Volume 96, Issue 100
Tuesday, April 8, 2003

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A Man Apart runs out of gas

Gazette file photo
I CAN BE SENSITIVE IF I TRY! Despite Vin Diesel's graceful dive into the emotional pool, his new flick falls flat on its face.

A Man Apart
Starring: Vin Diesel, Larenz Tate, Gino Silva
Directed by: F. Gary Gray

By Myles DeRosse
Gazette Staff

A Man Apart is the movie that will set Vin Diesel apart from the rest of those cheesy action stars. At least, that's what the film's promoters will have you believe.

In a weak attempt to create a compelling, serious action flick, A Man Apart takes aim and shoots itself in the head.

The movie is about two friends that hail from the streets, but are now DEA agents fighting the drug war at the Mexico/California border. After agent Sean Vetter (Diesel) deals a huge blow to the flow of drugs by putting the major drug lord, Memo (Silva), behind bars, a new player in the drug world – known only as Diablo – tries to become the new provider of drugs to the United States by taking out all of Memo's resources.

Diablo also feels the need to kill the man who caught Memo, and orders some of his underlings to kill Vetter. But things go completely haywire, and Vetter's wife ends up getting killed instead of him. This is where the movie starts, as Vetter vows to get some serious revenge on the man who took away his love.

So, where can the movie go now, you ask?

The movie has all the necessary elements for the perfect action flick: a crazy plot, a hunky leading man, lots of drugs, lots of women and even more guns. Throw in a dash of bad guy and a heap of profanity: now that's the perfect movie.

Or is it?

It seems that wasn't enough to give Diesel a breakthrough performance, so the writers added in some emotion and dramatic suspense. Diesel actually pulls this off rather convincingly, taking the opportunity to move himself to the next level of super-stardom.

But this "serious side" seems to turn the film into something it's not. Everything seems to be badly pieced together in order to make the story "flow," but it ends up having lots of holes.

From the constant jumping between different locations to having DEA agents having personal friendships with ghetto drug dealers, many aspects of the plot make very little sense.

One redeeming aspect of the film is the cinematography. The use of camera angles and colours gives some of the scenes a feeling you would expect to get from a Ridley Scott film. Unfortunately, this technique is wasted on completely unrealistic, five-minute gun fights and strip shows for dirty old men.

Although Diesel delivers a great performance, A Man Apart is definitely not the movie that will make him a respected actor. In order for a role to have that effect, the film he stars in can't be the cinematic equivalent of a heaping pile of elephant crap.

Overall, it's like putting diesel in an unleaded car: they just don't mix.


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