Stars:  Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson

M. Night Shyamalan’s follow-up to last year’s wonderful The Sixth Sense is a bit of a dud. Unbreakable has the same spooky quality about it but it lacks the clarity and drive to put it on equal footing with his previous success.

Bruce Willis again stars as the man with a problem. Here, he’s David Dunn, a security guard at the University of Pennsylvania stadium who inexplicably is the only survivor of a train derailment. Presented in direct contrast to Dunn, is a man named Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) who suffers from a rare genetic disorder that leaves him with bones so brittle that he breaks like glass. Price, who owns a gallery specializing in comic book art, becomes intrigued by Dunn’s good fortune and he offers a theory that explains how the two of them can be at such opposite ends of the spectrum: one breakable and another seemingly impervious to illness and death.

Dunn faces problems in his personal life: an unhappy marriage to wife Audrey (Robin Wright Penn) that’s resulting in his planned move to New York away from her and young son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark). But, it’s through Price, that Dunn comes to discover the truth about himself and his physical abilities.

The problem with the film is that it lacks energy from the get go. Willis and his family co-stars all seem to be moving and talking in slow motion – like sleepwalkers and the characters are very well developed. So it’s a little hard to care about any of them. Willis is especially comatose. What keeps you interested is trying to figure out what Jackson’s character and his comic books have to do with anything. Slowly, the theory he’s presented comes to life and Dunn does indeed fulfill his destiny.

It’s an interesting concept but the twist at the end is not exactly awe-inspiring, particularly when the director has to conclude the film with onscreen graphics explaining what’s happened to the characters.

Lotta says Unbreakable is interesting but just too pokey with a poorly developed lead character to make it really standout.

Reviewed 12/6/00