A Man Apart

(F. Gary Gray, USA, 2003)


In the flashily designed opening credits sequence of A Man Apart – which turns out, unfortunately, to be its best moment – the starring name of Vin Diesel happens to coincide with a bit of floating text blaring some headline about "billions of dollars". I detect some wishful thinking on the part of the film's makers about the earning potential of their gruff star.

This is a dreary, predictable, entirely mediocre vehicle for Diesel, who needs outlandish projects like xXx (2002) in order to come across well. He is best when he is the uncomplicated, rock-solid centre of a furiously complicated intrigue. But there is nothing intriguing going on in A Man Apart. Director F. Gary Gray (Friday, 1995), too, has seen better days.

Sean (Diesel) is a cop but you would hardly know it, since he fights the war against drugs by maintaining an appropriate street vibe amongst himself and his colleagues. Sean is also an exceptionally honourable man, interested only in his wife, Stacy (Jacqueline Obradors), while his pals make lewd jokes about the foxy ladies all around them.

When the heat gets turned up, Sean goes after a hidden crime-lord known as Diablo. We wait for the usual moral complications to pop up – is this revenge kick taking our hero too far over the edge? – but when he starts wiping out innocent bystanders and even colleagues on the force, the film hardly seems to think it matters.

MORE Gray: The Italian Job, The Negotiator

© Adrian Martin June 2003

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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