We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"A Man Apart" sets chunks of nonsense floating down in a river of action. The elements are all here--the growling macho dialogue, the gunplay, the drugs, the cops, the revenge--but what do they add up to? Some sequences make no sense at all, except as kinetic energy.
The movie stars Vin Diesel and Larenz Tate as drug cops named Vetter and Hicks. They're partners in the DEA, attempting to slam shut the Colombia-Mexico-California cocaine corridor. When they capture a cartel kingpin named Memo Lucero (Geno Silva), the cartel has its revenge by attacking Vetter's home and killing his beloved wife, Stacy (Jacqueline Obradors).
I have not given anything away by revealing her death; the movie's trailer shows her dying. Besides, she has to die. That's why she's in the movie. My colleague Richard Roeper has a new book titled Ten Sure Signs a Movie Character Is Doomed . One of the surest signs is when a wife or girlfriend appears in a cop-buddy action picture, in gentle scenes showing them dining by candlelight, backlit by the sunset on the beach, dancing in the dawn, etc. Action movies are not about dialogue or relationships, and women characters are a major Dialogue and Relationship Hazard. The function of the woman is therefore inevitably to die, inspiring Revenge. This time, as they say, it's personal.
Diesel inhabits "A Man Apart" easily and continues to establish himself as a big action star. Tate gets good mileage from the thankless sidekick role. Silva, as the drug kingpin, gives us glimpses of a character who was probably more fully developed in the earlier drafts: There is very little of Memo, but what there is suggests much more.