'The 6th Day' has a sense of humor; too bad the ending is so botched

Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2000

Who can save the world faster than Arnold Schwarzenegger? Two Arnold Schwarzeneggers.

Ahnold gets cloned in "The 6th Day," which makes it the first buddy movie in which both buddies are played by the same guy.

Other than that, "The 6th Day" hews closely to Arnold's action-adventure formula: Something bad happens, an evil millionaire is involved, Arnold and his wise-cracking but dispensable best pal investigate, Arnold fixes everything just in time to get home to his wife and young daughter.

What makes "The 6th Day" different is its sense of humor.

The movie is set in the "near future," and the glimpse we get of what life is like -- a fridge that tells you when you're running low on milk; virtual girlfriends; RePet, a company that can clone your deceased kitty-cat -- is amusing and convincing.

Trying to track down the evil genius who is cloning people (Tony Goldwyn, in a clever performance -- this millionaire gets what he wants with fake empathy), Arnold isn't as serious as he's been in his last few turgid films.

And his character's paranoid dilemma -- what if you weren't even sure who you are? -- resonates.

Too bad the ending is such a botch. You know how, at a certain point, about 90 minutes into a movie, it sends you a message that it's about to wrap up? Usually, it's when the hero and the bad guy finally meet at the climax, a meeting that begins the swift process of carrying us through to the ending.

Or what should be the swift process -- "6th Day" fools around forever, drawing out the ending with lengthy speeches from not one, but two bad guys and a pointless subplot involving Arnold's wife and kid.

It's the usual shootout/explosion/macho wisecrack/villain rising from the dead/obvious stunt double finale, and it leaves us feeling that "6th Day" isn't much different from Arnold's other leaden movies after all.

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