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MPAA Rating: PG-13 (For Some Action Violence)
Running Time: 91 minutes
Starring: Billy Zane, Byron Mann
Teleplay by: Michael Brandt
& Derek Haas and Jefery Levy
Directed by: Jefery Levy
Retail Price: $29.99
Specs: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (20 Scenes)
Released: April 15th, 2003
In this powerhouse wonder of a martial arts film, we meet Os (Billy Zane), who was once part of a group called the "Shadowmen" - a seemingly evil cult out to destroy the world. Now Os fights against them because he was shown a light - a seemingly magical light since he is no longer immortal. Now Os trains others (i.e. people who suck at martial arts in the vein of bad kiddie sports teams) to fight the Shadowmen, particularly the leader and former Os Confidant, a man by the name of Slate (Byron Mann). Sure you probably know what happens, but the question is, do you really want to know?
"Invincible" was a made for television movie, and probably thanks to some distribution agreement, it's now on our favorite video format. I believe this movie aired on TBS in the States. I really don't watch TV movies, but I do hear about the more noteable ones quite often. I'm pretty sure "Invincible" wasn't noteable at all. Having to sit down and watch this to review, I was barely impressed by anything in this movie. The problem? Despite some moments of comic reflief, the film is really absurd and takes itself way too seriously.
The plot is ridiculous and is really nothing new. Where else have we seen a man redeem himself only to fight back his old cohorts once he has learned the virtues of peace and love? And then there's all this annoying fantasy elements that I just really didn't care for, as if it was filler to spruce up the story. The script is downright cheesy, with laughable dialogue and "blah" type of characters. The special effects are decent at best. No, you won't find anything new here visually. Most of the stuff here looks pretty generic, but I will admit that now and then there's something somewhat interesting to look at. Again, it's nothing new but at least it looks seamless. As far as the action and martial arts, there's nothing intense and simply feels like "Old Hat." Surely this is not "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" but of course you weren't expecting that.
I hated Jefery Levy's directing style. It was very grating and very annoying. Shot almost like a flashy music video that makes no sense, it doesn't help cover up the bad story (not by a long shot) and just attempts to make the movie look cool, as if this was "The Matrix" or something of that caliber. There's a lot of quick cuts, pointless fades, WAY too much slow motion (don't get me started on that!) and sped-up camera shots. The production design looks pretty corny too. Do we really need smoke during fights to make the violence look like art? Of course not. The sets themselves looks pretty damn fake. As cruel as this sounds, I'm sure I could have shot some of this movie in my garage.
To be fair, this is a television movie and I'm sure the budget was not eighty million dollars or anything. It's not a grand Hollywood production, but I was maybe hoping that there were other ways for the filmmakers to improvise instead of blowing money on overdone effects and visuals. The acting is pretty atrocious too. Either it's overdone or it's stiff. It seems that the lead, Billy Zane, is only worth watching. Zane is quite the talented actor and it really makes me wonder why he did this (needed the money, I suppose?). He's not stiff and he doesn't overdo it. I liked the front and attitude he put on within the film. He's very talented, but sad to say, he couldn't save this wreck.
If you want a movie you and your friends can just laugh at pumped in with some rather generic action, then "Invincible" will serve you well. For the rest, you can all pass.
Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, this is probably the best and only good part of this DVD. Some scenes look downright grainy, underdeveloped and really fuzzy. The movie appears to use a lot of filters, and as a result, things look a bit too contrasted at times. On average though, the film does look pretty sharp and can be pretty inconsistent in its visual tone. One portion will look sharp and the next will look rather grainy. The print is pretty clean, except for a scratch or mark here and there. I didn't notice any edge enhancment, while fleshtones look pretty decent and colors are often well saturated. Detail and black levels are good too, but expect edge halos (ugh) and some noise. The image can be pretty annoying at times... just like the movie.
"Invincible" has a English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but I couldn't really tell it was a 5.1 mix (never a good sign). Given all the violence and action this movie has, I'd figure it'd be much more engaging. It barely is. Surround use is sorely lacking, and that's a shame. Most of the surrounds are confined to tiny effects that don't sound discrete at all and barely add up to much. The music fills the channels a bit, but you never really feel encompassed within that. The sound effects aren't too powerful and the subwoofer isn't put to strong use at all. It all sounds very bland and very straightforward - there's no "oomph" in this mix at all. Not making makes it stand out ADR is pretty lousy too (especially when then words of the characters don't match the mouths). Basically, don't get your hopes up for this 5.1 mix. Also included are Dolby Surround tracks in English and Spanish, plus English closed captions and English subtitles.
Nothing at all!
I have no idea who is going to buy this DVD - maybe there will be some luck to be had for Disney when someone purchases it on a whim when they see that Mel Gibson or Jet Li executive produced it. This is a pretty horrendous made for television movie. There are no extras, the sound mix is pretty lacking, and the transfer, while far from awful, really is nothing to write home about. And for $29.99 as the retail price... what were they thinking!? Avoid at all costs.