Another Ah-nold

Terminating right-to-cloners in the not-too-improbable future.

“And God created man in his own image … And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”—Genesis 1:26-31

In the near future, the first human cloning attempt fails, prompting the federal prohibition of future attempts, the Sixth Day Law. But laws are made to be broken.

Adam Gibson (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is having a hard day. He’s another year older — and he looks it. Just as his handsome wife Natalie’s (Bicentennial Man’s Wendy Crewson) birthday kisses are developing into something more, his young daughter bursts in calling Daddy to a surprise breakfast of cereal and soured milk — and could he please bring her home a SimPal simulated playmate? He manages to swallow a few mouthfuls, but he has a harder time swallowing the newfangled: Adam still shaves with a razor rather than a laser and he keeps a ’50s Cadillac in his garage next to the minivan. When the family dog picks a bad day to die, Natalie calls her husband via his laptop. Could he please get Fido cloned at RePet and home before their daughter gets back from school? But Adam can’t stomach the idea of his daughter cuddled up with Frankenpooch. He returns home with a chattily interactive (and vaguely cadaverous) SimPal. Through his window, he sees his surprise party has started without him. Inside, another Adam Gibson is the center of the festivities, a RePet at his feet. Two shadowy agents approach him as he gapes in disbelief from his porch: “There’s been a sixth-day violation ...”

In The 6th Day, director Roger Spottiswoode (Tomorrow Never Dies) creates a credible brave new world that surprises, thrills and puzzles, populated with interesting characters. This father knows best how to deal with cloned-again henchmen so resilient that one is actually (and aptly) named Wile E. Coyote. Like his villain, biotech billionaire and Frankenstein-of-tomorrow Michael Drucker (Ghost bad guy Tony Goldwyn), Spottiswoode is “just taking over where God left off.”

E-mail James Keith La Croix at [email protected].

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