[box cover]

A Man Apart

2003's action film A Man Apart has a sort of light rhythm to its title — like an opening line in a Gerald Manly Hopkins poem, or perhaps a subtle variation on a famous palindrome. It's an interesting title, which is a shame since the film itself is lifeless. Vin Diesel stars as Sean Vetter, a DEA agent who's been on the tail of coke dealer nicknamed Diablo, aka Memo Lucero (Geno Silva). But after Sean catches the bad guy, a group of assassins break into his house and kill his loving wife (Jacqueline Obradors), which pushes Sean to the edge. Suspecting upstarts who've filled the gap caused by Lucero's arrest, Sean is led into a bargain with Lucero to get the information he needs to track both the coke entering the country and his wife's killers. There are four different movies in A Man Apart: the police procedural (perhaps the best element of the film), the drug movie (much of the movie is about following a suspect who leads to the next-bigger player), the revenge thriller, and the Silence of the Lambs homage seen in Sean's relationship with Diablo. Unfortunately, the revenge angle dominates the film, and it's the one that plays like an R-rated version of a bad TV show. In itself, that's ironic — most current TV cop shows ("The Shield," "NYPD Blue") don't have these clichés anymore, they've simply developed new and more interesting clichés. Director F. Gary Gray (The Negotiator, Friday) injects life where he can, but the movie falls apart the further it goes along and has the sort of multiple endings (and different haircuts) that suggest it was the victim of numerous re-shoots and test screenings. Just the same, this is probably the best part Larenz Tate (best known for his violent O-Dog in Menace II Society) has had in a long time, and he's good in it, as is Timothy Olyphant as Hollywood Jack, as an over the top and overzealous coke dealer. New Line presents A Man Apart in both anamorphic (2.35:1) and pan-and-scan transfers with Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround audio. Extras include seven deleted scenes (running collectively a little more than ten minutes), and the trailer for this and other New Line films. Keep-case.

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