A Man Apart (2003)
Main cast: Vin Diesel (Sean Vetter), Larenz Tate (Demetrius Hicks), Timothy Olyphant (Jack Slayton), Jacqueline Obradors (Stacey Vetter), Geno Silva (Meno Lucero), Steve Eastin (Ty Frost), Juan Fernández (Mateo Santos)
Director: F Gary Gray
Sean Vetter, a DEA agent, has finally succeeded in putting away drug lord Memo Lucero after seven years of hard work. Unfortunately, Meno's absence only allows an upstart named Jack Slayton to take over the drug business. When Sean's wife is killed in your obligatory "Let's make love - ow, watch out, bullets, oh, they killed my wifey, AAAARGH *Hulk impersonation here* HUAAARGH!" scene, he and his partner Larenz begin breaking the rules to get revenge. And justice. Or both. Whatever.
A Man Apart is a simple bang-bang kill-everybody movie that is 100% dick-flick friendly, but it is actually dull. Forget adrenaline-rush, this movie will more likely induce serotonin-rush instead. Part of the reason, I think, is also the reason why a Vin Diesel movie will never work unless the movie also has (a) Paul Walker, (b) fast cars, (c) big missiles, (d) kickass babes, (e) all of the above, or (f) as little Vin Diesel as possible. There is not enough gratuitous violence. Unfortunately, the drama that makes up most of the movie isn't compelling. Let's face it, Vin Diesel isn't a very good character actor. His character is Vin Diesel. He needs Paul Walker lovingly draped around his shoulders to make the whole Vin Diesel Action Man Doll thing work.
The biggest flaw of this movie is how it sabotages itself in its last twenty or so minutes. Sean is a monster throughout the movie, beating up people just because he knows they are evil, damn the evidence, to a point that a man actually dies in his hands because he goes too far. At this point, A Man Apart has turned into one of those monster-as-hero noir movies. But the movie tries to redeem him in such a pathetically inept way that it only sends the wrong message: American DEAs can shoot, beat, and kill anybody they suspect to be bad because American Justice is all that counts in the end. Sean Vetter is the last person one would hope to represent this so-called American Justice.
Vin, please call Paul Walker and suggest another collaboration soon. Let's see how 2 Fast 2 Furious fare - it will be poetic justice if Paul Walker moves over and conquers the action niche Vin Diesel scoffs at and Diesel ends up having to play second fiddle in 4 Faster 4 Furiouser. Or maybe both's career will tank and they will have to star in a nudie flick together. Either way, everybody in the audience wins!
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