Roger Spottiswoode
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

6.0 The 6th Day
5.0 The Children of Huang Shi
5.0 Shake Hands With the Devil

Roger Spottiswoode (Canada, 1945) debuted with the horror movie Terror Train (1980).

Under Fire (1983) is a political thriller notable for taking the side of the communist Sandinista rebels who overthrew the US-supported dictator in Nicaragua.

Other than the police thriller Shoot to Kill (1988), he then directed mostly comedies: The Best of Times (1986), Turner & Hooch (1989), Air America (1990), Stop or my Mom Will Shoot (1992), Mesmer (1994).

He also directed a James Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies (1997).

The Sixth Day (2000) is a science fiction movie that levereages on the excitement generated by the first animal cloning. The plot could be intriguing (if nothing else, because of the ambiguity about what a person is and the illusion of identity) but the film is rather amateurish and the actic is third-rate.

The film takes place in the future, years after the first animal cloning. Johnny Phoenix has a sport accident and dies. Adam is a nice middleclass man with a wife and a child. Adam practices with best friend and others a videogame-style sport in the mountains. All pilots must take a blood test in a strange device. Later, his friend takes his place because Adam has to take care of his daughter: it's her birthday. The friend is therefore the one who flies the helicopter for entrepreneur Drucker. When they land, somebody kills him, thinking they killed Adam.
Adam wakes up in a strange place. On his way home, he visits the offices of the company that clones pets. Cloning humans is still illegal. When he gets back home, he finds that they are already celebrating the birthday and... he, Adam, is already with them. Adam does not have time to scream that four people stop him and kidnap him. Adam escapes driving like a maniac and two of the chasers die. Adam's car crashes in a waterfall but he survives miracoulously. At a public event, Drucker defends cloning, invented by his bright doctor, and reminds them that countless species have been saved and that humans could also be saved. Johnny is also there, alive... Adam goes to the police but they don't believe him. In the meantime at the lab the two dead bodyguards are revived by the doctor: they work for Drucker. Then the doctor injects memmory back into their eyes.
Adam loooks for help from his best friend, but he turns out to be a clone too, when he is killed by a man who, in turn, begs Adam to kill him before "they" can clone him. Using a finger cut from a clone, Adam breaks into the building/fortress where the clones are manufactured (incubated in an artificial lake), and confronts the doctor who presides over the experiment (his wife has just died and begged him not to clone her). The doctor tells him that Drucker, the owner of the company, is a clone himself but has to hide it from the public otherwise he would lose control of the company. If they found out that Adam has been cloned, they would also find out Drucker's identity, therefore they need to kill him. So it is a duel between Drucker and Adam. The doctor helps Adam by giving him Drucker's diskette, the evidence that will destroy Adam's career. In order to prevent Adam's actions, Drucker orders his security people to kidnap his wife and child. At that point Adam confronts Adam the clone, explains the odd situation and the two unite to fight the evil Drucker. Drucker demands his diskette in exchange for Adam's family. Adam accepts but is prepared for Drucker's cheating. While Adam the clone takes his family to asfety, the real Adam wreaks havoc inside the building. Finally, Drucker gets hold of Adam and proves to him that he, Adam, is also a clone: when he woke up, he had just been injected with Adam's memory. They thought they had killed Adam and they had built him to replace him. It turned out that Adam was still alive, and happily celebrating his daughter's birthday, and they tried to kill the clone built by mistake: him. So Adam is Adam the clone and viceversa. In spite of the terrible revelation, Adam continues his fight and prevails. Drucker, mortally wounded, can only try to clone himself but Adam is bringing down the facility and Drucker's new clone does not complete in time. The new, but incomplete, Drucker clone does not realize how ugly he looks and goes coldly about taking the dying Drucker's clothes. Adam confronts the new Drucker, who offers him a partnership and eternity, and modestly claims to have simply taken over from God. Adam shows him in the mirror how horrible he looks, but, before he can enjoy the despair he caused, Adam is attacked by the security men (all clones, of course). After a lengthy shootout, the new Drucker dies and the building is destroyed, thereby ending the age of cloning. The real Adam can return to his family while the clone disappears.

Then came: Shake Hands With the Devil (2007), The Children of Huang Shi (2008), Spinning Boris (2003), Ripley Under Ground (2005), Shake Hands with the Devil (2007), A Street Cat Named Bob (2016), and Either Side of Midnight (2021).

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