Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment .
R4 . COLOR . 105 mins .
MA15+ . PAL
Ever had that déjà vu feeling? Where you're certain you have seen something before but you are not sure where? Well be prepared, this film will give you that feeling over and over again! The used-to-be-bad-guy-now-a-respected-cop-has-his-wife/girlfriend/family-member-killed-then-seeks-revenge format should have its own shelf at the video store, let’s face it, there are enough titles to fill a whole section. Fair enough really, why not reuse a tried and trusted plot? The trick is usually to add something different, sadly A Man Apart offers nothing new. The one big plus, however, is that it has Vin Diesel, reason enough for most to take a look see.
The plot may be a predictable one, but this film is not all bad. Director F. Gary Gray does what he can with a mediocre script. He has proven his worth on films such as the recent remake of The Italian Job and without his effort and Vin Diesel’s pulling power, this film wouldn’t have lasted the brief time it did at the cinema. There are plenty of gun battles and the supporting cast do a reasonable job with a pretty awful script. There is a definite lack of flow thoughout and many viewers will find themselves asking the question “what the?” Granted, making a lot of sense is not a prerequisite for an action film, as long as there are plenty of action sequences, flexing muscles and large guns, why bother with a script or plot? The condom full of walnuts does attempt to give a more dramatic performance than usual, but sadly he possesses as much ability in this area as Steven Seagal. He is not really there to gain Acadamy Award votes though, so perhaps he should just stick to smashing things, hitting people and looking good.
Without doubt you have seen this story or similar before, but for those who care here is a brief plot outline. Sean Vetter (Vin Diesel) and his best friend Demetrius Hicks (Laurenz Tate) were once on the wrong side of the law, spending much of their youth as gang bangers on the streets of L.A. These days though they are partners in the D.E.A. (Drug Enforcement Agency) and they're damned good at it, too. They have earned respect from their fellow cops, but have found the capture of drug lord Memo Lucero (Geno Silva) to be their hardest achievement to date. They have spent seven long years tracking him down and have finally located him in Tijuana. After a raid on his location, the drug lord is captured and sent to a U.S. prison.
I am the 5th Wiggle - drug dealer!
Sean is happily married to Stacy (Jacqueline Obradors) and they live their idyllic lives in their idyllic beach house. One night while asleep, armed men come into the house and start shooting. Sean manages to either kill them or scare them off, but his wife is fatally wounded in the attack. He is also shot and upon waking some time later realises his wife has been killed and instantly assumes it is the fault of the drug lord he has just imprisoned.
"You come into my house?"
Meanwhile, the absence of said drug lord has led to a new player in the drug trafficking business. Known as Diablo, this newcomer is starting to take over from the imprisoned former ruler. His identity is not known, so the partners set about finding out who he is in the hope of closing him down, not to mention the need for revenge for Sean’s wife’s death. For the safety of everyone around him, Sean’s boss decides to take his badge away but, driven by his need for revenge, he continues his plans, recruiting his partner along with former gang banging friend Big Sexy (George Sharperson). The trail leads to wannabe drug lord Hollywood Jack (Timothy Olyphant), a salon owner with a nasty streak and ultimately leads to all the other bad guys, but will Sean gain his revenge?
The picture is supplied in a crisp anamorphic transfer ratio of 2.35:1 and offers great clarity. Apart from a few instances of grain and edge enhancement, both of which are extremely minor, there is little to find fault with here. Shadow detail is a highlight, with many dark scenes showing every little detail. There is a choice of English or Greek subtitles and the English ones sample are extremely accurate and much needed for some of the dialogue, you know wha’ am sayin’ dog? The layer change is located at 55:04 and, although between scenes, is rather obvious.
Audio is supplied in a choice of Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1 surround. The stereo mix is of a very high standard, but it is the DD 5.1 mix that really rocks. Surround use is extensive, coupled with some heavy use of the subwoofer to give a thunderous soundtrack. The supporting music comes from artists such as Seal, Groove Armada, Morphine, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, P.O.D and Godsmack and these all come pumping through and really build the film up well. The only criticism overall is the dialogue level, this could have perhaps been a little louder and does seem clearer on the stereo mix, but overall this is a very nice audio transfer.
A film like this would normally include a ton of extras such as commentaries and behind the scenes featurettes, but sadly this one is a little light on. There are seven deleted scenes supplied that are of the same quality as the main feature and could have been left in for the most part. One would have expected a commentary here to state why these have been left out but no. The only other extra is a theatrical trailer which runs for 2:19 and is supplied in a transfer of 1.85:1 with a DD 5.1 surround audio mix.
Overall this is a film that most action genre fans will not be repulsed by, although it will never make it to their top ten. It is a rehashed vendetta plot that has been done a lot better in other films, but this one does have Vin Diesel so it's not a complete waste. The video and audio transfers are excellent, but this release is lacking in the extras department. If you are in the mood for a no-brainer action film where you know what will happen a long time before the characters, give this a go.