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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Diesel sets himself ‘Apart’

There is no better way to spend part of one’s Easter weekend than watching a slew of drug-traffickin’ baddies get riddled with lead by one of Hollywood’s most promising rising stars. That star is Vin Diesel, and his movie “A Man Apart” is a great action flick detailing the international mess that is often referred to as the “War on Drugs.”

The viewer is introduced to DEA veteran agent Sean Vetter (Diesel, “XXX”), a man who lives for his beautiful wife — until she is killed in a midnight hit on his home by a rising drug cartel whose “higher ups” see Vetter as an obstacle of sorts. Vetter begins visiting a cartel kingpin, whom he put away for two life sentences in order to gain leads on the rising cartel that identifies itself only as “Diablo.”

Soon, Vetter begins letting his emotions take control, and before long he turns two DEA set-ups into “mush” (a delightful mixture consisting of corpses, demolished vehicles and big explosions). Due to his “insubordination,” Vetter is suspended for six months pending a psychological examination.

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That’s when things get good. Torn between sanity and vengeance for his wife, Vetter and his long-time partner take a vigilante style to their investigation and simply load up SUVs with large firearms and bullet-proof vests to take to the streets of Los Angeles.

Many might chastise Diesel for limiting his roles to mostly action movies, but let’s face it: Vin Diesel is the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sure, he’s easy to poke fun at, but Diesel brings something to his films that Arnold has lost to morals: unpredictability. Unless he’s the Terminator, you can expect Arnold always to do the right thing, even if it means slapping cuffs on the man who ate his children.

Diesel, however, comes across as much more complex, which leaves the viewer asking if Vin will do the right thing or if he’ll do what feels good. For the record, Vin Diesel likes punching peoples’ heads in because, hey, it makes him feel good.

Nothing points out this recurrent Diesel characteristic better than “A Man Apart,” most notably when he botches a DEA set up by beating his sleazy counterpart to death for calling his wife “a stupid bitch.”

This film also does a decent job of providing the viewer an emotional attachment to the plot, and Diesel does an excellent job capitalizing on those emotions, doing so with a small amount of dialogue, highlighted by witty catch phrases (not unlike his Austrian colleague Arnold).

It seems Diesel puts more effort into his films than many action stars because Vin Diesel is famous, but he hasn’t quite “made it” in Hollywood. However, Diesel’s larger-than-life roles make it much easier to make that jump from stardom to superstardom, a leap often fraught with late nights, easy women and top-notch drugs.

Despite this bumpy road, Diesel comes across as very serious about his work in all of his films. His role in “Saving Private Ryan,” though small, was little less than unforgettable. It is because of these professional acting ethics (which Diesel appears to apply on-screen as well as off) that make him less likely to fall into that dangerous gap that separates movie stars from us lesser creatures.

He has a regular-guy, easy-going attitude about him in public, which makes cinema fans able to relate. Since a guy like Diesel is just so likeable (either because you like him, or because you don’t want him to squash you), there can be no way this young actor is headed anywhere but right to the top.

Grade: B

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