Dolby Digital 5.1/teaser trailer) and "The One" (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Also: Talent files.
On The 6th Day: New to the Special Edition is this section, which offers 9 featurettes on various aspects of the production, which last several minutes each. These featurettes are actually quite well-produced, offering the viewer an interesting exploration of such elements of the film as stunts, special effects, action filming and other aspects. Instead of a lot of interviews and talk, these featurettes actually go behind-the-scenes for much of their running time, showing us the situation with informative narration or brief interviews that explain what we're seeing.
The Future Is Coming: This featurette should have been called "The Movie Is Coming" instead. Following the predictable set-up for most of these "Making Of"'s, we get quite a bit of footage with the director and actors talking about the film and showing scenes. The last quarter is reserved for the more interesting information, such as effects and stunts. Still, this remains more promotional than anything.
Storyboard Comparisons: Split-screen storyboard-to-scene comparisons for "Car Chase", "Whisper-Craft Crash" and "Cloning Tanks".
Animatics: Two animatics (moving storyboards) for "Snowy Mountain" and "Rooftop".
Final Thoughts: The film itself is a moderately entertaining and effective thriller and - while flawed - is still better than many of the star's recent films. Those seeking a more dramatic exploration of similar topics should seek out director Andrew Niccol's "Gattaca", which is a definite favorite.
As for this new special edition DVD, it's recommended for those who haven't gotten the original DVD and are looking to own the film. While I've found quite a few of the studio's re-releases to be worthy of an upgrade, I just don't find enough difference to recommend an upgrade for those who already bought the original edition of this film.