It’s time to look at a superhero film that doesn’t involve good ole DC or Marvel. Naturally, that can be a little dicey at times since we don’t have the tried and true Stan Lee to ensure that character development goes well. Unfortunately, my fears were realized as the film quickly crashed once the superhero element began. Seriously, the film was good for over 60% of its run time, but then everything went downhill from there!
David works as a security guard and he’s pretty good at his job. One day, he is approached by Elijah, a man who claims that David may have the uncanny ability of being unbreakable. David cannot get sick and Elijah is on the opposite end of the spectrum as his bones break at the slightest touch. David is intrigued, but he doesn’t know what to do about all this. Ah well, he has about an hour-90 minutes to decide where he goes from here.
All right, here’s why the superhero part failed. The film decided to go for grit and darkness instead of actually providing us with a real threat. David can see the past, which is one of the worst powers that you can think of since he will know that things have happened to people, but he can’t stop them. Conveniently, he sees a problem that he can still help with, but the damage has been done and that’s why the film sunk. The film showed us a bunch of grim happenings that happened to the characters around the lead and there’s no need for it. Assault, Rape, Murder, you basically see all of that and the main character can’t do anything about this. As far as I am concerned, that destroyed any chance that the film had of being even somewhat decent.
David attacks the murderer and defeats him, but the film didn’t need to show us the other situations. If they had to display his ability to see the past, they should have just showed us people stealing jewels or robbing a hot dog stand. Minor crimes would give us the same image without just being dark to be dark. It’s a lesson that more films could definitely learn if they want to succeed the way that Bonds Beyond Time did.
The final fight is actually pretty humorous because of how it happens. Let’s just say that it’s hard to know what the director was going for here. David has been shown to be able to bench press over 350 pounds so we know that he has some degree of super strength. And yet…he can barely take out the average thug. He gets the guy into a choke hold and then they wrestle for an awkward 5-10 minutes. The guy simply won’t go down and David looks extremely unimpressive. Naturally, David decides not to take any prisoners so he pulls a Man of Steel on us. Yeah, this guy’s going to end up being more like the Punisher than a real hero at this rate. He also lost round 1 when he was simply pushed into a pool.
Again, every bit of the superhero part of this film was pretty bad, but it was actually good before that. Elijah’s backstory was pretty sad, but we got to see him make it through that in one piece and own an art gallery. He was pretty unreasonable, but the scene of him defending comics as actual art was pretty funny. Elijah was a decent character for a while. The ending makes him very unlikable of course and the way that he trashed the comic store was completely uncalled for. So, he had his moments in the film, but he could have been better. Considering his condition, he shouldn’t be much of a threat to David.
As for David, I guess he’s a decent character although he’s rather slow on the uptake at times. He just spends a lot of time dragging things out and being rather indecisive. I find it hard to believe that he simply forgot about his past. You don’t really forget events like that and how has he never realized that he had super strength? A bit of a stretch in those areas, but he tries to be a nice guy. The main outlier is the opening scene where David decides to flirt and hides his wedding band. That made him pretty despicable. For most of the film, he’s certainly not a bad character, but you can’t easily forget such a scene. David gets some development later on, which possibly counteracts the scene. Hopefuly..he just needs to work on improving himself a bit. That shouldn’t be a problem. Once he is used to being a hero, maybe he’ll remember that you have to be heroic and take the villains to the authorities to qualify.
David’s kid is a pretty annoying character I’m afraid and he shows why kids should never be main or supporting characters in any films. His decision to shoot David to prove that he was a superhero is pretty crazy and he should know that with great super strength doesn’t always come great durability. The kid certainly hasn’t been keeping up with the comics even though he owns some action figures. There was an odd romance going on between David and the heroine, but it didn’t have a place in the film and it makes you wonder what the point of it all was. They are already married so that subplot could have just been terminated before it even began.
The film isn’t great with pacing. There are many points in the film where it is clearly stalling to inflate the run time. This film could have easily happened in closer to 70 minutes as we have almost half an hour of fluff. David just thinking or other characters standing still and waiting to be blown away. The film needed to move a little quicker and show us that there was still a point to all of this. The problem is that there isn’t much to the plot if they played it straight. It was a little convenient how the characters found out about David’s weakness and it would have been more natural if they hadn’t found out until he fell in the pool. It would have been a big “Connect the dots” moment and more of a shocker that way. Not really a negative though, just a different path that it could have taken.
Overall, Unbreakable is a classic example of what happens to a film without an end goal in mind. Once David became a superhero, the film fell apart very quickly. If it had just stuck to being a suspense thriller, it really could have gone far. As it stands, you are better off checking out Man of Steel or the Avengers. Those superhero films are always ready for action and they will inspire you to see other superhero films while this one can just make you avoid them. I can’t say that I would hold out much hope for a sequel being good, but you never know. Either way, the next time you want something that is unbreakable, I recommend buying some Jaw Breakers! (Disclaimer, those candies are choking hazards and are as tough to chew as they are delicious to eat)