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The 6th Day: Special Edition

Sometimes one Arnold Schwarzenegger is enough for any film. The grievous trouble with Roger Spottiswoode's The 6th Day is that we get two carbon-copies of the muscle-bound Austrian-American, and they don't just fight bad guys, they have (gad!) conversations with each other. The least we should expect is a warm, sappy "good Ah-nold" and a nefarious, nasty "bad" Ah-nold — sort of as if the Arnie from Kindergarten Cop and Schwarzenegger from the first Terminator went mano a mano like two Capt. Kirks from classic Trek — but The 6th Day trades the immediacy of doppelganger duels for a rather worn plot, albeit one with heady sci-fi aspirations. Schwarzenegger stars as Adam Gibson, an all-American (yet heavily accented) charter-air pilot who loves nothing more than flying, his family, and his vintage Cadillac. And it's very vintage, this being a near-future where society is driven by convenient computers and cloning is a major topic of political/social debate. Cloning isn't just real, it's commonplace (people frequently clone dead housepets via the friendly, reassuring RePet corporation), but cloning humans is strictly illegal. That hasn't stopped the head of RePet, Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn), from running his own human-clone operation on the side, but mysterious events follow a charter flight he takes with Adam's company — Adam wakes up in the back of a cab, returning home to discover that a clone has taken his place, and said clone is not above a late-evening shag with the wife in the back of the minivan. With echoes of the popular Total Recall (Arnie has an identity crisis; Arnie finds himself on the run; Arnie takes matters into his own hands), The 6th Day is largely superior to most Schwarzenegger vehicles, and many of the small details of the film are amusing (tobacco is illegal in the future; a "virtual" 911 telescreen call is automated to the point of irrelevancy). But the actual "technology" that is the film's centerpiece — genetics and cloning — isn't the cautionary stuff of Gattaca, but pure science-fantasy, particularly the idea that dead people can be cloned in a matter of hours with little more than a stiff neck. And Robert Duvall, as a law-flaunting geneticist, brings a lot of talent to a supporting role that requires very little. Action fans will want to see The 6th Day for the thrill-ride itself, even if it's entirely predictable — complete with Schwarzenegger delivering lines like "Let's get out of he-ah!" and the villain of the piece, cornered at last, claiming "Wait — we can make a deal." Columbia TriStar's two-disc The 6th Day: Special Edition (which replaces an earlier one-disc release) offers a crisp anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and an array of subtitles. Returning from the previous release are a funny infomercial for RePet and a 30-second TV spot (both seen briefly in the movie), as well as an isolated score with commentary by composer Trevor Rabin. New goodies include the promo featurette "The Future is Coming" (15 min.), a collection of nine short features on the film's various special effects, three storyboard-to-scene comparisons, two working animatics, cast filmographies, and a trailer gallery offering The 6th Day, The One, Final Fantasy, and a teaser spot for Sony's 2002 Spider Man. Dual-DVD slimline keep-case.

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