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Category:    Home > Reviews > Thriller > Superhero > Comic Books > Unbreakable (2000/Blu-ray)

Unbreakable (2000/Blu-ray)


Picture: A-     Sound: B+     Extras: C-     Film: C-



Before the bottom fell out, many were expecting great things from M. Night Shyamalan.  After the laughable The Sixth Sense was taken serious by enough people to make it a crazy megahit, there was a stir for a time that he was a filmmaker who might offer something different.  Now that we have seen that promise collapse, looking back at his most interesting failure offers new insight into how the director and audience passed each other up, maybe for good.


Sure, he had hits after Unbreakable, but this was the one film that did not do well, then started to build a following.  Bruce Willis is a divorced security guard who is hounded by a comic book collector (Samuel L. Jackson, reuniting after the success of Die Hard With A Vengeance, reviewed elsewhere on this site in Blu-ray) who seems to know more about him than he should.  This unravels, very, very slowly (to its credit, to some extent) as a darker truth is about to be revealed.


Unfortunately, it never adds up and appeals strictly to a certain kind of “serious” comic book fan (not all of them either) that believes there is only one serious interpretation of the Superhero genre and that in itself is simply false.  That is why more people laughed this off the screen than Sixth Sense, despite good performances by the leads and the likes of Robin Wright Penn.  In that, Shyamalan’s screenplay is very narrow and his future work would be less imaginative and self-indulgent to the point that Lady In The Water (reviewed on HD-DVD elsewhere on this site) rightly tanked despite a great lead in Paul Giamatti.


Eight years later, the genre has exploded into the most profitable of commercial filmmaking, yet Disney and Shyamalan have not even begun a sequel.  It goes to show you that if you are going to feign being smarter than the rest of the audience, you’d better be able to back it up.  Otherwise, you get all smoke and mirrors, with little substance.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image may be stylized to be a little dark, but Director of Photography Eduardo Serra, A.F.C., takes advantage of the scope frame making this more interesting visually and the clarity here is impressive thanks to being shot in real anamorphic Panavision.  The sound on this film has been a favorite of many people since its release because of character more than fidelity, but even in DTS DVD, I was not as impressed.  There is a lame Dolby Digital 5.1 version here in several languages, but the PCM 24/48 5.1 mix is much better than the DTS and really shows how good this soundtrack can be; the best soundtrack we are likely to ever hear on a Shyamalan film.


Extras include deleted scenes with the director, Night’s First Fight Sequence, The Train-Station Sequence: Multi-Angle Feature, Behind The Scenes with Bruce Willis and Comic Book & Superheroes – exclusive with Samuel L. Jackson.  That should keep fans happy until a sequel, if one ever happens.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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