The Vin Diesel in “A Man Apart” isn’t the same guy from XXX or Fast and the Furious. That guy was gung ho, amiable, and ultra-energetic, this guy’s despondent, unkempt and plods along like a portly kid at little athletics. So why did Diesel do such an aberrant film as a follow up to his preceding hits? Truth is: he didn’t. He did this long before, it’s only now that the studio has decided to unleash it, or shall we say ‘cash in’ on the bald-headed rock formation’s intensifying statue in Hollywood.
Action-packed but slower than a simmering chook, “Apart” takes what reads like the latest Steven Seagal movie and marries it with heart pounding music and lots of Diesel-like commotion to have an audience feel they’re actually watching something a lot grander than what they actually are.
Diesel is DEA agent, Sean Vetter, a man hell-bent on vengeance when his beloved wife is slain by the drug lord’s he captured earlier. Now, fitted with month old stubble, bags under eyes and only the illumination on his rifle to guide him through the night, he sets out to find the man accountable.
To it’s merit, “A Man Apart” hints at being something intriguing – but from the moment, Vetter’s wife is killed and our central character becomes a weapon of retribution – one clicks onto the fact they’re watching another by-the-numbers action film. Essentially, it’s Seagal’s “Hard to Kill” but with a little more razzle dazzle.
Diesel is good in the movie. He gets to dance, cry, romanticise…things we’ve rarely see him do in other movies. There are actually hints of a real actor there. It’s for that reason I was even more saddened with the film on offer – because it takes the action star into new terrain.
Had this film been offered to Diesel now, I’m almost certain he wouldn’t do it until it had a strapping script, superlative director and some prospect of victory. Just a pity it didn’t come later, rather than sooner.
If you’re a Vin Diesel fan you might enjoy seeing him in a different light, but I strongly doubt you’ll be scribbling this on your must buy list come DVD.