Unbreakable (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Unbreakable is Shyamalan's follow-up to his outstanding success with The Sixth Sense.

In a sense, it is a pure superhero comic yarn. Unbreakable Man vs Mr Glass. Opposites in conflict. Dr Lawless and James West, revisited.

The very breakable Mr Glass, who seems to have a clearly defined but insane program for his life, and Unbreakable Man, who is a poor schmuck wandering aimlessly and sadly through life. Very sadly. Imagine if X-Men had been directed by Ingmar Bergman.

That sense of sadness, layered with a supernatural sense of mystery, is what makes Unbreakable different from the usual super-hero tale. We know that Bruce Willis is somehow different from the rest of us. We feel that he has always known it as well, yet he doesn't understand exactly how he is different or, more important still, why. He just knows that he's a man who wakes up sad every day. He takes no pleasure from anything, keeps everyone at an emotional distance. 


there is no male of female nudity in the film proper, but Bruce Willis does a subtle bare-butt scene among the deleted scenes
To us, as we watch, the great mystery to savor is not who Willis is. We seem to understand his powers better than he does. The mystery for us is just why Mr Glass, his opposite, really cares. Oh, Glassboy (Samuel L Jackson) offers some explanations, but we and Willis can see that they are bullshit. How does this guy really fit in?

Willis plays a man who can't be injured, although he is just starting to realize the magnitude of his gift. He is in a train wreck in which the other 100+ people were killed, their bodies mangled, their bones crushed. But Willis looks like he just woke up from a nap. He doesn't have a broken bone, a chipped tooth, or even a scratch, despite the fact that his clothes and watch are destroyed. 

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 2.35:1

  • seven deleted scenes hosted by the director

  • full-length commentary, but by the composer!

  • Making-of featurette and comic book myth documentary

  • an early short film by Shyamalan

  • Willis interview

After his miraculous survival makes all the wire service reports, he finds a mysterious note on his car which asks if he has ever been sick or hurt a day in his life. Up until this point, the question has never really entered his head. He has been too self-pitying to think about this blessing that he may possess. He eventually finds out that he is extraordinary, but he still doesn't know the meaning of it all, or what to do about it. Sam Jackson plays a comic book connoisseur who discovers Willis, and tries to make him aware of his gifts. Jackson seems to believe that comic books are real. Is he crazy, or just more in touch than the rest of us with the fact that our myths are constructed from reality?

I can't say more. There is a surprise ending, although not at all an illogical one.

I was disappointed with the way they left the movie hanging. In essence, it was identical to X-Men. We know that Magneto is in prison, but he'll figure out a way to battle Professor X again. Same here. The ending changed the film from "Unbreakable Man" to "Unbreakable Man 1", a subtle but very real change that I wasn't very happy with.

On the other hand, if they make Unbreakable Man 2, I'll go to see it. I may have been pissed off that they made it a superhero origin movie and set it up for sequels, but I liked it enough to go to the sequels. Well, at least to the first one. 

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, Apollo 81.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 64% positive overall, 63% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 7.4, Apollo users 66/100. These scores are consistent with the critical consensus.
  • With their dollars ... it was a solid hit, but not the blockbuster they hoped for. It did $94 million domestic gross, on about a 3000 screen rollout. It was made with a $75 million budget.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a B-. It goes slightly beyond genre to reach out to mainstream audiences, largely because of its examination of the psychological pain of its characters. Well presented and directed, but it seems like it contains too much gravitas for what is ultimately a comic book plot. (Tuna says C+. "While Willis and Jackson, as usual, were great, I didn't find a lot to interest me in
the story"

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