The Invincibles was made in Germany in 1994 and is only an action film at first glance. The special forces (SEK) unit, led by Herbert Knaup, is by no means non-stop in action, but has to deal with a political scandal in which a former colleague (Hannes Jaenicke) who was believed dead is also involved.
In a year in which calibers like Speed also appeared, the stylistic difference becomes enormously clear. The Invincibles is a bulky film with complex characters, none of whom actually seem completely likeable. The problem: the complexity seems too intentional (e.g. baby scene). You also don't see "professionally" enough to buy Knaup, Heinz Hoenig and Co. for their function as an elite police unit. The dialogues sometimes seem cryptic, which may be due to the fact that they are hard to understand acoustically. Scenes like the money handover or the ski lift sequence at the end are able to entertain, but too much idling spoils the overall impression.
German cinema-goers seemed to be of the same opinion, The Invincibles flopped at the domestic box office. According to IMDb-Info (which of course should be taken with a grain of salt at times), the film was also edited in the aforementioned baby scene to avoid the “FSK 18” rating. With the Director's Cut, made for the 25th anniversary of the film by director Dominik Graf, nothing can be clarified in this respect. Scenes from an old VHS tape have been re-inserted, so the picture quality is much worse. Graf himself especially emphasizes the two long new scenes, which are very important for the movie. However, especially the first two scenes undermine the credibility of some of the members, because Hoenig's performance would have been a reason for exclusion from a special unit like the SEK which demands strict professionalism and a calm presence.
The Director's Cut of The Invincibles was released in Germany on 19 September 2019 by Concorde Home Entertainment on DVD and Blu-ray.
With five additional and one extended scene, the Director's Cut runs 543.39 or about 9 minutes 4 seconds longer than the theatrical version.
0:06:22: As everyone waits on the moment the raid starts, the DC shows in between for each SEK member excerpts from the staff meeting in which they receive their promotion.
0:12:41: A long scene in which the unit gets drunk after the failed mission. Especially Karl is upset about the unexpected reunion with Heinz who everyone believed dead. He is not taken very seriously by his colleagues. He goes into the house and continues to ponder angrily about Heinz and his supposed death. Then he pulls his knife and aims at his arm, which he misses several times seemingly playfully, but then hits it full. His colleague is worried and tries to treat him, but Karl is so drunk (like his colleague Bernd) that they still seem to have fun with the action.
0:45:57: Karl visits Melba at work. He looks at revealing art paintings on the wall and Melba says they are traded for large sums of money and that the artist is in a psychiatric hospital where he is still waiting for his military appointment despite being 68 years old.
1:30:08: Karl and Bernd go to the group headquarters and confront Gerd and Mannheimer. They could leave immediately if they don't want to stick together. He asks who is acting as an informer for the command to observe him. Gerd reveals that itís him and says that this is now over. Karl wants to send him away anyway. Mannheimer points out that Karl would be pretty alone if he sorted out anyone who had to keep an eye on him. Bernd agrees and Karl also begins to think.
1:36:01: The group members prepare themselves with suitable equipment in the armory.
2:07:35: We see Karl visiting Hannes in the hospital, who is burnt almost to death and makes a kind of confession to him. Lack of perspective and loneliness can be seen as motives. But he mumbles a lot, everything is hard to understand.