2003
Rated: R for nudity, graphic language, and graphic violence.
Genre: Crime/Gangster, Action/Adventure and Drama
Directed By: F. Gary Gray
Running Time: 1:49
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 3/14/04
Special Features:
7 Deleted Scenes
Trailers - 1. Original Theatrical Trailer
A MAN APART

 

It's safe to say, that at this time, Vin Diesel hasn't quite lived up to the expectations of the American movie viewing audience. Maybe he'll make a comeback and I'll look like the idiot who said he was done, but until I've seen it, I think his star has all but burst. I like Vin Diesel, sure, he's not a great actor, his movies aren't Oscar contenders but he has a charisma and appeal that Schwarzenegger and Stallone lost years before. I'm hoping I won't turn on Cinemax one night and witness him in a straight to video movie starring alongside Dolph Lundgren.

"A Man Apart" presents the stereotypical action movie formula that proves Diesel may not make it past ten years as an actor. This is the same thing we've seen over, and over and will see in the upcoming "The Punisher" film, so as I approached this with optimism that this may be a decent action flick, I found out it was below such a concept.

Diesel stars as Sean Vetter a DEA agent who with his friend Demetrius Hicks are in the midst of taking down a brutal drug cartel led by Memo Lucera (Geno Silva); after busting him and taking down the crime ring that they've spent seven years investigating, Sean finally can take some off-time. Enter wife Stacy, the loving beautiful wife to the character of Sean. By now, if you haven't seen the movie, you can guess what will happen next, and do I even have to tell you anything else besides the fact that she becomes a motivation for vengeance? Watch the trailer and you won't even have to see the movie.

Simply because the plot twist is predictable and formula, so Sean continues his quest for vengeance and sets out to stop a new crime boss called El Diablo who is knocking off the low level crime bosses and working his way up; so Sean begins to set out to find El Diablo, he loses it in a drug bust, cops die, his partner loses patience with his loose cannon-ship... is that a real word? Who cares. Anyway, so his badge is turned in and he sets out on a personal mission to stop El Diablo.

This would have been tolerable, but the material is so redundant it soon becomes a waste of time; there's so much here we've seen before, and what's worse is that there are humongous crater-sized plot holes within the film that it becomes really aggravating.

Sean, instead of finding the criminal spends a lot of time with the crime boss he took down, the same crime boss that threatened his life, why? We're never told. Maybe it's because he can offer a view into the criminal mind that Sean won't know, but then his character is so underdeveloped and his scenes so small, it'd be hard to believe he'd be any use to him.

A lot of scenes don't make sense either, there's this one sequence in which Vetter and Hicks crash into a house where dead bodies are laying scattered along a room and they're attempting to bargain with a drug deal who was hiding in the attic. Now there are two inconsistencies with this scene: 1. They'd heard about El Diablo in the beginning, so that whole scene is useless because they interrogate him and attempt to put the fear of god into that one surviving drug dealer only to discover the name of the crime boss: El Diablo... didn't we just find that out already?

2. The character of Sean empties his gun barrel, puts one bullet into the chamber and begins shooting at the man with empty clicks to persuade him to talk, finally when the dealer talks, they walk off and one of the investigators discovers the bullets lying on the ground and begins analyzing it. What is the purpose of that scene? Does that mean they suspect he may be engaging in forceful tactics? Does it mean they thought it was from the drug dealers? We're never told exactly what it was, we're only left to assume.

We're led throughout the film to believe that El Diablo may just be some rich white guy named Hollywood Jack played with much charisma by the often likable Timothy Olyphant. He has a scene in the film that makes us question the plot hole during the story. Everyone insinuates throughout the film that the character Hollywood Jack is El Diablo, some people allude towards it and so on, and there's even an odd scene in which he confronts one of the drug dealers El Diablo sent to kill Sean but failed. He talks for a few minutes blows his head off. Okay. Then later on we only discover he's a drug dealer as well, and when people point guns at him he mutters something incoherently and gets killed. Why tell us one thing and have the character do another?

Then there are the other plot holes that make no sense: Why was Diesel's character kept on a case that he's obviously so emotionally attached to? This would never have happened in really life, because police officers are forced to get therapy and he might have been given a leave of absence, Who god's name is the character Big Sexy and why does he have an arsenal of weapons that the police are completely unaware of?

The plot hole continue as we witness the poor character development of the Memo Lucero and his crime syndicate. We discover in the end that Memo is in fact El Diablo. Not only is this insulting to the audience's intelligence but it leaves large plot holes and endless questions that are never answered. In one of the big scenes, the crime boss Memo's family is killed in a car explosion, why would he destroy his own family from jail? If he really wanted them gone, why wouldn't he have killed them while he was free? Likewise, why (besides to throw off the viewers) would he call his lieutenant and blame him for not protecting his family? It makes no sense.

Also as Diesel's character forms an alliance with Memo, he is insistent on getting El Diablo because he killed his family like Diesel's character is. Why would he help Diesel's character get revenge? Wouldn't it have been safer just to kill Vin Diesel once and for all? If he was just using Diesel's character, what could he have accomplished by helping him succeed? How would he know Diesel could get him a transfer from his own jail, for sure? There are just so many things to consider, there's no way the character Memo could have plotted anything ahead of time.

The entire cast is wasted including Larenz Tate who's great in everything, except is given a thankless role as the character Sean's best friend. He's often a great actor and it's a shame his skills aren't put to better use, Jacqueline Obradors is wasted and simply used as a plot device. I've been crushing on her since "Tortilla Soup" and she has acting talent but she's used merely as a plot device. Timothy Olyphant is a great actor and it's a shame he's used as a plot tool to further the story, though his character development is often inconsistent, he's charismatic in this role and manages to come out of it unscathed.

One of the more humorous endings in action films is this when Diesel's character catches up with Memo/El Diablo and finally confronts him and leaves him to be taken in by the DEA. This is a truly sloppy sequence because how did Diesel's character know where Memo would be? Why didn't the character Memo just shoot him dead on the spot? And (a big And), how did Diesel's character manage to surround Memo with police, all completely without his knowledge, and without anyone spotting them considering he had armed guards surrounding him? Tsk, tsk.

Mildly entertaining if you can bear it, but all and all sloppy cliché action fare with predictable plot twists and plot holes you can fit your head through, I can't wait to see it when the movie's complete.

 

 

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