MAN APART, A
One night in Tijuana, working with Mexican special forces, old street friends and now undercover US DEA agents Sean Vetter (Vin Diesel) and Demetrius Hicks (Larenz Tate), capture Merno Lucero (Geno Silva), the Mr Big of Mexico’s enormous drug trade. Not long before a vicious new player moves to take over from Lucero, known only as Diablo. And not long before Vetter’s wife Stacy (Jacqueline Obradors) is killed in an attempt on Vetter’s life, turning things personal for Vetter. The emotional Vetter, stripped of his badge after a nasty incident, is determined to revenge his wife’s killers as well as to stop the drug baron’s evil trade.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Although the plot and its elements are largely derivative and familiar from dozens of films, A Man Apart makes a solid effort at presenting its machismo story with new trimmings and a dynamic stretch for street cred. So much so that it will doubtless appeal to both the real and the wanna be tough guys who like to swagger a lot, especially the younger ones. But the faux-doco style hand held camera, the underlit cinematography, the sometimes hard-to-understand dialogue and the blender school of editing also serve to distance us from the characters and the action. Vin Diesel* makes a reasonably good fist of the emotionally broken man (helped by props like cigarettes and drink to show his decline after the death of his wife) and is most reliable in the action scenes. Larenz Tate is even better, in a rather thankless role as his long time buddy. We travel extensively in and out of colourful Mexico, in and out of colour-filled Los Angeles, in and out of strip joints and night clubs, in and out of cars, and Vetter’s beachside house, mostly at a fast and furious pace. Predictable it may be, but it’s a police action thriller from a long line of genre films that Hollywood has refined and streamlined as ‘product’ over the years. You know what you’re getting: it's a Vin Vin situation.
* On the production notes for A Man Apart, Vin Diesel’s biography doesn’t mention his notable lead role in The Fast and The Furious – coincidentally, A Man Apart opens in Australia a week after 2 Fast 2 Furious, which he declined (some speculate that it was because the money wasn’t enough).
Review by Louise Keller:
Vin Diesel is still the man and he easily carries this buddy cop actioner set among the Mexican drug lords in exotic locations that are filled with atmosphere. With its big stunts and an engrossing plot that offers plenty of tension and surprises, A Man Apart may not charter unknown territory, but it offers good escapist entertainment – especially for its target market. Surprisingly, perhaps, the characters are interesting and well written, starting with Diesel’s complex loving husband come hyperactive cop with attitude who is way out of control. There are no questions about his star quality or charisma, and we are immediately rooting for him from the moment we hear his instantly recognisable gravelly tones. After the opening raid and capture of the drug lord Memo Lucero, we get a taste of who Vetter really is and what is important in his life. The mood is relaxed and mellow as Vetter and his wife dance at sunset at his beachside home. Everything suddenly becomes personal, and we feel for the man who is torn apart by his emotions. Good teaming with Larenz Tate (Biker Boys), who sticks with him through thick and thin, while Geno Silva (Scarface, Amistad) as the drug lord is a splendid adversary. Some of the film’s best scenes are between Diesel and Silva – perhaps the most memorable taking place in a chapel. But there’s plenty of other colour, and Timothy Olyphant as Hollywood Jack, the outrageous owner of the Beverly Hills beauty salon, steals quite a few scenes with his Gucci attitude and Jim Carrey flounces. There may be a little too much sentimentality and the ending is somewhat of a letdown, but there’s enough action, big bangs, twists and turns to keep us enthralled for most of the time. It’s violent – too violent at times – but certainly in keeping with the film’s themes. What I like best about the film is the atmosphere it creates – from its locations to the lively soundtrack and the colourful characters who we follow keenly. Chill out.
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Favourable: 1 (Louise)
Mixed: 1 (Andrew)
MAN APART, A (M15+)
CAST: Vin Diesel, Larenz Tate, Timothy Olyphant, Jacqueline Obradors, Geno Silva, Steve Eastin, Juan Fernández, George Sharperson
PRODUCER: Robert John Degus, Vincent Newman, Joey Nittolo, Tucker Tooley
DIRECTOR: F. Gary Gray
SCRIPT: Christian Gudegast, Paul Scheuring
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jack N. Green
EDITOR: Robert Brown, Sean Hubbert
MUSIC: Anne Dudley
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ida Random
RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 12, 2003