Before the shock announcement from Bruce Willis in recent days that he’s retiring from acting following his diagnosis with a condition called aphasia, the bankable action star had made a slew of memorable films over the course of his career. Many of which hold up well over time and lend themselves to multiple re-watches (for me, The Fifth Element is at the top of that list).
Even though over the last couple of years he’s also starred in a ton of forgettable direct-to-video — or to this or that streamer — titles (which has led, by the way, to questions about whether or not he’s been exploited in recent years, in light of his diagnosis), that doesn’t take away from the high points of his career. This includes films like the 2000 sci-fi classic Unbreakable, from director M. Night Shyamalan and starring Willis along with Samuel L. Jackson. And which just hit Amazon Prime Video.
Bruce Willis classic on Amazon Prime Video
In this film, as the official description from Amazon Prime Video reminds us, Willis plays “an average guy who learns he has an exceptional ability after being the lone survivor in a massive train wreck.”
Hard to believe this one came out a whopping 22 years ago. Nevertheless, that part I was saying about lots of Willis classics holding up well over time? Check out Unbreakable’s Rotten Tomatoes ratings that have stayed relatively high. On the critics’ side, for example, the film has a not-too-shabby 70 percent, based on 173 reviews. And thanks to more than 250,000 user ratings, this Bruce Willis gem has a 77 percent audience score on the review aggregation site.
“I guess I’m the first to review this movie since the terrible news about Bruce Willis,” one Rotten Tomatoes reviewer wrote just a few days ago. “So I dug into my Bruce collection of dvd’s and this was the movie I chose to watch. Been awhile since I watched this. If anything, it’s better than I remember.”
The review continues, by noting the consensus about a supposed “weak” ending. “I couldn’t disagree more … I was blown away by it.”
Retirement from acting
The “terrible news” that reviewer is referring to, of course, is the health condition Willis disclosed. Adding that, because it affects a person’s cognitive ability, it would preclude him from acting work going forward.
This is probably why he worked like a maniac over the last couple of years, producing something like nearly two dozen films to capitalize on what time he thought he had left.
This piece in recent days from The Los Angeles Times takes a deep dive into the situation surrounding the actor. Who knew what, when, and the whispers among some people Willis worked with that something hadn’t been right with him for at least a few years now. But the films kept getting made, and checks kept getting cashed.