by Doc JTR
Let me preface this review by saying that Vin Diesel is a man I respect. Sure, "Fast and the Furious" and "XXX" sucked, but give the man credit. He was great in "Boiler Room" and touching in "Saving Private Ryan." Hell, he was even the voice of the Iron Giant ("RRaawwwkkk"), one of my favorite kid's movies. The trailer made the film look like "Traffic" meets "The Punisher." It looked like Vin Diesel was finally going to ACT again.Yeah, he acts.
"Is it an action film? Drama? No, it's DRACTION!"
About halfway through the movie I realized why I liked Vin Diesel in those other films. It wasn't really his performance, it was how he was shown as the giant who could make a deal, or the giant who wanted to save a little girl, or a giant literally made of iron who could love. That's not his performance, it's the movie. The movies are great, Vin Diesel, as a lead actor, is not.
I can see the connection. Sure, he's vulnerable in this movie because he loses his wife. Okay. But, I would be happier if Vin Diesel could look un-like Vin Diesel. In other words, if when I watch him, I want to feel like this guy's bicep isn't the size of my head. Then, I could feel for him. Then, I could see him as a human being, and not as Triple-X.
Diesel plays a DEA officer named Sean Vetter. He and his partner (played by a black sidekick not trying to be funny, Larenz Tate) are not your average gumshoe DEA agents (gumshoe doesn't really fit there, does it?), no no, they used to be criminals. Thus, they know how to catch criminals. Now, to anybody familiar with "XXX," does this sound familiar. Before you jump ahead, you must realize that "A Man Apart" was filmed before "XXX," (as was "Knockaround Guys") and was held on the shelf. FOR A FUCKING REASON.
This movie is bad. And I don't mean bad, really, that's just such a giving-too-much-credit term. No, what I really mean is, this film sucks my choad. Someone named "Diablo" kills Diesel's wife, and all I could think was, "Now, why the fudge-puck would you piss off Diesel. It's Diesel.
Director F. Gary Gray (why do all these F's conceal their names, F. Murray Abraham, F. Gary Gray) looks like he filmed two separate movies, lost half the film of each, then just handed it to his editor and said, "Just go apeshit." For instance, why would the crime scene tape be up around Diesel's house if the murder was a few months ago. And if it was up, how could Diesel live there? How does he get inside? Does he just eat, sleep, shit, pump iron and groom his deliciously ugly goatee on the porch? Please tell me. Is it artistic, to me it just looks like something else writers Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring didn't pay attention to.
Before Vin Diesel hunts me down and beats me like a little schoolgirl with his index finger, let me say that his performance was halfway decent. The best scene in the movie is when he beats a guy to death, while undercover, because the man talks about his wife. Do you see what I mean? Vin Diesel is an event movie action star. The people who can get away with doing event movies and maintaining respectable acting careers are the likes of Ben Affleck or maybe Ed Norton (if he ever does a decent movie again), but not Diesel.I'm sorry Diesel, you are ruined for me, drama-wise. Do another kid's film man! Do a comedy. I know there's a comedic actor inside of you (I mean that literally, too. Maybe that's what happened to Pauly Shore).
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7450&reviewer=135
originally posted: 05/09/03 10:22:41