A Man Apart

on April 04, 2003 by Michael Tunison
Will the name of fast-rising star Vin Diesel (“XXX”) be enough to strong-arm audiences into seeing “A Man Apart”? Those behind the film better hope so, because this routine cop shoot-'em-up has precious little else going for it. Numbingly straightforward in the manner of lesser Steven Seagal flicks, director F. Gary Gray's revenge tale opens with dogged DEA agent Sean Vetter (Diesel) and his loyal partner (Larenz Tate from “Why Do Fools Fall in Love”) participating in a raid to nab a notorious drug lord (“Amistad's” Geno Silva) in Tijuana. Unfortunately, Vetter is identified by the bad guys, who promptly rub out his beloved wife (Jacqueline Obradors from TV's “NYPD Blue”) in retribution. Naturally, this only spurs the grim hero on to take apart the criminal organization piece by bloody piece. While Diesel's intense, streetwise persona makes him a refreshingly different kind of he-man screen protagonist, “A Man Apart's” cliché-ridden script provides little meat for him on the dramatic front. Moments such as Vetter giving a crook the Russian roulette “talk or else” treatment are straight out of the Hard-Boiled Cop Movie 101 workbook, and no amount of gangsta-rap street lingo can cover up the formulaic predictability of the storyline. Action-wise, Gray (“Set It Off”) records the proceedings in a jaggedly edited shaky-camera style that makes it all but impossible to follow who's doing what to whom--all we know for sure is that there's enough ammo going off to wage a small war. Diesel grits his teeth and slogs through it all, sometimes even emoting for a beat or two, but the only one who seems to be having any real fun is “Dreamcatcher's” Timothy Olyphant, who gives a deliriously over-the-top turn as a fashion-victim Beverly Hills scumbag tied into the druggies' schemes. Starring Vin Diesel, Larenz Tate, Timothy Olyphant, Geno Silva and Jacqueline Obradors. Directed by F. Gary Gray. Written by Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring. Produced by Tucker Tooley, Vincent Newman, Joseph Nittolo and Vin Diesel. A New Line release. Action. Rated R for strong graphic violence, language, drug content and sexuality. Running time: 109 min
Tags: police, corruption, revenge, drug lord, murder, DEA, Vin Diesel, Geno Silva, Jacqueline Obradors, Timothy Olyphant, Larenz Tate, F. Gary Gray

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