Invincible (2001)- * *
Directed by: Jefery Levy
Starring: Billy Zane, Stacy Oversier, David Field, Dominic Purcell, Tory Kittles, and Byron Mann
There are immortal beings called Shadow Men and they want to destroy the earth. One formerly-evil Shadow Man defects and becomes a good guy intent on preserving the world. His name is Os (Zane). His main rival is Slate (Field), and in order to defeat him, Os assembles a team of four warriors: Michael Fu (Mann), Serena Blue (Oversier), Ray Jackson (Kittles), and Keith Grady (Purcell). Over the course of a lot of training, Os takes these unwitting people and transforms them into "Protectors" - they represent the powers of Air, Fire, Water, and Steel. Of course, the final battle with Slate awaits, and we will then see who is truly INVINCIBLE...
When the first credit you see on screen when you start watching Invincible is "TBS SuperStation Presents", you kind of get an idea of what you're in for. Coming hot on the heels of the Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter films, but before video game movies such as The King of Fighters (2010), Invincible seemingly takes those influences and melds them with The Matrix (1999) - a TBS SuperStation Matrix.
When certain characters wear long trench coats, have sunglasses, and are doing anti-gravity Martial Arts up and down walls, you can imagine a kid sitting at home on Saturday afternoon, who is too young to go see The Matrix in theaters, so he watches Invincible instead. Sure, it's not as good, but it's there. And it's free.
There is a lot of that Chinese-style Martial Arts on display, where characters are always flying around and doing crazy stuff. But, as usual, Billy Zane is the best thing here, and he anchors it all with his personable performance. As a sort of cross between Neo and Captain Planet, he is the leader of the group and also has some humor that makes him a bit more relatable and not just a cardboard cutout.
Some of Invincible is incoherent, but we always enjoy a good "assemble a team" subplot. After the 45-minute mark, things start to slow down and it kind of falls off before the final battle. There is some philosophy going on in the film, but it's also from the makers of Red Water (2003). So, make of that what you will.
Let's put it this way: for a TBS TV movie from 2001, Invincible is just barely watchable most of the time. Unfortunately, it dispenses with character development, coherent plotting, or any songs by Pat Benatar. That being said, Zane is good in the film, so if you're a big Zane fan, check it out, but everyone else may be less than impressed.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty