REVIEW: THE 6TH DAY

CAST

Arnold Schwarzenegger (End of Days)
Michael Rapaport (My Name Is Earl)
Tony Goldwyn (Kiss The Girls)
Sarah Wynter (Lost Souls)
Wendy Crewson (The Good Son)
Rodney Rowland (Veronica Mars)
Terry Crews (White Chicks)
Colin Cunninhgam (Elektra0
Robert Duvall (The Judge)
Michael Rooker (Guardians of The Galaxy)
Steve Bacic (Andromeda)
Ellie Harvie (The New Addams Family)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
Hiro Kanagawa (Heroes Reborn)
Ben Bass (Bride of Chcuky)
Colin Lawrence (Watchmen)
Mark Gibbon (Man of Steel)
Peter Kent (Total Recall)
Gerard Plunkett (Sucker Punch)

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In the near future, the cloning of animals and human organs has become routine. Cloning entire humans, however, is prohibited by what are known as “Sixth Day” laws. Billionaire Michael Drucker, owner of cloning corporation Replacement Technologies, hires charter pilot Adam Gibson and partner Hank Morgan for a ski trip. Due to Drucker’s prominence, the two must first undergo blood and eye tests to verify their aptitude. On the day of Drucker’s arrival, Adam finds that his family dog Oliver has died, and Hank offers to fly Drucker instead to allow Adam time to have the pet cloned. After visiting a “RePet” shop, he remains unconvinced.
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Adam returns home and discovers that not only has Oliver already been cloned, but a purported clone of himself is with his family. Replacement Technologies security agents Marshall, Talia, Vincent and Wiley arrive with the intention on killing Adam. Adam escapes and this chase results in the deaths of Talia and Wiley. Both are later cloned. Adam seeks refuge at Hank’s apartment after the police betray him to the agents. A while later, Tripp (whom Adam recognizes from the ski trip) kills Hank and is mortally injured by Adam. Revealed as a religious anti-cloning extremist, Tripp informs Adam that Hank was a clone, since he killed the original one on the mountaintop earlier that day, to be able to kill Drucker, who was also a clone, and there’s now a new Drucker clone. Tripp then commits suicide to avoid being captured by Marshall and the others. The agents arrive again and Adam is able to kill Talia again, and steals her thumb. Adam sneaks into Replacement Technologies with Talia’s thumb and finds Dr. Griffin Weir, the scientist behind Drucker’s illegal human-cloning technology. Weir confirms Tripp’s story, adding that to resurrect Drucker the incident had to be covered up and Adam was cloned because they mistakenly believed he had been killed. Weir explains that Drucker – who already died years before – could lose all his assets if the revelation became public, since clones are devoid of all rights. Sympathetic with Adam’s plight, Weir gives him a memory disk (syncording) of the Drucker clone but warns him that Drucker may go after the other Adam and his family. Weir also discovers that Drucker has been engineering cloned humans with fatal diseases as an insurance policy against betrayal. Upon finding out that his own wife was one such victim, Weir confronts Drucker who then shoots him dead while promising to clone both him and his wife.
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Drucker’s agents abduct the Gibson family and Adam comes face to face with his clone. After punching the clone for sleeping with his wife, Adam teams up with his doppelgänger and the two devise a plan to destroy Drucker’s facility. While Adam wrecks the security system and gets himself captured, the clone sneaks in, plants a bomb and rescues his family. Drucker tells Adam that he himself is the clone; the other Adam is the original one. Enraged, Adam fights off Drucker’s agents and Drucker is mortally wounded. Drucker manages to clone himself before he dies but the malfunctioning equipment causes the new Drucker to be incomplete. As the cloned Adam fights his way to the rooftop, he is rescued via helicopter by the real one. Meanwhile, the new Drucker falls to his death and the facility explodes.
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Now having a more moderate view of cloning, the real Adam arranges for his clone to move to Argentina to start a satellite office of their charter business. The clone’s existence is kept a secret, especially upon discovering that his DNA has no embedded illnesses, giving him a chance at a full life. As a parting gift to the Gibson family, the clone gives them Hank’s RePet cat, Sadie. The real Adam gives the clone a flying send-off.

75785aa8a4d7471c917c7abed895f35a_compressedThe film is fast paced, while raising interesting questions about the morals of cloning. Arnies acting is as wooden as ever, but he has such screen presence this can as ever be forgiven. The special effects are good and make for a believable future.

REVIEW: DEAD LIKE ME: LIFE AFTER DEATH

 

CAST

Ellen Muth (Hannibal)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess bride)
Callum Blue (Smallville)
Jasmine Guy (The Vampire Diaries)
Sarah Wynter (The 6th Day)
Greg Kean (Black Xmas)
Britt McKillip (Trick ‘r Treat)
Christine Willes (Red Riding Hood)
Cynthia Stevenson (Tiger Eyes)
Henry Ian Cusick (Lost)

Ellen Muth in Dead Like Me: Life After Death (2009)

Dead Like Me  was a completely brilliant series which mixed funny and light alongside sadness and death with great ease. It’s influence can easily be seen in (the now also sadly ended) Pushing Daises, as the two shows have many parallels and if you enjoyed watching Pushing Daises I can’t recommend Dead Like Me enough.

Life After Death is set in 2008, five years after the end of the series and it returns us to George’s world. Letting us once again see where she is and how things have developed.



I have to deal with the single biggest issue in the film before moving on, the TV series was hugely anchored and influenced by the brilliance of Mandy Patinkin’s performance as Rube, he effortlessly controlled the scenes he was in, providing a mix of serious and comedy which grounded the entire series. Unfortunately Mandy did not reprise his role for this film, apparently Rube left having ‘got his lights’ and there’s a gaping hole where he used to be. Kane does not function to fill this hole at all and as such I found myself wishing and hoping for Rube to make an appearance. Sadly he does not and the film suffers as a consequence. T
he other major issue with Life After Death is the recasting of Daisy Adair, who was initially played brilliantly by Laura Harris. Laura was unavailable for the movie and Sarah Wynter is cast as Daisy. Sarah is reasonable as Daisy, but she doesn’t have the same presence or ‘peppiness’ that Laura brought to the role.


Now, onto the film itself. Much like the TV series the film deals with two separate and loosely interlinked stories. The first is the arrival of Kane, this new reaper who influences everyone apart from George into a life of debauchery and slacking off of duties. Honestly this story thread isn’t that strong, there’s no real urgency to it all. Everyone falls for Kane’s life very quickly, while Daisy and Mason are quite weak personalities and as such believable it was the rapid seduction of Roxy that felt strange and condensed. There’s no real explanation why Kane wanted them all to slack off, his explanation at the end is rather weak. It seems like he did it because he wanted to be evil, or something. Irregardless of his reasons I was pleased to see him shipped off into space at the end of the film.

But luckily for us there’s a much, much stronger story revolving around George, or more accurately around Reggie who finally meets Milly (George’s new persona) and discovers that Milly is George. Most of this story lets us see more of Reggie and where she’s grown to. Back in the TV series she was a strange little girl who turned dead birds into planes and hung toilet seats from trees, all forms of grieving over George’s death. She’s grown up into a rather insecure, lonely young woman and her life is turned upside down when the lad she was having a secret affair with, one Hudson Hart, is hit and ends up in a coma (instead of being reaped by George, Kane apparently messed up her times — but it’s possible that this was outside influence).

As Reggie discovers about Milly/George and the two of them spend time together we get to see the real heart of the film. George helps Reggie to stand up and go to Hudson before he passes (reaped by George) and then the pair of them talk, George helping Reggie to finally move on and start living. Finally the film ends with George being showered in post-it notes, suggesting that the “upper management” have put her in charge of ‘The Club’ now. This is where I hoped Rube would stroll back in, but no such luck.  Overall Life After Death is an enjoyable piece, it suffers somewhat in several aspects. The lack of Mandy and Laura are huge problems. I’d happily watch more Dead Like Me if this film managed to get the series returned to our screens. I’d watch it in a heartbeat. As for Life After Death, it’s a great film which can move you, but it’s held back by several shortcomings and enormously misses Mandy Patinkin.