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Laramie Movie Scope:
A Man Apart

Another drug-dealing, revenge cop buddy movie

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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April 17, 2003 -- "A Man Apart" is the latest action hero movie by Vin Diesel ("The Fast and the Furious"). It is disappointing, but the fault does not lie with Diesel, or the other actors. The script is the culprit here. It collapses under the weight of its own contradictions near the end of the story. Diesel is the finest action film star in the world. He's got the voice, the physical presence, and the acting chops to handle this kind of role to perfection. He needs better scripts, and directors, if he is going to remain at the top of Hollywood's "A" list, however. With a good script, and a director like John Woo, Diesel could blow the lid off world box office records.

Diesel stars as Sean Vetter, an undercover narcotics agent with the DEA, teamed with an old buddy from the 'hood, Demetrius Hicks (played by Larenz Tate of "Biker Boyz"). After making a big time bust of Mexican drug lord Memo Lucero (Geno Silva of "Mulholland Drive"), Vetter is attacked by hit men hired by a mysterious drug lord named "Diablo." Vetter is seriously injured and his wife is killed. Vetter vows revenge against Diablo, who is taking over Lucero's entire operation. Vetter and Hicks work their way up the drug supply ladder, looking for the mysterious Diablo, working both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. Needless to say, there is a lot of violence and blood along the way. This movie tries to use some of the same themes explored in Diesel's earlier movie "XXX." He is again portrayed as a new generation of cop, one who grew up on the mean streets and does things this own way.

The first three-fourths of the movie works fairly well. It is only the last act that falls apart. The big payoff, the showdown between Diablo and Vetter fails to materialize. The story doesn't even clearly reveal who Diablo is. I think I know who Diablo is, but the climax is so poorly handled, Diablo's identity is not made clear. The rest of the film leads up to this point -- the showdown between Diablo and Vetter, and the mystery of Diablo's identity, and the script fails to adequately resolve either of these two major plot points. The movie also has to leap through some serious plot holes to get where it is going and it doesn't maintain consistent characterizations through the course of the film. Diesel, Tate and Silva and the other actors all turn in good acting performances in this film, but all are sabotaged by the movie's weak, unsatisfactory conclusion. The direction, by F. Gary Gray ("Set It Off") is not strong enough to overcome the weaknesses in the script by Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring.

This is actually a fairly good role for Diesel (I keep thinking I'm writing about trucks when I write sentences like this). It may not be good for his career in terms of box office appeal, but it does show some of Diesel's range as an actor. Despite the fact that this is a formula action film, there is some depth in the character of Vetter, and there is an interesting relationship that develops between Vetter and the jailed drug lord, Memo Lucero (Geno Silva). Silva and Diesel are very effective in their scenes together, as the two men form an unlikely bond. Most action stars are not good enough actors to handle this kind of role as well as Diesel does. It shows again the enormous potential Diesel has as a movie star, but he needs to pick better scripts and directors to keep his career on track. This film rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2003 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)