The 6th Day (2000)
[RP] Starring:Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Goldwin, Robert Duvall
Directed by:Roger Spottiswoode
Written by:Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley

In the near future when human cloning is possible but illegal, Arnie runs an adventure service which flies well-heeled clients to an isolated alpine retreat for extreme skiing adventures. When Arnie is mistakenly thought to be dead following a terrorist attack on one of his clients he's cloned complete with a set of memories to cover up the illegal cloning of the wicked corporate executive actually killed. The cloned Arnie of course not knowing he's a clone has to return to his "fah-mee-lee" and that's where the fun begins. We think Arnie would have done better to return to his "phee-sex booooks" and study up so that he can do a better job of picking scripts.

The cloning process is comic book science at its finest. In the process blank clones, somehow produced with no DNA of their own, are stored in a giant lobster tank ready to be served up for the latest customer order. This plot gimmick supposedly answers the problems of producing a complete human from a single cell in a highly compressed time frame. Still, it takes a lobotomy to believe a blank can be infused with a customer's DNA, lifetime memories, years of bodybuilding workouts, and sun tan levels, then emerge as a fully formed clone identical in every way to the customer, all in less than 5 minutes.

We admit that cloning is the bailiwick of biology but when talking about basic mechanisms all sciences eventually turn into physics. According to the movie, the customer's lifetime of information passes from a computer into the clone's brain in a matter of seconds. It normally takes a human lifetime just to pass the visual information from the eyes into the brain and this is normally done at a very high rate. Transferring all sensory input as well as conscious and unconscious thought data into the brain in 4 or 5 seconds would require a rate over a billion times faster than the rate eyes acquire just visual data.

Not only does the movie propose that a lifetime of data can be transferred into the brain in seconds but also that a lifetime of data can be transferred out of the brain through the eyes in the same amount of time, all of course with no physiological problems like overheating or even conscious awareness by the person whose memories are being stolen. We'd have felt better if the movie had claimed this was done by a Gypsy using evil eye magic passed down by ancient Druids from Bangladesh.

The idea that an undifferentiated blank can pass through a type of puberty into a fully functioning individual in a matter of minutes ranks up there with the evil eye magic. There are reasons why regular puberty takes several years. Many of the mechanisms are sequential and are limited by diffusion processes which tend to be slow. We also estimate that making the conversion consumes energy at a rate of around 1 million joules (239 kcal, or about half a milkshake) per day in the form of food. Assuming normal puberty lasts 4 years, the total energy is about 1.5 billion joules. Confining puberty to a five minute time frame would require a power source of 5 million watts, the equivalent of about 4000 toasters. Magically, this poses no problem for the clones.

Many of Arnie's movies have had powerfully built scripts but this one's a 90 pound weakling with puny pecs. We can only hope that Arnie's next set of writers do a lot more reps on the rewrite bench.

Copyright © 2001 Intuitor, all rights reserved