Directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
Written by M. Night Shyamalan.
Starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.
Release Year: 2000
Review Date: 11/23/00
Happy Thanksgiving! One of the annual
traditions of my family Thanksgiving is to go see a movie after
eating our big meal. (Usually, it is after the big meal AND the
Thanksgiving nap, but I didn't take one of those this year.) This
year, with the options being "The Rugrats Go to Paris", "102
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Unbreakable", we
chose the latter since the other ones were all, ahem, *family*
films. We like our entertainment a little more highbrow!
One of the other traditions of our family is
to start yelling out "sell out" whenever we don't like what we are
seeing and start berating the actors and actresses for making a
movie so bad. In particular, Dave Bell is quite good at making note
of sell outs at the perfect opportunity. For example, when we went
to see the awful "Batman and Robin" in 1997, Dave called Arnold
Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Vivica A. Fox,
Coolio, Alicia Silverstone and Uma Thurman sell outs during the
course of the film and the 30-minute drive that I had to endure with
him afterwards, because he was so angry at all of the big stars that
clearly took the paycheck over a decent script and wasted all of
their God-given talent.
Today, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson
were the victims of my brother's wrath as we sat through the 60th
movie I have seen this year (!), the very middle-of-the-road
thriller "Unbreakable," from the writer-director of last year's best
picture nominee "The Sixth Sense." Since you probably have no idea
what this movie is about--since the previews for this film have left
the details to a minimum--let me fill you in. David Dunn (Willis)
opens the film as the sole survivor of a train wreck that has left
130 other people dead just outside of Philadelphia (strangely, the
site of "The Sixth Sense"). What is strange is that he has no
recollection of the accident itself and it seems he has not one
bruise or scratch to show for it. What is even more peculiar is
that no one beyond a comic book collector named Elijah Price
(Jackson) seems to really care about that fact and Price goes out of
his way to find out more about Dunn's ability to escape death. The
rest of the movie is spent trying to decipher what this strange
power Dunn possesses really is, where it came from and how it could
be of greater use.
To tell you more would give away more
details...and yes, it does have a bit of a surprise ending. But
here is what is weird: I just didn't care! The buildup to that
point is not very interesting, and a lot of that has to do with
Willis. I really believe that Willis has picked some great films
over the years and I am guessing that Willis only did this film
because he felt he owed M. Night Shyamalan, the writer-director of
"The Sixth Sense." That being said, Willis is not very good in this
movie at all, but I can't really place my finger on why. A large
part of it must lay on the fact that his David Dunn is, by nature, a
quiet, noble type, not the chatterbox that some of his past
characters--most notably, John Mclaine from the "Die Hard"
series--so there are large, long sections of quiet, and the bursts
of conversations that occur every so often are full of lame dialogue
and meaningless banter.
I know what it is: the movie just has no
*soul.* Remember how you felt for Willis' character in "The Sixth
Sense" when you find out his, umm, secret? That moment never
happens in "Unbreakable." There is a fatal fight near the end of
this one and you find yourself not really caring who wins it!
Jackson's Elijah Price has a disease that makes his bones very
fragile, so fragile that he has suffered through more than 50 broken
bones in his 40 years on the earth...but, I never really felt all
that sorry for him. Robin Wright Penn stars as Willis' wife in
"Unbreakable", and I never really felt a connection with her
And all of this gets tied back to the
ending, which leaves you with a few more questions than answers.
And, unlike "The Sixth Sense", you won't want to go back to watch
the movie again to find out what you missed. You didn't miss
anything, but might wish (like my mom and brother did) that you
missed this movie altogether.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard