A Man Apart

A Man Apart is the latest offering from director F. Gary Gray and stars Vin Diesel who seems to be making a lot of films at the moment. This, however, is a much darker film than his previous ones and shows him in a different light. There are a couple of spoilers, but nothing that isn’t blatantly obvious!

The film starts at a party thrown by Guillermo 'Memmo' Lucero (Geno Silva), the head of the largest cartel of drug dealers across the Mexican/USA border. He’s a man of whose connections and bribery has offered him near immunity from prosecution in Mexico.  A team of heavily armed DEA agents who arrest Memmo and disrupt his organisation rudely interrupts the party. This bust is the result of seven years investigations by two agents, Sean Vetter  (Vin Diesel) and Demetrius Hicks  (Larenz Tate).  

After the arrest of Memmo, Sean returns to the US and to his wife Stacy (Jacqueline Obradors) to relax and recuperate.  

Memmo is now in prison in the USA and as a result his cocaine empire is coming under threat by the enigmatic El Diablo, a coke dealer who no one seems to know anything about. Diablo attacks all the dealers who work for Memmo, resulting in everyone being forced to come to him for their cocaine. Unfortunately, he also orders a hit on Sean as he sees him as a threat; the man who brought down the mighty Memmo. During the assassination attempt, Stacy is killed and Sean hospitalised. 

After he recovers, Sean launches a war against Diablo with the help of Demetrius and some friends. However, how do you find a man that lives in the shadows? And whom can you turn to for help when your own people close their doors to you?  

A Man Apart (or just Diablo as it was originally titled) is a change from the characters that Vin Diesel normally plays. His character, Sean, is not an extreme sportsman or a serial killer with night vision or someone who’s larger than life. He’s for all intents and purposes a normal guy – he doesn’t do anything ‘superhuman’ and as a result is quite believable. Diesel does a good job and has the opportunity to expand his acting abilities. This is the closest thing he’s done to show the human side of his characters since Saving Private Ryan and is surprisingly good. Larenz Tate as his best friend, Demetrius, plays yet another streetwise guy (where’s he been since the excellent Menace II Society?) 

The script does tend to jump around a bit, with people disappearing from the USA to Mexico a lot, which does end up a little confusing at times. The direction by F. Gary Gray shows some real character depth and motivation. It’s interesting to see such detail as he’s only done a handful of films, including The Negotiator and Friday. He does cater for the…err…discerning male viewer, as there are quite a few semi-clad nubile women popping up during the film for no real apparent reason! Also there are no real surprises when the identity of Diablo is revealed; this is no Keyser Soze, so as a result the ending is a little weak. 

Overall, A Man Apart is an entertaining enough film even though it’s quite dark at times. It could have been so easily hashed into yet another cop TV-movie but manages to alleviate itself to a higher peg by good performances and direction. It also shows that Vin Diesel can act and that Saving Private Ryan was not a fluke (even though his was not a major role in that).

SCORE 7/10 

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