Starring: Arnold Schwarzengger, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Rapaport, Michael Rooker, Robert Duvall, Wendy Crewson, Terry Crews
Directed By: Roger Spottiswoode
Plot: Set in 17th century England, an aristocratic young woman (Schwarzenegger) finds true love in the form of a poor farm hand. But how will they raise a family? Just kidding. It’s a movie about cloning, and Schwarzenegger trying to get his life back after finding a clone of himself in his house.
What Works: Schwarzenegger is somewhat charming, in that late-90’s way where he started to take himself less seriously and add a bit of humor into his acting. Kinda like True Lies, but shittier. Somehow, Robert Duvall was convinced to do this, and he’s really good in his supporting role. I always appreciate the work Michael Rooker puts into being a bad guy, so that was nice too. There are some cool concepts here, and imagination was definitely used while creating the script. It’s a shame it wasn’t executed better.
What Doesn’t Work: I probably shouldn’t have seen this film again. I had a somewhat positive image of this film in my mind, which was destroyed by watching the film again. The special effects look awful in this film, which I can’t excuse because I’ve recently seen Judge Dredd, which is about six years older than this, and it looked fantastic still. They used cheap effects and cut corners, and it shows. I might have remembered the ending, but I also saw it coming a mile away this time. It was very heavy handed and poorly edited. I can’t remember if I saw it coming the first time, but I hope I did, because the obviousness of the ending shouldn’t shock a kindergartner. I don’t think there’s any bad acting, necessarily, just a lot of mediocre performances. It’s not my favorite Schwarzenegger performance but its not his worst either.
Final Word: Having seen this film a second time, I was further exposed to a rather terrible script, accompanied by lazy direction, and cheap visual effects. If you had asked me to grade this film before my second viewing, my memory of a 15 year old film might have said B/B-, as I remember kind of enjoying it. I can no longer give that kind of a grade, however this film is still somewhat watchable due to a somewhat entertaining Schwarzenegger, Duvall, and a few interesting ideas. I wouldn’t recommend it, but there are definitely much worse films out there. Interestingly, this film killed the career of director Roger Spottiswoode, who has never been handed a major film budget since. He’s done some STV/indie stuff, but nothing at the level of Turner and Hooch, Air America, or Tomorrow Never Dies that he was responsible for before he met Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Final Grade: C-