A Man Apart (2003)

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Released 9-Dec-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Deleted Scenes-7
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 105:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:04) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By F. Gary Gray
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Alice Amter
Jim Boeke
Ken Davitian
Vin Diesel
Steve Eastin
Juan Fernández
Robert Fraade
Richard Gross
Richard Haje
Terry Hoyos
Jeff Kober
Thomas Kopache
Julia Lee
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Anne Dudley
J. Peter Robinson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Greek
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A Man Apart actually fairly generic, following the classic action movie cliché: cop’s wife (Jacqueline Obradors) gets killed by sadistic drug lord; cop (Vin Diesel) goes bad and breaks all the rules to get even, with the help of his partner (Larenz Tate) and a gangbanger buddy (George Sharperson). It’s the plot of a dozen Van Damme or Clint Eastwood movies, a classic staple of the genre. Most of the time, though, these films are done very poorly, but every now and then one stands out from the ranks ... sadly, this isn’t one of them.

    I love a good revenge tale. Don’t ask me why - I guess there’s just something cathartic about it. Of course, there are two types of revenge story: Firstly, those where the avenger is given a second chance to punish the wicked for an injustice, as exemplified by movies such as The Crow and Robocop, and Anthony Dumas’ classic The Count Of Monte Cristo. Secondly, there is the more nihilistic and perhaps even more poetic tale of revenge as epitomised by Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, where revenge becomes an obsession, ultimately destroying the avenging party in an all-consuming passion of hatred and self-destruction, leaving them hollowed out, traumatised or dead, á la Get Carter (the original, not the Stallone remake). Or maybe I just like antiheroes.

    What is wrong with A Man Apart is that it is neither of these archetypes, trying for a more politically correct approach to revenge – a man brought back from the brink of self-destruction after already crossing the line a long ways back. The problem with this is that it just runs so totally against the grain, leaving the viewer confused, and worse yet walking out thinking they got ripped off. I mean, it just seems so intrinsically wrong that one should become so ethically corrupt in order to achieve a desired goal outside of the law, and then be at all capable of redeeming oneself within the law at the end. The fact of the matter is that people on real revenge trips do not come around during the final reel. They are on revenge trips because they are blinded by powerful emotions that have taken control and distorted their ability to reason. Anyone remember Captain Ahab? Hence why they call this ‘revenge’, not justice. At least good old Clint Eastwood knew how to pull the trigger, and thereby give the audience what they wanted.

    Okay, so I’ve probably given most of the plot away for you already (the mark of a bad reviewer), but let’s face it, this one didn’t have a huge plot anyway, and remember it’s the journey that is the important part, not the conclusion. Yeah, whatever. Honestly, the ending really defeated the purpose of a B-grade action revenge movie and I just felt the need to b**** about it. Plus, the journey is extremely muddled, with our cop hero only going ‘kind of bad’ on a ‘sort of revenge trip’. So many wasted opportunities.

    I must admit, I was expecting more from director F. Gary Gray, who did such a good job with The Negotiator, although he was admittedly working with a much better script there. Indeed, the blame really does lie solely with writers Christian Gudegast and Paul Scheuring who could have gone in any of a dozen other directions and made a more fulfilling movie for the audience it was pitched at, or even a more poetic tale for those of us out there who have read Melville. Vinny does a good job with his lines, and goes through the motions well enough, but he is seriously limited by his material. I guess the idiot’s guide to making a good movie just isn’t being circulated in Hollywood anymore. First step: get a good script. Worry about the rest later.

    A Man Apart has its moments, such as a good shootout in the middle, but they are few and far between, and the whole thing lacks the passion and intensity that make really violent revenge tales such immensely satisfying films for the action-junkie masses. In the end all I got was a bunch of mixed messages and confused characterisation, plenty of macho posturing that looks great on posters but crap on film, some horribly schmaltzy moments, some poorly executed drama, and some really, really sad attempts at humour. Do not get me wrong – there is definitely a place in the market for this type of action movie, just not for this particular action movie. I hate to be too harsh, but whereas A Man Apart would probably make a decent beer and pizza rental flick with the boys (perhaps a double with Freddy vs. Jason?), I would nevertheless recommend saving your time – and money – for a more worthy pursuit.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, this is the original aspect ratio.

    The transfer of this film is excellent, and probably more than this film deserves. Indeed, I would go so far as to say the transfer borderlines on faultless.

    Colours are well saturated and balanced with that ‘L.A.-smog-pollution-sunset’ kind of colour. Shadow detail is very good. There is some very fine film graininess, but this in no way detracts from the film.

    MPEG artefacts are absent, and the best I could do for a film-to-video transfer fault is some faint moire on some blinds in the background of one shot in the hospital.

    Dirt is minimal and there were no apparent film artefacts that distracted from the ‘enjoyment’ of the movie.

    Subtitles are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired and Greek. They are white with a black edge and do not substantially deviate from the script.

    The dual layer pause occurs at 55:04 during a scene change. It is only mildly disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are two soundtracks here: the original English 5.1 Dolby Digital and a 2.0 Dolby Stereo mix. The stereo track is fairly stock standard, giving you all the basics that you need to get along. It has some good range, but it is still just left-to-right kind of stuff.

    As for the 5.1 Dolby Digital track, dialogue is generally capable of being understood – of course, Vinny’s deep, gravelly, whisky drinking, filterless cigarette smoking voice is not always the easiest thing in the world to understand, and a lot of this film is also in Spanish, but you get the gist.

    The range is very decent, and there are directional cues aplenty, not only during the action sequences, but in just about all the scenes. There is some decent use of the rears, but nothing major, which was a little bit of a letdown.

    The subwoofer is utilised well in the various action sequences, particularly the shoot-out in the middle of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    All menus are presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with a 2.0 Dolby Stereo soundtrack.

Deleted Scenes

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Stereo, there are 7 deleted scenes:

Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital, this trailer plays up an action and revenge story that looks pretty good, but just isn’t present in this movie. Good advertising though.

Dolby Digital Trailer

    Only if you count this as an extra. This is the water puddle one. I just press fast forward.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 version of this disc includes a Pan & Scan version as well as the widescreen anamorphic version. I see no real reason to favour one over the other, except that you can rent the R4 locally.

Summary

    A Man Apart had a good premise for a hardcore, no-holds-barred, action vengeance fest. Sadly, it comes over watered down and fairly tame, with a lame ending that leaves the movie feeling confused and unsatisfying. Think Knockaround Guys, and you’re about there.

    The video is excellent.

    Sound is above average.

    The extras are minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using S-Video output
DisplayBeko 28" (16x9). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersEnergy - Front, Rear, Centre & Subwoofer

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