Friday, July 3, 2009

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Project: The 6th Day

This is Arnie's take on the near future, it's not quite as amusing as Demolition Man though. Point for Sly, sadly enough. This really gives End of Days a run for its money.
Arnold has always had amusingly conservative family lives in his movies, but few of them work; John Matrix was believable when he said "He should be called Girl George!" and in True Lies, Cameron wisely makes his daughter an important part of the story. Here, he's a lone Luddite standout in an advanced future, who has a classic '54 Cadillac in his garage while everyone else lets their OnStar GM vehicles drive themselves. Unlike Minority Report, and even Freejack, where the cars look futuristic, they just use late-model cars. It doesn't help, in a movie where we just saw remote-control gyrojets flying through the mountains. It's not quite a believable future. Total Recall and Demolition Man do it better.
Roger Spottiswoode directs, the guy who gave us Turner & Hooch, Stop or My Mom Will Shoot, and the Bond flick Tomorrow Never Dies, which was only memorable because Michelle Yeoh was in it. This time he decides the tone should be somewhere between Enemy of the State and Cherry 2000, both infinitely more entertaining and original films.
Sometime after Conan, he got his teeth done.

Robert Duvall plays Dr. Weir, the pioneer of cloning who saved the world by somehow cloning the fish population, and CEO Drucker is the guy who saved our children from crying by creating RePets, cloned pets so they never know their puppy died! They run a quasi-criminal empire that is secretly cloning humans, which is against the law ever since the Supreme Court ordered the first human clone destroyed. They can feed your memories back with a fresh brain, fastforwarding your memories through screens in front of your pupils, but while they play it partially for laughs, it was done so much better years later in The Venture Bros. animated series. They bring back dead henchmen in this one too, but it isn't as funny as it should be.
Arnold is his usual super-killer self, but as the entrepreneur of an Extreeeeeme Skiing Tour Guide service, there's no reason for his combat skills. In Total Recall he's a rogue agent (or it's all the Ultimate Ego Trip) and in most other roles he's some sort of cop or ex-military; here he's just Arnold, I mean, Adam Gibson, and brings us out of willful suspension of disbelief even further. I just assume since he's a pilot, he's ex-chair force. Anyway, the plot is he falls asleep on a cab ride to his birthday party and when he wakes up... he's just not right. When he makes it home, he sees himself getting served birthday cake through the window, and he knows somethin' ain't right Lucy. Weird goofy henchmen (the best being Terry Crews) try to kill him in an uninspired car chase with his '54 Cadillac.
In ze future, Manic Panic hair dye is expensive

After the first hour when the laser guns start flying like mad, things get a little easier to take. The problem is it has no consistent tone. There's a henchman named "Wiley" who is repeatedly killed due to incompetence, a virtual sexpot for Mike Rapaport, creepy discolored SimPal toys reminiscent of that "My Buddy" doll from the '80s; but it also crams in a smary subplot with Dr. Weir's wife being a clone of a clone who keeps dying of congenital diseases, and "just wants to die." Religious nuts picket Weir's institute, when no one's supposed to know he clones people; but sports stars on TV with obviously broken necks show up the next day back in the game. If only this had the charm of The Running Man!
send in ze clone!

In this intolerably long movie, the most anticipated part is when Arnie meets Clonie and they team up to beat the evil CEO who wants his family dead for some reason. Sadly, he's a pretty boring character in this- he's no John Matrix or even a Ben Richards- so doubling him only makes the movie less tolerable. It manages to crib here and there from Blade Runner's replicants, and Spottiswoode even re-uses the lamest part of Tomorrow Never Dies, attacking people with the helicopter rotors. Arnie manages to wipe out the evil corporation at the end because in 2015, CEOs still haven't learned the value of offsite backup storage solutions. To quote Professor Frink: mm-hey.

Rating: You should clone yourself while you are still alive. So you can go fuck yourself!

All the entries in The Arnold Project

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