Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: Movie #39

Unbreakable (2000)

Plot: After David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the only survivor of a horrific train accident, he is contacted by Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), a passionate comic book collector who’s inflicted with a rare disease where his bones break easily.  Price tries to convince David he may have extraordinary abilities.

It’s M. Night Shyamalan’s best movie and also his last half-way decent one.  We could go on all day about Shyamalan’s tragic downfall, but let’s stick to the awesomeness that is Unbreakable.  The brilliance of Unbreakable is that it’s both subtle and blatant in its attempts to be a superhero movie.  The blatant stuff are things like David’s name being ‘David Dunn’ or that towards the end he doesn’t wear a costume per say, but the shots of his rain poncho are definitely in your face about this guy being a superhero.  The subtle aspects are nice too.  The weightlifting scene for example never goes too far.  Yea, David lifts a ton of weight, but it’s not completely ridiculous like lifting a car or something.  The first scene is chilling.  You see a mother (Charlayne Woodward) clutching a new born baby in a department store.  You can feel something is very wrong, and that’s confirmed when the doctor comes in with a look of horror on his face.  It’s a damn good opening.  The great but also negative aspect of this movie is that the Samuel L. Jackson character Elijah Price is far more interesting than the protagonist.  The flashbacks into his character were definitely more engrossing than David’s story.  I get they wanted to make David ‘mild-mannered,’ but it was a little much.  Don’t get me wrong, I think David’s discovery of who he is and learning about what he can do is interesting, but Price or ‘Mr. Glass,’ makes the movie.  He’s like the ultimate Fanboy when he’s basically explaining how comics are comparable to history books.  And he’s so obsessed with finding out the truth about David.  The directing and the look of the film are brilliant at times.  We rarely get a normal shot.  It’s always odd angles, or something like watching a scene through the reflection of a television screen, but it works for the most part.  Probably the best directed scene is when Elijah falls down the subway stairs and his glass cane breaks.  The sound was incredible.  The movie is a bit slow at times, and there are these long unnecessary pauses.  The end does have the trademark ‘Holy Shit’ M. Night twist moment, but in this movie, it’s a pretty damn good one.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Really Great)       

Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):

Best Performance: Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price
-The hair aside, this may be the best I’ve ever seen him.  He’s so determined and driven, but with quiet intensity.  It’s very different from what Jackson usually does.  It’s like when he played Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequels, except this time it worked.

Worst Performance: Bruce Willis as David Dunn
-I think this is more the writing and directing that’s at fault.  As I said earlier, he’s just too mild-mannered.  It feels like he’s about to fall asleep at times.  Like I said, I think this is how the director wanted it, but I can’t help but think another actor could have done something more with it.

Best Line: “I think this is where we shake hands.” –Elijah Price
-Maybe it doesn’t have the resonance the first time you watch it, but every time after that it gives me chills because I know what’s coming, and it’s a great lead in.

Worst Line: “I can’t play guys.  I’m working out with my dad!” –Joseph Dunn
-There really weren’t any, so I had to dig deep, although this was rather annoying.  He shouts this to a group of kids.  No one cares you’re going to work out with your dad.  Did you really have to yell it at the top of your lungs?

Best Fight:
-The only one is really at the end with the crazy maintenance guy.  It’s actually pretty solid, especially when David’s back is smacked up against the wall and he’s putting dents in it.

WTF Moment:
-How does David not notice his son put more weights on the thing before he lifts it?  The only thing I can think of is that he sub-consciously wanted more weight on there rather than less, but seriously, he looked at the weights before lifting. 

Best Scene:
-It is indeed the end twist where you find out Elijah Price is the one responsible for all the disasters.  There are great hints throughout the movie which makes it that much more satisfying.

Worst Scene:
-When David’s at the train station finally trying to use his gifts, it’s a bit confusing.  They never really explained the whole ‘When I touch certain people, I can see the bad stuff they’ve done’ thing.  They just say its ‘good instincts.’  Eh…I don’t know.

Funniest Moment:
-I love when that guy wants to buy the rare comic art from Elijah for his four year old kid and Elijah flips out.  He just goes off on this guy.  These are the type of people who complain about a blue dot being slightly off in the latest Spiderman costume.

Bad Ass Moment:
-Going back to the weightlifting scene, when David’s son does put more weight on when his dad asked him to take some off was pretty ballsy.  He’s a little crazy though when he wants to shoot his dad later.  I know you want your dad to be a superhero, but take it easy man.


One comment

  1. Pingback: Superhero Movies on Steroids Series: THE FINAL RANKINGS « The Green Light

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