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Two Arnies tearing up the screen!
Fun, entertaining 'The 6th Day' a clone of earlier action flicks
(CNN) -- When it comes to movie muscle, Arnold Schwarzenegger is still in the game. "The 6th Day" is a fast-action, well-paced, clever sci-fi thriller that should go far toward erasing the bad aftertaste caused by last year's "End Of Days."
This story is set in the near future, when self-driving cars and virtual-reality girlfriends are commonplace. What is also an everyday event is cloning. Human organs can be cloned, and so can pets. Cloned fish, beef and chicken fill grocery shelves.
What is not allowed is cloning an entire human being. This is called the 6th Day Law, taken from the biblical passage, "and God created man on the sixth day."
Schwarzenegger plays Adam Gibson, an average -- if massive muscles qualify as average -- family man who comes home one night to find his life has been stolen by a clone. Inside his house he sees his wife, daughter and friends celebrating his birthday, with him!
How can that be? He's on the porch looking in!
An evil plan
He doesn't have much time to ponder the question. He's assaulted by two thugs, Marshall (Michael Rooker) and Talia (Sarah Wynter), who tell him a 6th Day violation has taken place; he has been cloned. What they don't tell him is that they work for the genetic engineers behind the whole plot, and they're not there to help him, but to kill him. The chase is on.
Behind all this is Drucker, a multibillionaire bad guy played by the always classy, usually evil Tony Goldwyn. He's come up with a plan to use cloning in such a way that he will have eternal youth and world control. Isn't that always part of the plan? The accidental cloning of Gibson threatens to upset Drucker's nefarious scheme.
Vital to this vile project is Griffin Weir, a genius scientist who holds the knowledge to cloning humans. This role is played by the brilliant Academy Award-winning actor Robert Duvall, whose presence brings credibility to any project.
"The 6th Day" has a great look, courtesy of director Roger Spottiswoode. He and production designer James Bissell have created a stunning futuristic world where everything is just a bit off, a little different and a lot more high tech. At the same time, it remains a familiar place where none of the advances is particularly unexpected, just very cool.
Husband-and-wife writing team Marianne and Cormac Wibberley have made their feature-film debut with this movie's script. For the most part it's well thought-out; the plot twists are not only surprising at times, but even make sense -- no small feat in an action picture.
Schwarzenegger seems to have a good time playing an average family man making grand statements about how film violence is bad for kids. At one point he even announces, "I might be back" -- a sly poke at a famous line from one of his earlier action epics.
This is popcorn-chomping fun for everyone, but be advised of some good news and bad news. The good? The star is a clone, so you get two Schwarzeneggers for the price of one. And the bad? Neither one can act. Gibson and his clone have one scene together, and it's painful to watch.
But so what? Schwarzenegger's fans around the world apparently decided long ago: Since their action icon looks like a brick wall, he's allowed to act like one, too.
"The 6th Day" opens nationwide on Friday. Rated PG-13. 122 minutes.
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The 6th Day
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