A Man Apart

A Man Apart is the latest movie that is trying to establish Vin Diesel as the next great action star. Instead of getting there because he actually is a great action star, studios are trying to mold him into what they think the public wants in one. To put it simply, if Diesel (XXX, Knockaround Guys) wants to be a big star, this is not the kind of movie he should be making. Every movie requires a story. Action movies can get away with somewhat inferior plots, because people are there to see things go kaboom. At the extreme end of this is A Man Apart, which begins with a plot that makes sense and is even fairly interesting, but becomes nonsensical and ridiculous by the time the credits roll.

Diesel is Sean Vetter, a star DEA Agent. Vetter and his team are hugely successful, mainly because of their background. They grew up on the streets in gangs. So somehow this gives them an edge when they hunt down drug traffickers. The beginning of the film has them in Mexico arresting drug lord Memo Lucero (Geno Silva, Mulholland Dr., Amistad). Lucero's arrest brings a vicious feeding frenzy to see who the next big cartel leader will be. Somebody named El Diablo is trying to kill his way to the top of the food chain, and Vetter believes that by getting Diablo, he can stop things before they start. Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring (36K) kick things into high gear when somebody arrives at night to assassinate Vetter, but instead kills his wife Stacy (Jacqueline Obradors, Tortilla Soup, Atlantis).

Stacy was everything to Vetter, and director F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator, Set It Off) insisted on showing gooey scenes of them in love to shove this down the audience's collective throat. Well, Stacy's death means that Vetter goes psycho. Capturing Diablo is personal now, and his actions become increasingly erratic. He is uncontrollable, and his partner Demetrius (Larenz Tate, Biker Boyz, Love Come Down) is beginning to doubt his intentions. It is crucial in this story that people identify with the characters in this film. However, the conclusion calls into question the intentions and motivations of a certain person, in that they make no sense whatsoever.

The Vetter role requires Diesel to act with a little more subtlety than he usually does. The problem is that he has two settings, High and Super-High. He does not come across as believable when the script requires him to turn down the volume and start acting. Watching him handle emotions like grief becomes pretty amusing. Even worse is his voice-over narration, which sounds like he is reading. Resultingly, A Man Apart feels cobbled together, as if Gudegast and Scheuring had some ideas for what they thought would be cool action sequences, and haphazardly strung a shell of a plot to connect the dots.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 49 minutes, Rated R for strong graphic violence, language, drug content, and sexuality.

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