For those of you who don't know, Vin
Diesel stars in this film. The Masked Reviewer has observed that a
lot of reviewers feel the need to make some sort of lame attempt at
humor by making fun of the poor guy's name. "High Octane Adventure
by Diesel", or something like that. The Masked Reviewer will
refrain and make his own lame attempts at humor.
This isn't the light
and fluffy kind of film we've grown to expect from Vin. And, this
review will focus mainly on Vin because, frankly, he's the only person
the average viewer is likely to recognize. A Man Apart
doesn't have the playful exuberance of a snowboarding super-spy like
XXX (which was a big disappointment for viewers who were expecting
either a really dirty porno or a movie about Roman numerals), nor does
it have the care-free joy of a happy-go-lucky thief like The Fast and
the Furious (in which Diesel was, I believe, the furious).
A Man Apart is also missing the high body count of the ever
uplifting Saving Private Ryan.
The film's bad guys are drug dealers, and Vin goes for some payback.
He gets to act in this one. There are scenes of anger, anguish,
sadness, happiness, and love. But mostly anger and anguish.
The Masked Reviewer believes that Mr. Diesel is probably working his way
through an actor's workbook and is stuck in the A's. This
shouldn't be seen as a criticism, however, because...well...he seems
like a big guy. And, for an action star, he's not bad. For
an action star.
Don't be fooled though, there are plenty of things that arepositive
about this film. For example:
- Vin's character, Sean Vetter, has a cat. You don't see many
action superstar characters with a cat. He's not afraid to go
beyond conventional stereotypes.
- At one point, Vin's character, Sean Vetter, suffers a wound that
causes him to limp. It's raining, and he's limping. But,
when Vin Diesel limps, Vin Diesel limps! He falls in a
puddle, even. You feel his pain. Come to think of it, he
falls down a few times. That kind of commitment is good
Down to the nitty-gritty...there are some problems with this film.
First of all, it gets much too confusing for this kind of movie.
This can be blamed equally on the cameramen, the editor, and the
director. It's sometimes hard to follow a movie when there are too
many rapid cuts. Sometimes jerky camera movements make things
confusing. And sometimes a director throws in a strange angle that
takes too long to figure out what's happening (the upside-down extreme
close up of the nostril, for example). Well, they've managed to
combine all three of these bad elements. In many scenes it's just
too hard to tell what's happening. You get a sense that there's
chaos, but you often can't tell what happened or who's a good guy and
who's a bad guy. It also deprives the audience the chance to enjoy
some good gunfights.
It's also a bit of a noodle-scratcher as to what was going on.
The Masked Reviewer is pretty sure there was some big plot twist, but it
didn't make a lot of sense as it was explained. It was twisty for
twisty's sake, and that feels cheap.
A few other things were oddly unexplained. One of them was "PJF"
written on the back of some law enforcement agency's jackets. PJF?
What's that? Prune Juice Foundation?
In another scene, Vin has to "boost" a car. There's a fancy
sports car, a classic car, and what does he take? A Buick.
They do use facial hair in this film to symbolize Vetter's character
growth. Stubble, goatee, clean-shaven: the beard is an analogy
for...something. It's in there. Really.
For those fans of Vin Diesel's buff body, you should be aware that he
doesn't take his shirt off at any point. The Masked Reviewer
understands that many moviegoers have this film on their list in the
hopes of getting a look at his hot bod. No nude Vin, though there
are a couple of breasts to behold and the Masked Reviewer is not against
Overall, it's not a great action movie and it falls a bit flat as a
crime-fighting drama. But, for being somewhere in the middle, it's
okay especially if you're a Vin Diesel fan. It's much closer in
feel to The Fast and the Furious than XXX. It's like
Traffic without any of the actors in it, more confusing and
poorly edited gunplay, and a severe case of VD (that's Vin Diesel's
initials). It's nothing special, but nothing so horrible that
you'll want to kill yourself, and for an action star, that's an
If they do a sequel, and knowing Hollywood they might, the Masked
Reviewer predicts it will be called A Man Further Apart, or maybe
A Man Aparter. Hopefully they'll instead focus on a
sequel to XXX. The sequel will be the hardest to name.
XXX 2? If they stick with Roman numerals, maybe XXXI?
Maybe X2X2X2? The best bet for a sequel title might by
YYY. "YYY did they make another one?" And
that, of course, will lead to the third part of the trilogy, titled
ZZZ. A sleeper hit, to be sure.
Expectation from the Title: A movie about a man and the
division in his hair. (A man, a part. Get it?)
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Vin Diesel has a nice voice.
The Pros: Vin is interesting to watch. Timothy Olyphant
was enjoyable over-the-top as Hollywood Jack.
The Cons: The action scenes were hard to follow
visually, the whole premise is overdone, there are a lot of things that
happen in the movie that don't make sense in the movie's context.