Vin Diesel's Top Five Action Films
Vin Diesel's Top Five Action Films
When Vin Diesel announced his casting as Groot in the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy" by Marvel Studios, any fan of action films knew the franchise was gaining yet another valuable asset. Over the years, Diesel has proven himself a capable action hero, driving the success of more than one franchise. While some of his action films have proven more successful than others, a few really bring his action star power to the forefront.
Undoubtedly, Vin Diesel's breakout role was his performance as the convict Riddick in 2000's sci-fi thriller "Pitch Black." When a transport ship crashes on a strange planet surrounded by three suns, the crew discovers a race of predators that survive only in darkness, and an upcoming solar eclipse threatens to unleash them on the survivors. Released from custody, Riddick helps the crew members in their fight to survive but always looks for an edge on the others in order to escape. Ultimately, the film was nothing special in terms of story and did a decent job at the box office, but it created a fan-favorite character Diesel would revisit on film and in video games.
"The Fast and the Furious"
Diesel's most iconic role is that of Dominic Toretto, who first graced the screen in 2001's "The Fast and the Furious." Toretto is the head of a street racing crew, and Brian O'Conner (Paul Walker) is an LAPD officer sent to infiltrate the street racing scene and take down the criminals. O'Conner soon begins to respect the code these racers follow and finds his loyalties challenged when he realizes that Toretto may be on the wrong side of the law is no villain. The film is full of high-speed action and street iron that will send any car fanatic over the moon, and its substantial success at the box office ensured a long string of sequels.
Once Vin Diesel proved he was a substantial box-office draw in ensemble casts, it was time for him to try a starring role. The release of 2002's "xXx" was an attempt to build a franchise around Diesel and Diesel alone, putting him in the role of a James Bond-esque secret agent. Xander Cage is a stuntman and extreme sports enthusiast who ends up roped into working for the NSA in an undercover mission to foil terrorists. "xXx" received mixed reviews at the box office, but its $277 million take ensured that the producers would take at least one more swing with the character in 2005's "xXx: State of the Union."
"The Chronicles of Riddick"
While "Pitch Black" hadn't been an enduring success at the box office, fans latched on to Diesel's performance as Richard B. Riddick and gave the film substantial cult appeal. This led to 2004's "The Chronicles of Riddick," a sequel expanding on the far-future universe hinted at in the first film and centering the story on Diesel's eponymous character. This entry in the series sees Riddick caught up in a conflict between ancient powers, and the reluctant antihero may be the key to saving the universe from the scourge of a fanatic army bent on conquering all of known space. The film suffered from poor reviews and box-office performance but picked up a following on DVD. The year 2004 also saw the release of the first Riddick video game, followed by a second in 2009 and a third Riddick film in 2013.
After the first "The Fast and the Furious" film, Vin Diesel dropped out of the franchise, skipping the second film and appearing in a cameo in 2006's "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift." He rejoined in the fourth installment, "Fast & Furious," but by then, the street racing franchise was showing its age. In 2011, however, director Justin Lin drastically reinvented the series, moving away from racing action and producing the heist film "Fast Five." The fifth entry in the franchise reunites the most popular characters from earlier films and introduces Dwayne Johnson as lawman Luke Hobbs, a new nemesis for the heroes as they attempt to steal millions from a vicious crime lord. While "Fast Five" still features plenty of fast cars and speed, the film relies on the kind of action and epic set pieces found in conventional blockbusters. The formula proved successful, earning $626 million at the box office and spawning an immediate sequel, "Fast & Furious 6." The seventh film in the franchise was in production when Diesel's costar Paul Walker died in a car crash on Nov. 30, 2013, casting some uncertainty on the future of the action series.