When the name ‘Vin Diesel’ is mentioned, a beefy, muscular person who performs breathtaking stunts in action films comes to mind. It’s surprising to note that his first break in acting happened by chance, when he was 7 and broke into a theater along with some friends, with the intent to vandalise it. A woman stopped them and offered them each a script and 20 dollars but only if they would attend classes there everyday after school was out. And as they say, the rest is history.
Today, Vin Diesel is a renowned actor with a net worth of $160 million. His deep baritone is almost iconic and he has starred in a series of blockbusters. Here is a look at the list of top Vin Diesel films selected from his vast filmography. You can watch some of these best Vin Diesel movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
12. The Pacifier (2005)
A predictable plot does not take anything away from what the film actually is – A family friendly, comedy romp. It has both funny moments and touching moments. Diesel plays Lt. Shane, who happens to be a Navy SEAL tasked with protecting the children of a top scientist. There is some kooky overacting my the characters at times, however, this is not surprising seeing the fact that this is a Disney film. The side-plots involving the children’s school are entertaining. All in all, a great film for a one time watch with your family.
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11. Riddick (2013)
Riddick is a popcorn flick but a very entertaining one at that. The Chronicles of Riddick is a franchise, with 3 films and a fourth on the way. While it is an entertaining thrill ride of a film, ‘Riddick’ does not have a happy go-lucky plot which is stereotypical of most films of the same genre. It is a muddy, bloody and painfully dark film which invokes gasps of awe from the audience. The dialogue of the film is also well written and does away with the cliche cheesy lines which make the audience cringe. A genuinely, fun and inventive sci-fi film.
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10. xXx (2002)
Even though the two films which followed were laughably bad, the first one was a decent movie. You do need to put your brain at hold to enjoy the film completely but you definitely will have fun with the stunts diesel pulls off as Xander Cage in the movie. There’s some humour thrown in with a some one-liners, that you will chuckle at and the Bond-spoofs the film attempts to make are smartly hilarious. Samuel L. Jackson also puts in a good performance as the Agent Gibbons. While the movie is not a masterpiece of cinema, it is an exciting film that satisfies your hunger for cheap thrills.
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9. Pitch Black (2000)
The first film in ‘The Chronicles of Riddick’ series. Most films that pit humans against horrendous extra terrestrials wind up looking like cheap imitations of the ‘Aliens’ series. However, ‘Pitch Black’ stands out as a great sci-fi movie. A noteworthy aspect of the film is the lighting, the movie uses many different shades and intensities of light which set the mood for the film and give it a unique feel. ‘Pitch Black’ is, in essence, a survival story. It’s well written characters make the film stand out from the rest. A beautifully filmed, nicely performed, modern sci-fi action classic.
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8. Boiler Room (2000)
For a movie about brokers in an investment firm, the film stays as close to reality as it could be. Boiler Room has a group of young actors that all play their parts well. They portray a convincing range of emotions, from cunning manipulators of their clients’ wealth during office hours, to brief examples of their boyish shenanigans after hours. The plot is built completely around their personal financial greed, the hapless victims they scam to realise it and a sense of mystery that plants many seeds of possibilities along the way. The romantic angles are kept to a minimum, this serves to benefit the film. I might even go as far as to say that ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ may have picked up an idea or two from this film.
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7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
In Hollywood, its rare that the sequel to a film can be as good as the original. However, the MCU did it again, with the sequel to ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. The plot is interesting enough to keep you engaged and the pacing never really drags, even with the movie’s long duration. The action starts right from the opening scene and lasts throughout the film. The soundtrack, just like the first film, fits right into place and helps in setting the tone of the film. Baby Groot, voiced by Diesel, is just as lovable, carrying on his trademark three word dialogue from the first film, when he was much bigger.
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6. Fast Five (2011)
At a time when interest in the the Fast and Furious franchise was fading, ‘Fast Five’ surprised everyone and renewed interest in the series with this energetic film. The movie is packed with jaw dropping, eye popping action right from the beginning to the end. ‘Fast Five’ ditches the street racing theme that made it’s name and is largely a heist film. Action junkies should find themselves thrilled by the impressive set pieces and the testosterone filled mix of car and foot action. Rio De Janiero provides the backdrop in which this installment takes place and its variety of locations make for some really inventive action sequences. The film also marked Dwayne Johnson’s entry into the franchise as the persistent FBI operative Hobbs. Interest in the series is beginning to fade again and it will require something like ‘Fast Five’ to get the series back on its feet.
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5. The Fast and The Furious (2001)
The film that gave birth to one of the longest running series in the history of cinema. If ‘chick flick’ was a type of film, this movie would be the exact opposite of that, a ‘dude flick’. This movie is a complete treat for petrol-heads as it has some of the best car racing scenes ever filmed, as well as the best looking cars. ‘The Fast and The Furious’ was the best installment of the series, with its well executed action sequences, top notch editing, well laid out camera work and some good performances from Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. (May he Rest in Peace) This film definitely takes its place among the best ‘car movies’ ever made.
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4. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Who is the most loved character in this film? What is the most famous line from this film? Groot. “I am Groot”. Vin Diesel voices the beloved Groot in this film. One of the unexpected hits of 2014, this hilarious production which happens to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film achieves the right balance of comedy, action and emotion, blended perfectly and topped off with some great CGI, makes for a great watch. A joyous sci-fi romp through beautifully realised worlds, wildly inventive action sequences and a non-stop barrage of humour and fun. Marvel’s success seems to lie in its creativity, its ability to invent and innovate and this film is an example of just that.
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3. Find Me Guilty (2006)
When a role that was initially courted for Joe Pesci was given to Vin Diesel, people had their doubts. The film focuses on Jack DiNorscio (Played by Diesel), an accused mobster, who decides to defend himself in court instead of hiring a lawyer. Based on true events, most of the movie’s dialogue is taken from the original records of the trial, which happened to be the longest Mafia trial in NYC history. Anyone questioning Vin Diesel’s versatility before this film was silenced. As a matter of fact, Director Sidney Lumet had this to say about Vin Diesel in one of his press conferences: “People make the great mistake with action heroes. They think that because generally the plots are simpler and their behavior is one-note that they can’t act. But most of the time they can.” Diesel has to show a wide range of emotions and deliver some intense dialogue. He manages to carry the film by doing this and more. Peter Dinklage as the lead defense attorney is also a delight to watch. Even though this film isn’t at the top of this list, it features the best acting performance from Diesel.
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2. The Iron Giant (1999)
While the film is animated, it happens to be a masterpiece for both adults and children alike. The animation is gorgeous, the musical score by Michael Kamen is perfect and the film is successful at evoking the 1950s. The movie also has a great message about the choices we make when dealing with other people. The characters seem real and chosen to fit the story, instead of being a superficial reshuffling of an old formula. The Giant itself, played by Vin Diesel happens to be a great character, who only becomes more interesting as the film continues. ‘The Iron Giant’ is a funny, exhilarating film with a heartbreaking and emotionally shattering climax.
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1. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Yes, Vin Diesel was in this film. As a matter of fact, the film was one of his first ventures onto the big screen. Vin Diesel plays Private Caparzo in this multiple Oscar winning film. This is one of the greatest war movies ever made. Watching ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is an experience. It throws you onto the streets of Normandy and has you believing you experienced the war first hand. The movie has the trademark style of Steven Speilberg, the structure is tied up and unified from the beginning to the end with an abundance of emotional symbols, the music swells when the film plays at your emotions, the camera angles and periods of silence to disorient the audience. I always believe that the biggest robbery that ever happened at the Oscars was when ‘Shakespeare in Love’ was given Best Picture over ‘Saving Private Ryan’ in 1999. Outstanding visuals, Oscar worthy performances and a brilliant soundtrack make this film an all-time classic.
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