Best Movies Starring Vin Diesel

Photo: Vince Bucci (Getty Images)

The pure choice of his artistic name “Vin Diesel” made Mark Sinclair’s career path determined – big muscles, fast cars, all weapons, huge explosions. Pure action. And Diesel, as we all know him, swam in those waters like an Olympian, although the competition wasn’t as strong as it was in the ’90s when Arnold Schwarzenegger ruled the genre. While Vin Diesel has been on the scene for more than 20 years and has been pretty highly regarded and famous throughout it, he doesn’t have too many films.

Out of 24 feature films he has done, six are set in the Fast and Furious world, three in the Riddick universe, and he had played twice in the xXx movies, the unlikeliest of all franchises. He once tried to pull a Schwarzenegger and do a silly, family style comedy with The Pacifier and that went abysmal, so he’s keeping it to its genre for most of the times. Diesel even has a contract clause which obligates the movie maker that he cannot lose a fight, in order to protect his tough-guy brand.

The Fast and the Furious (2001)
Vin Diesel, Paul Walker

Image: Universal Pictures

An against the grain opinion here – the last three Fast and Furious movies are absolutely ridiculous to the point that they hurt the brain, the first one was the only great movie starring Vin Diesel. It’s grounded in reality regardless of how distant the world of street-racing looks to people who are not actually in it. Yes, the stakes and the atmosphere around it are amped in the first movie, but it introduces the world perfectly, delivers on a lot of great, theoretically possible action sequences. It ends up being a solid crime action story with Diesel becoming synonymous with the tough guy Dominic Toretto after a moment of screen-time.

Fast Five has the story that would make a seven-year-old cringe after thinking it during his play time, laughing at the laws of physics with The Rock launching himself like he’s a Harrier jet, other people flying Toy Story style, huge safe being dragged like it’s made of butter, and similar. The following movies just juke up the laughable antics and widen the sets.

Find Me Guilty (2006)

This movie has a special thing going for it – it features Vin Diesel with hair, a sight as rare as unicorns. Besides Vin Diesel hair it also has this-cannot-be-true true story of Jack DiNorscio, a mobster who chose to defend himself in the court of law, in what would be the longest mafia-related trial in the history of United States. A role that is a wish for any actor and Diesel proved here that the action genre is his conscious choice and not the only option he has, as he transformed himself and delivers on the comedy and the drama side of DiNorscio.

Boiler Room (2000)

The strong young cast of Boiler Room included Ben Affleck, Giovanni Ribisi, and Scott Caan besides Diesel, yet Diesel stole the show with his on-screen presence. The story about a group of young brokers having their shot at success takes some unexpected turns and what seems like the prequel to the Wolf of Wall Street gets a serious crime drama thriller tone. It’s the first movie that put Diesel directly in front of the camera without being covered by a helmet or overshadowed by bigger stars.

Pitch Black (2000)
Vin Diesel as Riddick

Image: USA Films

A small budget sci-fi horror movie that immediately formed a cult following around it, and again it seemed like Vin Diesel was the only possible choice for the role. Diesel embodies the highly dangerous and feared convict who cuts loose on a sun-scorched planet after a transport ship carrying him crashes. Quickly enough the survivors find out that he’s not the one they should be fearing, as the new world has some more terrifying creatures. The movie manages to pull you in it making you feel like you’re just one of the survivors in the group, not a guy watching the movie. While it spawned two sequels, first one having a massive budget, they didn’t live up to the original and seemed somewhat cartoonish.

Knockaround Guys (2001)

A little-known film cemented the tough guy label Vin Diesel got around the movie industry, and it’s one of the main reasons why we got to see him in roles like Toretto and Riddick. Playing alongside a lot of good actors that fit into the category “know his face, not his name”, it’s probably Diesel’s most macho role, and that is saying a lot. Diesel’s character helps his friend in their quest to step out of their gangster father’s shadows and do a job. But the job goes wrong and Vin Diesel gets to deliver some of the most badass lines of his entire career, while also flexing his muscles to the A-star list.

Vin Diesel movies – honorable mentions  

While he didn’t star in these movies, they are too good not to be acknowledged. Vin Diesel basically got his first real role in the greatest war movie ever made – Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998). Year after the actor gave his voice to the Iron Giant in the same-named animated movie, an instant classic in its own right, but he doesn’t have too many lines in it.

Please tell us which Vin Diesel movie is your favorite?