Somewhere between the beginning and end of the new Vin Diesel movie, A Man Apart, the question of how this movie was ever made has to arise. In the film industry, an idea for a movie is first conceived, developed and written, then is pitched to executives whose job it is to determine whether or not the “idea” is worth the company spending millions of dollars for production. A Man Apart should never have passed step one of this process.
In order to fathom how bad this movie is, it’s essential to understand the plot. The movie is about a man in the Drug Enforcement Agency named Sean Vetter (Vin Diesel). The special force to which Vetter belongs is a rag tag group of street tough cops responsible for the seven-year pursuit of a Colombian drug lord operating out of Mexico. After the capture of this kingpin, a mysterious new drug lord begins a hostile take over of the Southern California territory. This elusive fiend attempts to kill the one man who can bring him down … Sean. Unfortunately for the bad guy, the assassination attempt goes sour and Vetter’s wife is mistakenly killed. Seeking vengeance, the protagonist throws all police conventions out the window. Miranda rights, search warrants and due process mean nothing in this movie. Sean is the judge, jury and executioner.
The first and foremost problem with all of this is that, on one level or another, this has been done before. The story of a renegade cop who throws away all police etiquette in the pursuit of the drug lord who killed his wife is the subject of at least two Lethal Weapon films. The dead wife/drug mastermind thing is, by far, the most overused and overrated clichÃ© in the history of action films.
Yet another flaw of this movie is the inability to convince the audience that Vin Diesel can act. In any dramatic role, the one element needed is the ability to act well. That is the corner stone of the genre. If the actor fails to convince the audience that the tears he is crying are real, then he is not acting well. The drama that was inserted into the movie to give it depth only makes it look more ridiculous. The opening voice-over given by Diesel, which is meant to set the tone for and explicate the film, sounds like Andre the Giant learning to read.
However, no one is going to see this movie just because they think Diesel is a good actor. They want to see the action and this movie definitely delivers. There are plenty of gunshots to the head, people getting beaten to death, explosions, blood — all of it. Unfortunately, none of it is done very well. Granted, the audience will gasp when they see some of the more graphic scenes, but for the vast majority of the movie the action, can’t be seen due to the absolutely appalling camera work and equally atrocious editing. In these scenes, the camera shakes so much that it is impossible to tell who is shooting whom and why.
There is virtually no reason to see this movie, ever. The mistakes and ill-conceived ideas are numerous, starting from the birth of the movie. The redeeming qualities are non existent. It’s just not worth the time or money.
Action, R, Running time: 109 minutes
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