The Barenaked Archives: A Man Apart

From 2003 up until 2007, I was lucky enough to have “movie reviewer” as my job description. As such, I’ve built up a *lot* of reviews for just about every movie that came out during those years, as well as reviews of classic movies.

The Barenaked Archives are reviews that I did for two previous websites. Sadly, they are both gone, so this is now the only place online you can see these old columns.

It’s always an iffy thing when an actor best known for a certain genre steps out of his or her typical role to do something completely different. After starring in movies like Pitch Black, The Fast and the Furious, and XXX, Vin Diesel has made a name for himself as the next major action star. So, one kind of has to wonder what’s going to happen when he does a much more dramatic role such as in A Man Apart. The answer is, fortunately, a very entertaining two hours at the movies.

In A Man Apart, DEA agent Sean Vetter (Vin Diesel) and his best friend and partner Demetrius Hicks (Larenz Tate) take down one of the biggest players in the drug cartel, Memo Lucero, after working on the case for seven years. However, no sooner is Memo behind bars than a new and more dangerous leader emerges, known only as Diablo.

When Diablo orders an attempt on Sean’s life, the hit is botched, landing Sean in the hospital and killing his wife. Now, Sean and Demetrius must try to bring down Diablo, but Sean has his own agenda: revenge.

First off, it becomes apparent in this movie that Vin Diesel can do more than just beat the holy crap out of anyone who gets in his way and make wisecracking remarks. Well, granted, he does that in this movie, but he also proves that he can and should be taken seriously as an actor.

But to be honest, the person who surprised me the most was Larenz Tate. Where on earth has he been? He was single-handedly my favorite person in the whole movie. He and Diesel worked great together, and that’s part of what made this movie succeed.

The main thing one has to realize about this movie is that it is more of a drama than an action film. It moves a lot slower than most action films do, focusing more on the relationships between the characters and on how Sean’s wife’s death affects his life and the search for Diablo.

Of course, this is not saying that there isn’t any action in this film. There are two or three great shoot-outs, but camera work during those sequences is a bit jerky, making it kind of hard to follow what’s going on. And for the record, there is a twist at the end that even I didn’t expect.

If you’re tired of the usual films that promise loads of action but no plot or if you’d love to see Vin Diesel in something different, then A Man Apart is the film you should see. As for myself, I’d go watch it again in a theater.

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