"The 6th Day"...and Arnold
Directed by Roger Spottiswoode ("Turner and Hooch").
Written by Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 11/19/00
Now that I have spoken to the
bride-to-be, I would like to take time out in this column to say
congratulations to Frances Bazaz and her fiancé, Jon Duran! I lived
with Jon for three years at UVA, and while we all thought this might
be coming for a while, I am glad to see it come to fruition.
What is scarier for me, though, is that I
am saying congratulations in two consecutive Bellviews for friends
getting married. I have now been to seven weddings in the
three years that I have been out of school, and I am already going
to three weddings next year. This worries me a bit.
Doesn't that seem like a lot? And, I turned down invites for a
couple more since they were out of the DC area...not that I feel any
pressure, but the adjustment to going to so many weddings means that
come the first of the year, I am going out to just slap down the
cash for my own tux. It will definitely get the use!
Today, I am not interested in talking about
the movie as much as I am in dealing with the pain I am carrying
right now for Arnold Schwarzenegger. "The 6th Day"
(apparently, the writers thought spelling out sixth was too
difficult) is a decent enough movie, with some above-average special
effects and its reasonably serious message about human cloning.
It features some okay performances from, amongst others, Robert
Duvall and Michael Rucker ("Cliffhanger"), and it even features
enough of a story to keep you interested. It also has some
light humor sprinkled about its running time.
It is what this movie IS NOT that is the
real issue for me. There was a time where Arnold
Schwarzenegger was a movie titan; the biggest star in America, and a
good portion of the world. From 1984 through 1992, he made all
of the following films:
I mean, talk about a run! The man was a
bad ass, making big-budget action films and smoking cigars like it
was his job. He had a high-profile wedding to Maria Schriver, he
was appointed to be the national spokesman on fitness and was
suddenly doing workouts on the White House lawn every year; it was
incredible! And, the movies themselves..."The Terminator" and "T2"
were classics, "Commando" and "Predator" solidified his status as
Hollywood's top hero, even on the heels of Sly's huge-grossing
action classic "Rambo: First Blood Part 2." And, "Twins"
and "Kindergarten Cop" showed his sensitive side while still giving
action fans what they wanted.
Then, in 1993, it happened. Arnold's
first truly bad film after he had hit stardom was released: "The
Last Action Hero," about a kid's fantastic voyage in the world of
film with the medium's biggest action star (obviously a parody of
Schwarzenegger's own career), was so bad that apparently, critic
Gene Siskel almost walked out of the theater and many of you have
told me that you either considered or completed the idea yourselves!
Ever since that day, things have not gone
well for his movie career besides the better-than-average
blow-'em-ups "True Lies" and "Eraser." Consider: during this time
period he made the awful "Junior" (as a pregnant man), "Jingle All
the Way", and one of Bellview's ten worst films ever, "Batman and
Robin." Yet, he still commands a ridiculous $20 million per movie
plus a percentage of the gross. Strange, indeed...but, hope is on
the horizon, as he just signed a deal to do
"Terminator 3" in the
summer of 2002.
What is tough for me, though, is seeing
the man's body of work take such a plunge. I still remember going
to see "The Running Man" as a young'un and being so wowed by that
movie. "Total Recall" is still my favorite Schwarzenegger flick
(just edging out "T2"), if anything because it features the single
most offensively-bloody scene in an action movie, the part where
Arnold--getting shot at by bad guys on an escalator--uses another
perfectly healthy, innocent civilian as a body shield against the
bad guys. The civilian gets hit so many times that you are either
laughing at the scene's utter ridiculousness or are hiding your head
in fear that the guy's body will just explode with all the caps
bursting through his chest. Chuck "The Verb" Longer's
favorite is "Predator", and we both love watching the Indian guy
Billy scan for the Predator or Jesse Ventura unloading rounds from a
massively-oversized chain gun into unknowing Mexican smugglers.
Or Bill Duke helping Carl Weathers spot the alien: "Look over
there...by them trees..." That was some great stuff!
But, "The 6th Day" features so little
action--I should have known, since it was rated PG-13 and had Duvall
involved--that fans who came looking for action will only find it at
home with the girlfriend, not in your movie theater. And, the
action scenes involved in this movie mostly suck.
It is hard for me, watching our great
legends head down a path that is unfamiliar to them. I don't
believe that Arnold is capable of playing a dramatic part in a
sensitive film; his control of the English language oftentimes
prohibits that. In "The 6th Day", Arnold has a lot more lines
to say and I still could hear some snickers from the back of my
theater whenever his character started to get emotional. So,
could he make more action films?
I have to admit; his hard-core action career
may be over. He is 53 years old, and while he still looks like
he is pretty cut and in great shape, I lost count of the number of
times in "The 6th Day" he used a stunt double for things as simple
as climbing a fence or jumping down a stairwell. I am hopeful
that Arnold will get out of starring in major adventure vehicles
like "The 6th Day" soon, if anything to save his reputation with the
fans that he won during his great mid-80s run of films that helped
define the modern action-adventure. With all that money in the
bank, why not go ahead and jump straight into politics?
Rating for "The 6th Day": Matinee
Rating for Schwarzenegger's career outlook:
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard