Stars: * 1/2
Rating: R for graphic violence, language, drugs and sexuality
Run Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Vin Diesel follows up jam-packed testosterone-pumper “XXX” with an uncharacteristic Sensitive Guy tale. The brand of Sensitive Guy who vows a vengeful world of hurt on the drug lord who murdered his wife.
As described in Diesel’s monotone voice-over, he doesn’t look like a cop or act like a cop, ‘cause he’s got that edge that comes from growing up on the street. (zzzzzz). Diesel’s Sean Vetter is a DEA operative specializing in US/Mexican border drug wars. He’s got a beautiful wife, an exciting career, and fab So Cal beach digs light years beyond a straight cop’s meager budget.
When Vetter single-handedly takes down one of the biggest players in the game (you go, Sean!), all hell breaks loose. The Baja Cartel gets their revenge by offing Vetter’s wife, at which point Vetter’s tightly controlled psyche springs a hefty leak.
The lucrative drug pipeline is Vetter’s playground, and he works it with a vicious fury, spouting entertaining import statistics (50 metric tons of cocaine a month flowing over the borders) while maniacally searching for El Diablo, the mythical deity of the cojones-heavy Cartel.
Clunky pacing, poorly lit action sequences, and bad scripting (“If I wanted you dead, you would be”) do nothing to impress. On the upside, Diesel sneaks in a glimpse or two of genuine emotion regarding Deep Feelings for his dearly departed spouse.
Supporting players are mostly cartoonish, Drug Lord cutouts. High visual marks for the sinister dealer with tattooed hieroglyphics in place of eyebrows. Best of show (I use the term loosely) goes to Timothy Olyphant as wacked-out peddler Hollywood Jack, flaunting his best imitation of Jeffrey Wright’s memorable Peoples Hernandez (“Shaft”).