A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is very, very violent, with a lot of firepower and many characters killed, including a woman and child. Policemen violate the civil rights of suspects, including beating them. Characters drink, smoke, and deal in drugs. They use very strong language, and a child's use of a swear word is supposed to be humorous. When a character tries to insult Sean by suggesting he is gay for turning down a lap dance, Sean gets infuriated. Black and white characters are deeply loyal to each other. Most of the drug dealers and criminals are black or Latino.
What's the story?
When DEA agents Sean Vetter (Vin Diesel) and Demetrius Hicks (Larenz Tate) bust a major drug lord, 'Memo' Lucero (Geno Silva), a more dangerous kingpin comes to power -- Diablo (Timothy Olyphant). On the orders of Diablo, Vetter is attacked, and his wife is killed. Vettner is desperate for revenge and will do anything – even teaming up with Lucero.
Is it any good?
A MAN APART is a dumb-guy-with-nothing-to-lose explosion movie, which is forgiveable, but it is a pretentious, manipulative, incompetent, and dumb explosion movie, which is not. The usual conventions are in place -- the strip club scene, the "you need some time off, give me your badge" scene, the humorous interlude with the small-time drug dealer, the partner who first says he won't go along on a boneheadly rogue mission but then shows up at the crucial moment, and of course the many, many, many moments of hitting, shooting, and blowing things up. But none of the scenes have any life, originality, or conviction. And there is this irritating effort at making it all seem more meaningful, with voiceovers that just sound silly, even with Diesel's gravelly voice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the dilemma posed to Demetrius. He must do what he thinks is right or what Sean wants him to do. Sean says at one point that "that's not my fault if somebody gets out of line." Families can discuss his failure to accept responsibility for his actions (and the police department's casual attitude toward his many violations of law and procedure).
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