Vin Diesel’s 5 Best Fast & The Furious Movies (& His 5 Other Iconic Films)
After appearing in films like Saving Private Ryan and Pitch Black, Vin Diesel blasted into international superstardom with the 2001 smash hit The Fast and The Furious. Since then, Diesel has appeared in eight Fast and the Furious movies with another two on the way. It is without question that Vin Diesel and the action mega-franchise have become synonymous with each other.
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But as Diesel is no one-trick pony, beyond the Fast and the Furious films, he has starred in a plethora of iconic movies. The actor’s career has seen him play all sorts of roles from a Navy Seal-turned-babysitter and a secret agent to even a space-traveling talking tree.
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Diesel’s 5 Best Fast & Furious Movies
Fast & Furious (2009)
The franchise that so memorably kicked off the 00’s would bring the decade full circle with a reunion of the original cast in the fourth film. Diesel sat out on 2 Fast 2 Furious and had only a brief cameo in The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.
The terrific opening scene features a downhill truck heist with Toretto driving under a barreling flaming tanker to avoid being crushed. Exhilarating chases through the desert and a tunnel under the US-Mexico border are also standout moments. The fan-favorite Fast & Furious character of Han from Tokyo Drift also returns and Gal Gadot appears in her first feature film.
Fast & Furious 6: The Game (2013)
The follow-up to Fast Five continued the next direction for the franchise established in that film. All the major players were back, including Dwayne Johnson’s Hobbs, now a Toretto ally. Gina Carano joined the series, along with Luke Evans as the film’s villain. Also introduced in the post-credit scene is Jason Statham, who would become a major character in future installments.
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The film is best remembered for a lengthy chase on an airport runway, which saw some criticism for being abnormally yet conveniently long. Other standout scenes include a chase through London and one involving a tank. The film also features the return of fan-favorite Michelle Rodriguez as Letty, who was presumed dead in the fourth film.
The Fast And The Furious (2001)
Before all the CGI-heavy over-the-top set pieces of later entries, 2001’s The Fast and the Furious is the one that started it all. A terrific cast of Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez and Jordana Brewster would establish the core of the series for years to come. Rick Yune also appears as a rival gang leader, a role that helped him win a part in the next James Bond movie.
The film was a massive hit in 2001 and changed car movies and chase scenes forever. The actions scenes were particularly acclaimed, with standout moments including a heist on a moving truck and a terrific crash with a semi-truck. The relationship between Diesel’s Toretto and Walker’s undercover cop O’Conner also brings about a fascinating dynamic.
Furious 7 (2015)
Furious 7 is a standout movie in the series for a lot of reasons. Long time franchise stand-out, Paul Walker, was tragically killed in a car accident before the film could be completed. Walker’s brother stepped in to help finish the film and the character’s final scene parting ways with Toretto, achieved with CGI, was a real tear-jerker.
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The action was bombastic as ever, with its skydiving car sequence, a car jump between two towers in Dubai, and an epic climax featuring crosscutting between several characters during a battle in Los Angeles. As a bonus for film buffs, the film’s title and lasting image of seven characters lined up references classic films Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven.
Fast Five (2011)
After the 2009 installment reinvigorated the franchise, 2011’s Fast Five took it to a whole new level. The gang heads down to beautiful Brazil for the bulk of the movie and features the biggest Fast and the Furious cast yet. Tyrese Gibson returns for the first time since 2 Fast 2 Furious and Ludacris also joins the cast.
Big the biggest addition to the cast without question was Dwayne Johnson as Agent Hobbs, who lights up the film as a major antagonist to Toretto. One of the standout moments of the film and the series is a good old-fashioned brawl between Johnson and Diesel, a dream match-up finally captured on film. Fast Five adds some of the most creative chases of the series, including one where two cars drag a massive vault at high speeds.
5 Other Iconic Vin Diesel Movies
The xXx films were an attempt by Hollywood to create a modern American James Bond. Vin Diesel was introduced as adrenaline junkie secret agent, Xander Cage. The 007 influence is abundantly clear as the code name of Triple X and the iconic flag parachute jump were both borrowed from 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me.
Though it may not reach the heights of a Bond film, xXx is a fun ride and one of Diesel’s most recognizable franchises. It features bombastic action including a skydiving snowboard drop and a car chase where cage drives off a bridge to make a daring escape. Diesel would return for the third installment in 2017.
The Iron Giant (1999)
Before he was making Mission Impossible and The Incredibles films, Brad Bird’s first feature-length directing job came in the form of a cult classic 1999 animated movie. The title character, voiced by Vin Diesel, crash lands on earth and is befriended by a young boy.
The Iron Giant is a heartwarming and exciting movie the whole family can enjoy. The relationship between young Hogarth and the Giant works really well, as the young boy fights to protect his new friend from xenophobic military men. The film has large-scale impressive moments, with the Giant’s first flight being particularly memorable.
Pitch Black (2000)
This unique horror-sci-fi thriller from 2000 is the first of Diesel’s Riddick trilogy. The film has developed a cult following, with Riddick being especially popular. The character’s unique feature is his surgically augmented eyes which allow him to see in the dark but forces him to wear goggles to avoid the pain of light.
A spaceship carrying several passengers and a prisoner, Riddick, crash lands on a strange planet with three suns. The planet is in seemingly perpetual daylight due to the suns, but an approaching eclipse will allow the photosensitive monsters who live below ground to come to the surface. What follows is a good old fashion sci-fi horror romp.
Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)
Diesel’s weirdest role is also one of his most popular. His character of Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy is an anthropomorphic tree from outer space who can grow out his limbs to use as weapons and shields. His signature catchphrase, “I am Groot,” is just about the only thing he ever says.
Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the most popular Marvel films out there and, appropriately, focuses on the theme of family. The unification of the team followed by the line “We are Groot” is one of the feel-good moments in the MCU canon. Groot died in that film but regrew from a sprig to appear in three further marvel films with more on the way.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning World War 2 drama is by far the most acclaimed film in Vin Diesel’s career. Tom Hanks leads a stellar cast including Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, and Bryan Cranston. After seeing Diesel’s prior work, Spielberg wrote the character of Caparzo specifically for him.
Although Diesel only appears in the first third of the film, he leaves a major impression on audiences. His character, Caparzo, disobeys orders to save a little girl but he is hit by a far-off sniper. A shot of the dying Caparzo’s blood being splattered by the rain is one of the lasting images of the film. Saving Private Ryan was a huge break for Vin Diesel and he soon secured starring roles in Pitch Black and The Fast and the Furious.
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