THE 6TH DAY
Personally, canít understand why THE 6TH DAY ($25) didn't perform well at the box office. With THE 6TH DAY, Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in form, delivering the kind of explosive sci-fi action that his fans have come to expect from his movies. The digital special effects work is completely beyond reproach and the numerous action sequences are staged with plenty of energy and sense of style. Additionally, the science fiction story is fairly relevant to scientific breakthroughs that are occurring right now, so the plot of THE 6TH DAY isn't totally outside the realm of possibility.
Set in the near future, THE 6TH DAY tells the story of a world where human cloning is banned, but the world still enjoys the fruits of cloning technology for growing replacement organs for transplant, as well as bringing back beloved family pets that have died, thanks to a company called RePet. In THE 6TH DAY, Schwarzenegger portrays charter pilot Adam Gibson, who flies his clients to mountaintop ski adventures. On the day he takes on a new high profile client, Gibson switches places with his business partner, so he can run errands before spending his birthday with his family. When Gibson returns home, he looks through the window and sees himself already inside the house, blowing out the candles on his birthday cake. Quicker than you can say Jack Robinson, several goons show up to inform Gibson that there has been a violation of the 6th day laws- which means that he has been illegally cloned. Since there is already one Adam Gibson in the house, the goons make it plain that they plan to eliminate the other Adam Gibson- the one that no one else has seen yet. Of course, Gibson doesn't have any intention of having his life stolen, so he goes on the run to save himself and to discover who is responsible for creating his illegal clone.
The story structure of THE 6TH DAY has a lot in common with Schwarzenegger's earlier effort TOTAL RECALL. Both films depict unwitting protagonists, who find themselves victims of a larger conspiracy, in which they discover that their lives are no longer their own. Additionally, in both films, the protagonists find themselves on the run from a never-ending parade of henchmen whose only desire is to terminate them. While THE 6TH DAY does copy the formula of a successful Schwarzenegger outing, there is enough here to differentiate it from TOTAL RECALL. Also in the filmís favor is the fact that THE 6TH DAY offers a reasonably intelligent story that does question the ethical implications of human cloning, without spoon-feeding the audience a decisive answer. Much of the technology presented in the film is not outside the realm of possibility; although the way cloning is achieved in the film proves to be a real stretch. Fortunately, director Roger Spottiswoode moves the story along at a brisk enough that one doesn't have time to question the viability of all that they see. Additionally, Schwarzenegger is surrounded with a solid supporting cast that includes Michael Rapaport, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rooker, Sarah Wynter, Wendy Crewson, Rodney Rowland, Terry Crews, Ken Pogue, Colin Cunningham and Robert Duvall.
Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment offers THE 6TH DAY on DVD in a wide screen presentation that frames the film at 2.35:1 and includes the 16:9 enhancement. The image on the DVD is virtually perfect, appearing incredibly sharp, finely detailed and displaying superb depth. Colors are very solid and the flesh tones appear completely natural. More vivid hues are expressed with complete stability, without so much as a hint of bleeding. Blacks are right on the money, plus the level of shadow detail is truly excellent. Digital compression artifacts are completely concealed by clean authoring. As I have come to expect from brand new movies, the film element used for the transfer is free from blemishes. Considering the DVDís marvelous image quality, itís easy to say that Columbia TriStar has produced another disc to show off one's home video set up.
THE 6TH DAY also features a killer Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. This track is aggressively mixed, taking full advantage of the discrete properties of the format. Channel separation is excellent in both the forward and rear soundstages, with smooth panning of sound effects in all directions. The sound during the flying sequences is especially effective and more than a bit showy, which makes them even more fun to watch. Dialogue reproduction is clean and fully intelligible, even when the sound effects are at the strongest. The bass channel is usually quite powerful, and at times, completely explosive. As with the video, the 5.1 channel soundtrack for THE 6TH DAY really delivers the goods, making it demonstration worthy material. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.
Animation and sound enhance the interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. THE 6TH DAY was originally supposed to be a special edition DVD, but I guess the less than outstanding box office grosses changed someone's mind- too bad, I enjoyed this movie and really would have liked to see more behind-the-scenes features included. However, THE 6TH DAY does include a 5.1 channel isolated score, with commentary by composer Trevor Rabin. It's a good score, and this is a feature that I wish more DVDs would include. Also featured on the DVD are both the uncut infomercial and commercial for the RePet service, which are seen briefly in the film. If RePet actually did exist, it would probably be one of the most successful businesses based upon biotechnology. After all, what pet lover wouldn't want their beloved four legged family member to live as long as they did? Talent files and theatrical trailers for THE 6TH DAY, as well as other similarly themed DVDs close out the extras.
THE 6TH DAY is a pretty solid and entertaining Schwarzenegger outing that really should have done better at the box office. Anyway, the DVD looks and sounds fantastic, making it worth a spin in your home theater.
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