The 6th Day

The 6th Day (2000)
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Duvall, Tony Goldwyn
Extras: Isolated Score, RePet Commercial, Theatrical Trailers

After quite a few consecutive box-office duds, ’The 6th Day’ marked something of a return to form for über action star Arnold Schwarzenegger. While certainly not up to the standards of ’The Terminator, ’ or even ’Total Recall,’ the film is capably directed by Roger Spottiswoode and has its fair share of high-octane action scenes and even — heaven forbid — a few intelligent, thought-provoking ideas.

In the not-too-distant future cloning has become an accepted means for agriculture, livestock production, and even for replacing dearly departed pets with exact replicas — complete with transferred memories. But one taboo remains and that is human cloning. Not one to obey inconvenient laws, mega-billionaire Michael Drucker (Tony Goldwyn) funds the research of Dr. Griffin Weir (Robert Duvall) — who seems to have perfected the forbidden art of human replication. While they actively lobby to have the anti-cloning laws repealed, the two men must make dead sure that news of their secret experiments doesn’t leak out.

Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a simple family man who runs an air charter service and is hired by Drucker to take him on a snowboarding excursion high up in the mountains. Through a case of mistaken identity, Gibson finds himself face-to-face with, well, himself and must act fast to save his family now that Drucker knows that the cat is out of the bag. What ensues are such action movie staples as car chases, firefights, helicopter rescues, and bobbing for pod people. Ah, now this is the Arnold that we know and love.

The term ’reference quality’ gets bandied about quite often in reviews of DVD video quality. Well, here’s another one that truly fits the bill. Anamorphically framed at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the transfer is just one or two blemishes shy of perfection. The image is razor sharp without resorting to edge enhancement, colors and black level are accurate and natural, contrast is perfect, and compression artifacts are non-existent. I noticed two tiny white specks during the opening sequence and that was it for imperfections.

Audio is served up in Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Surround mixes. The 5.1 track exhibits great dynamic range and clear fidelity while never allowing the soundtrack to become unbalanced or harsh. The audio sounds just as clean at low listening volumes as it does cranked all the way up to reference level. Surrounds are used to great — and often subtle — effect and the LFE channel remains quite active throughout. All in all it’s a stellar soundtrack.

’The 6th Day’ was originally slated to be a full-blown special edition but, at the last minute, Columbia TriStar decided to omit most of the extras from the North American release. What is most irritating about this unexplained action is that those same missing extras are still slated to show up on the overseas versions of the DVD. For bonus features, region 1 owners are left with an isolated music score with accompanying commentary by Trevor Rabin, RePet commercials from the movie, and a few theatrical trailers. Whoopee.

’The 6th Day’ is above reproach in the audio and video department, although fans of the film will be justifiably miffed at Columbia TriStar’s treatment of the region 1 release. As for the movie itself, this one really seems to fall into the love it or hate it camp. Many Schwarzenegger fans flat out despise the film while others, myself included, can’t figure out what they’re griping about. I found ’The 6th Day’ to be highly enjoyable and far more thought-provoking than many other so-called popcorn flicks. Obviously, your mileage may vary.