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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When An Eagle Soared
Vince Papale is an out-of-work substitute teacher, and part-time bartender who arrives home to find his wife has left him taking everything. The only thing left behind is a note reminding him that he is a failure, a man who will never amount to anything.

The Philadelphia Eagles are as successful as this 30 year old, Italian-American from South Philadelphia...
Published on January 29, 2007 by Edwin C. Pauzer

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better story than a movie
All the pieces are in place for this movie. The production values are surprisingly superb. The story is a tale most dream of. The problem as I see it, after watching the special features and seeing "the real" Vince Papale is Mark Wahlberg just doesn't bring the fun spark of who Vince Papale was. Mark just sort of sulks through the whole movie which brings it down quite a...
Published on August 9, 2007 by William Smith


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65 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When An Eagle Soared, January 29, 2007
By 
This review is from: Invincible (DVD)
Vince Papale is an out-of-work substitute teacher, and part-time bartender who arrives home to find his wife has left him taking everything. The only thing left behind is a note reminding him that he is a failure, a man who will never amount to anything.

The Philadelphia Eagles are as successful as this 30 year old, Italian-American from South Philadelphia whose sports career is nothing more than "tough touch" football with the boys in a vacant lot, and season tickets to watch the hometown team get their feathers plucked Sunday after Sunday. But his luck is about to change. The new head coach calls for try-outs for any fan that wants to make the team. Only one of the hundreds is selected. That one is Vince Papale.

His next challenge is overcoming the physical and verbal abuse of teammates who see him only as a publicity stunt. His support are a few friends, a father, and a new girlfriend (who is a NY Giant fan). He has nothing but his heart, and an all-out desire to make the team.

As a die-hard Giant fan, I found it hard not to cheer for the Eagles in this movie, because it wasn't about them. It was about a man's personal triumph, and his desire to overcome everything that so many said he could never accomplish. This is the kind of story anyone would love.

Mark Wahlenberg turns in a fine performance of Papale. The cast is excellent. The story is uncomplicated, and it resembles the tale of Rocky Balboa, which was released as Papale's real-life star was on the rise. It shows how a team that resented him deeply came to admire and respect their special teams captain.

In addition to a special feature of making the movie with the real deal (VP), the viewer can see the movie in three versions with narrations in two of them.

Don't miss. This is a super bowl of football movies.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely One to Have on DVD, January 21, 2007
This review is from: Invincible (DVD)
If you've seen Rocky then you know the basic story here - but the brilliance with Invincible is that it's all true. Ironically, when the real life Vince Papale was just going through his transformation in the gritty streets of Philadelphia, Rocky had just come out - and some of his teammates and opponents would tease him by calling him "Rocky".

The brilliance of getting this on DVD is that you can hear the commentary track with the real Vince Papale giving his insight into what was happening throughout this time. The strikes were pulling the heart out of the locals. Vince's wife walked out on him. The Eagles kept losing. The people of Philly struggled on with a mixture of gut determination and faith.

Yes, it's a story of Vince - 30 years old, out of work, out of a relationship, making ends meet by tending bar, getting his one shot at a dream. But it's also the story of the whole area he lives in, how they are being beaten down and they still hang in there. Vince's neighbor invites him in and feeds him pasta. His dad and gang root for him every chance they can. Little kids make up jerseys with Vince's numbers on them.

It's funny how, for a sports movie, it actually is much more about the characters. My boyfriend loves football, but I'm not nearly as enthusiastic about the sport. We both really enjoyed watching this together. The soundtrack is gorgeous. The characters are gritty and real. They're not perfect - they're human with character and heart. As much as some Disney movies can feel very sappy, this one is encouraging without going overboard. These are real heartbreaks that happened - real obstacles that were overcome.

It's fascinating looking back to what football was like in the 70s. Vince explains that the team rooms really were that tiny - that the streets in Philly are narrow, the homes restrictive. The emotions and experiences were real. Mark Whalberg does most of his own football work here and takes some massive hits. The movie ends with clips of the real Papale and his teammates, turning their team from a losing one to a group that reached the Superbowl.

Highly recommended.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All but Giants fans will root for this one, August 23, 2006
By 
H. Bala "Me Too Can Read" (Recently moved back to Carson, California, or as I call it... the center of the universe) - See all my reviews
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A few days ago, I heard the real life Vince Papale being interviewed on a sports radio talk show (710AM) and he was personable and sincere enough that I decided right then and there to go see his movie when it releases. In the interview, he spoke quite eloquently of the tough times he'd undergone, his time spent with the Eagles (3 years) and the abuse he took from his scoffing teammates, as well as his relationship with Coach Vermeil. Vince matter-of-factly stated that he was the fastest guy on the Eagles team of '76. He also mentioned Mark Wahlberg in glowing terms, of how he and Mark bonded, and how Mark spent quality time playing with Vince's kid. Like Papale, Mark grew up in a rough neighborhood, so Mark, in his portrayal of Vince, pretty much was acting from close to his roots.

It's 1976 in Philly: the spectre of the Vietnam War still hovers, the energy crisis still looms, blue collar Joes are getting laid off en masse, and everyone's hair is just horrible. And, oh yeah, the Eagles suck. Invincible is the true life story of underdog Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg), who in 1976 lost his wife and found his school-teaching jobs dwindling, and was then toiling away as a 30-year old bartender. Meanwhile, to shake things up with the going-nowhere Philly football team, new head coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) decides to hold open try-outs. Being a passionate, hard core Philadelphia Eagles fanatic and having played as a wide receiver in a minor league football team, Vince jumps at this chance - and impresses the head coach with his speed and his hard-contact hitting and, most of all, his heart. Vince somehow makes it on the Eagles roster as the oldest rookie ever (not counting kickers; but kickers don't count, anyway) without the benefit of a college football experience.

Invincible also parallels Vince Papale's struggles with Dick Vermeil's first baby steps as the coach of the Eagles. With the recent crappy history of the team, Vermeil immediately realized that something fresh was needed to lift up the spirits of the Philly fans, who absolutely expected nothing from the team that season. But, predominantly, this movie covers Papale's arduous trek starting from the against-all-odds open camp try out, thru the brutal training camp, to the regular season's opening game, where the Eagles get whacked by the powerhouse Dallas Cowboys, and, finally, to the Eagles' home opener versus the hated New York Giants, wherein Vince becomes instrumental in the Eagles winning Dick Vermeil his first game as the head coach.

This obviously is a star vehicle for Mark Wahlberg, and he brings to the table his compelling street-savvy, average guy grit and charm. He is genuine and heartfelt in this role. Gotta admit, it's been a while now since I thought of him as Marky Mark. He's proven to me, with 3 Kings, The Perfect Storm, The Italian Job, and 4 Brothers, that he's a steadily maturing actor who has some measure of talent and sensitivity. And his physicality comes in very handy in playing the rugged Papale.

Greg Kinnear, also another guy I'm starting to take serious as an actor (very good job in The Matador), capably captures Head Coach Vermeil's touchy-feely personality. Elizabeth Banks (Spider-Man 1 & 2, Seabiscuit) is nicely enthusiastic and spirited, very beautiful, and is a natural as Vince's love interest Janet. I had a blast with the sequence showing Janet clad in New York Giants wardrobe (she's a big Giants fanatic) entering the Eagles' home stadium amidst clamorous boos. Janet, who is not only sexy but is quite knowledgeable about football, is a guy's dream girl.

Invincible makes a point of never letting you forget about Vince's ordinariness and his fish out of water situation by throwing him in several scenes with his regular beer swilling buds as the film progresses. These mugs are rooting for him, yeah, but, at the same time, they want to make sure that he doesn't forget about them should he reach the big time. Meanwhile, Vince's dad is a blend of safe pessimism and hidden hope ("A man can only take so much failure"), leaving his buddy Tommy (Kirk Acevedo), his kindly bar boss Max (Michael Rispoli), and the lovely Janet to be the really steadying rocks in his life.

Ericson Core, first time director here and former cinematographer, does a great job catching the inner city "feel" of blue collar Philly with camera shots of the city's gritty, grimy streets, alleys, and dives. I bought into the realism of the movie's 1970's setting fairly easily. To watch Vince Papale jog thru the streets of Philly is to instantly think of another sports movie set in the same time, in the same city. Think boxing. The football scenes are fairly intense, with plenty of hard contact, with flesh getting pounded and bones being crunched. Just maybe there's too much slo-mo action.

In that interview, Vince Papale pretty much admitted that this movie didn't totally stay true to the facts, that some scenes were prettied up for greater audience consumption. What mattered, he said, was that Invincible did stay true to the spirit of his journey. I'm a sucker for underdog stories (coincidentally, Vince's nickname on the Eagles was Rocky), and knowing that Invincible is based on a true underdog story just whetted my appetite even more. Anyway, I just saw this film and liked it quite a bit. Still, I expect some criticisms to make the rounds centering on the film's too conventional plot and script, that maybe they're too trite and cliched. Me, I don't care. I love football, this is a football movie, and it's acted out with unaffected sincerity and great energy by the leads. Football season's just around the corner, but I figure I just got my fix in earlier.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Invincible Vince, September 16, 2006
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
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It's 1976, and the men in Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg)'s neighborhood are having a tough time. They're either laid off like him or on strike. They do still have each other, though. They love their backlot football games, meeting at the tavern, and cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles, who have also had a lot of bad luck. A new coach (Greg Kinnear) comes to the Eagles and holds an open try-out. Anyone can come down and try for a place on the team. His pals urge 30-year old Vince to go, and the rest, as they say, is history.

You don't have to be a big football fan to enjoy this movie. Yes, there is plenty of hard-hitting action, but it's also about trying your best, sticking together, and having a good heart. The cast is excellent and the script really held my interest. We get to know and care about Vince and his friends, and their gritty neighborhood seemed real. A very muddy football game filmed in slow-motion is an especially good scene. Not only is this a good story, it's a true story, with a winning combination of action and emotion.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie and awesome picture and features, January 5, 2007
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This review is from: Invincible [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Movies in high definition are the future. This one was brilliantly made anyways (without the high-definition) and you add in the HD with Blu-Ray and the extra features (documentary on the real Vince Papale) and it just enhances the experience. I saw this at the movies and had to own it. It's inspirational and teaches that you are never too old to achieve your dreams. Definite buy on Blu-Ray or regular DVD.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Year's Best, August 27, 2006
I noticed most of the bad reviews of this film consist of bashing Mark Walburg for being...well, Mark Walburg. They don't seem to focus on the fact that the story is an inspiring true story of a down on his luck working Joe, who is given an opportunity to achive his dream. How many movies are made like this in Hollywood today? Practically zero.
How is the acting? It is not the greatest I'll admit, but the story, directing, classic rock soundtrack, and cinematography more than make up for it. And the football action is awesome as well. And there is nothing offensive in the film.
This story of Vince Papale is one inspiring film and deserves to be seen by everyone. I've heard everyone compare this film to Remember the Titans. I can't do that because they are two completly different films with different feels to them. Invincible truely capture the rough times of the Ford and Carter Administrations and their failures in the economy, and the hopelessness so many felt, and an average Joe coming to inspire people. For my money, you just don't get better movies than that. Only United 93 was better this year.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, December 16, 2006
This review is from: Invincible (DVD)
There are only a few movies from time to time that I see and immediately know that I will own it. This is one of them. Yeah, there are lots of football movies out there, but this one is one of the most inspiring. Wonderful!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars That Philly Feel, September 11, 2006
By 
T. Lobascio (New Jersey United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Despite my proximity to the city of Philadelphia, my regular readers already know, I'm not a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles...Much to the dismay of my family...That said, I was still looking forward to seeing the film.

Invincible follows a typical, "inspirational sports movie" formula: down and out athlete(s) fight back incredible obstacles to be a winner on and off the field. What makes it work though are fine performances and solid direction.

In 1975--the Eagles were the laughing stock of the league...During the off season team owner, Leonard Tose (Michael Nouri) hires college football coach Dick Vermeil (Greg Kinnear) to take over. Almost immediately Vermeil announces open tryouts--an unheard of move--for the public at large. Vince Papale (Mark Wahlberg)--a 30 year-old, working class substitute teacher and part-time bartender decides to take his buddies advice and go for it. Knowing in his heart, he hasn't got a chance, he manages to make quite an impression. Ultimately making the roster and living every fan's fantasy--as a professional football player.

I am just old enough to remember this period in Eagles history. The filmmakers, led by Ericson Core, (in his directorial debut) succeed in transporting viewers back to the mid-70's. It has that feel in both the way it was shot (by Cole as well) and in the script by Brad Gann. The film wisely devotes many scenes to Vermeil's plight as a new coach, while not taking anything from the Papale story--never an easy feat.

Wahlberg gives off a good solid performance as Papale--proving once again that the artist formally known as Marky Mark--can act. Elizabeth Banks as Janet lights up the screen and boasts good chemistry with Wahlberg. Kinnear as Vermeil does good thing as well...

The film is very good at giving football fans an inside look at what training camp must be like but surprisingly spends little time on the field itself--I wish there were more of that stuff. I also wish that there were a few more scenes of Papale's interactions with players like Bill Bergey.

My late mother loved watching the Eagles play...and I could not help but think of her as I sat in the theater watching Invincible. Despite a formulaic constraint, the film rates an 8 (out of 10)...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than your typical Disney movie., August 30, 2006
You don't have to be a fan of boxing to enjoy Rocky. In the same way you don't have to be a fan of football to enjoy another film about a down-on-his-luck Philadelphai native who rises to be a star; Invincible. There are a lot of similarities between Invincible and Rocky (and that's not a bad thing considering Rocky won Best Picture), but there are two notable differences. The first is: Invincible is based on a true story. The second is: it's even better than Rocky.

Most people are familiar with the Disney formula of sports films (ie The Rookie, Remember the Titans, etc..). They always contain a certain level of quality that makes them watchable. They also always seem to contain a prerequisite level of Formula D (D is for Disney in this case) and enough sugar coating to keep them from ever being considered truly great films. Invincible makes a strong attempt to break this mold. While it may not be competely free of the Disney strings, director/cinematographer Ericson Core definately makes this film his own. His talent behind the camera gives this film a visual artistic quality instead of a by-the-numbers feel most often seen in Disney films.

To some, Invincible may seem unoriginal. With so many films being made following the same formula, it would be understandable for audiences to feel like they've "been there, done that," but you can't fault a true story for being unoriginal. We watch true stories not so much to find out what happens next, but to awe in the fact that it happened at all. Other true stories like Seabiscuit and Cinderella Man share much in common with Invincible, but their failure in telling their story as if it were fiction; where the audience doesn't know what's going to happen next. In the film Rocky, the audience doesn't know if Rocky can win the big fight, so the story plays out successfully keeping the audience compelled to watch and see if Rocky can do it. This approach doesn't work when retelling history, and Invincible realizes that fact. Everyone knows Vince Papale's is going to succeed, but what most don't know is what it took to get there, and how he succeeded.

The stars of this film are Greg Kinnear and Mark Wahlberg. Both are underrated actors, and both deliver performances that should rank up with their best. Being a fan of NFL football and also a fan of Dick Vermeil, I felt chills when Kinnear performed as the legendary coach.

In the end, I'd call Invincible a great film in Disney clothing. If you are on the fence, you won't be taking any chances by going out to see this film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I KNOW NADA ABOUT FOOTBALL, BUT THIS FILM WAS GREAT!, December 19, 2006
By 
Onie Wheeler "Harkleroade" (Wherever the Jobs Take Me) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Invincible (DVD)
I viewed this film on a flight home from Las Vegas - when I saw "Invincible" as the feature film, I was disappointed. I figured since the flight was a long one any way, I'd watch the film, never knowing how much I would love it.

It was so fantastic that I purchased the DVD.

I know not one thing about football -- and had never heard of Vince Papale, but the story's theme transcends professional football to tell a story of the power of persistence in the face of adversity.

Mark Wahlberg does a really great job portraying Papale.

The supporting cast is equally impressive.

I strongly recommend this uplifting film to any one. Even to those football challenged like me.

And it's one you can take the kids to see and still enjoy it yourself!
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Invincible [Blu-ray]
Invincible [Blu-ray] by Mark Wahlberg (Blu-ray - 2006)
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