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A Man Apart

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
A Man Apart
from Film Forum, 04/10/03Violence blasts apart A Man Apart

Vin Diesel got off to an impressive start in the movies by playing a soldier in Saving Private Ryan, the voice of The Iron Giant, and an interplanetary convict in Pitch Black. But he seems to have found his niche as an indulgent action hero, raking in big bucks at the box office with a string of shallow, indulgent, hyperviolent flicks. Even before the bad memories of XXX, The Fast and the Furious, and Knockaround Guys have faded, Diesel is back in A Man Apart. Here, the bald and brawny brute plays an undercover narcotics officer whose work to topple a drug lord becomes personal when his wife becomes a casualty. His tactics turn unconventional and illegal, and soon he is seeking revenge in a storm of bullets and glorified vigilantism.

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says, "It would appear that those responsible for … A Man Apart never bothered to put it back together. It is an excessively violent, incoherent jumble of a movie. Perhaps if an actor were cast who was capable of carrying some dramatic weight the film would be different. But with Vin Diesel as the headliner, all we need do is to wait for stuff to blow up."

"The film's incessant violence is disturbing," says David DiCerto (Catholic News Service), "especially in the current climate where world events expose the ugly reality of violence and its consequences as opposed to the stylized version offered by Hollywood. The filmmakers display an almost cavalier disregard for human life, using actors like props to be mowed down like ducks at a carnival game. [The film's] ends-justifies-the-means mentality is incompatible with the Christian understanding of overcoming evil with good."

Blaine Butcher (Preview) says, "The film has some positive themes like loyalty, but it also has a darker side with unclothed women and graphic violence. Be a man or woman apart from this one, and view a more constructive film."

Steven Isaac (Focus on the Family) objects to the film's message. "Onscreen, the cartel boss says that to 'bring down a monster, you have to become a monster.' So there, in a shell casing, is this movie's 'moral.'"

Michael Medved (Crosswalk) writes, "Diesel's career will continue to stall if he continues to appear in predictable pap like this tired shoot-'em-up."

Tom Snyder (Movieguide) says the movie is "engrossing in parts (and so is Diesel's performance), but it's not anything audiences haven't seen before at the movies. In fact, the movie at times plays like a big budget production of one of Steven Seagal's lesser movies."

Mainstream critics agree that A Man Apart is one of the worst yet in this year's parade of bad movies. Scott Brown (Entertainment Weekly) says it's "a threadbare hand-me-down of an action thriller—even its obligatory twists feel preworn. You won't know who to trust. And you won't care."

REVIEW
Hulking Rage

An epidemic of anger at the cineplex.

by Jeffrey Overstreet
Books & Culture, September/October 2003


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