Since he appeared in Saving Private Ryan, Mark "Silly Voice" Vincent - I'm sorry, I just can't say Vin Diesel with seriousness - has made a reputation for starring in cheap, low-brow action flicks. The only way to market him is as a "gravel voiced man-mountain". Puh-lease, I thought that Commando came and went back in 1985, but apparently it's still going strong in dated nonsense like this.
Vinny plays Sean Vetter a deep undercover DEA agent. He busts Mr. Big and puts him in jail. Mr. Big quickly arranges for Vetter's wife to be executed. From jail? How?
The story is almost a carbon copy of Death Wish. Wife is killed, hero breaks all rules to get even. The subtext - a term too deep for a shallow movie like this - of becoming a monster to take down a monster (Predator, Face/Off) has been done to death a zillion times and now cannot possibly be resold to any audience in any form.
A Man Apart feels like Traffic without a shred of intelligence, Hard To Kill without Steven Seagal and anything Eighties starring Don Johnson. The script never does anything with the idea of Vetter's wife being killed, or uses that plot device as a way of developing character. It's just a reason to get revenge, thus making the title a bit obsolete. The original title was El Diablo - the scary name of Mr Big - and the movie was scheduled for release ages ago. Certain tampering went on; the movie was re-cut; a suspicious narration is added to the beginning. The result is a generic actioner, in which a gravel voiced man-mountain grabs some guns, smokes cigarettes and blows up stuff. Oooohhhhh!
Critics doubt Vincent's integrity at every opportunity and I guess that's not likely to change with A Man Apart. He tries - he really does - but his brick face just cannot show one iota of emotion. A shame. I really did want to feel for the character, but he is not a good actor. Perhaps he should do what Macaulay Culkin did and disappear for a while and then return with some skill. Otherwise his career will very quickly disintegrate. I mean, he's not even pretty to look at.
F Gary Gray does what he can with a poor script, but cannot hide the fact that the material is soggy and weak. The movie looks slicker than crude oil and is just as messy. If you're in the mood for some Friday Night Action and don't mind dated muscle-men movies, then I recommend A Man Apart only under this condition.Reviewed on: