Saturday, March 18, 2006

This Diesel's Got Guns...

The first time I saw Vin Diesel it was in Saving Private Ryan. He came across as a pretty convincing character, cool, New York native and killed in action doing the right thing for a young French girl. He made absolutely no impression on me. Being a secondary character I never gave him another thought until I saw him again in Pitch Black. Since I had no memory of him from Private Ryan (I guess Tom Hank’s star shone too brightly in my eyes or he died too early in the film) I mistakenly think that this is the first film I ever saw him in. It seems that this guy is one of those actors who comes across as too cool and too dumb for his own good. He’s got one thing going for him, he’s from New York where coming across as less intelligent than you really are, is sometimes a very good thing.

He reminds me of young Sly Stallone. A guy who, while preferring a tough guy persona, is probably much more talented than he lets on. Let’s hope Vin doesn’t fall into the same trap of falling so in love with his tough guy image that he forgets that he has some real talent. Vin started off as an independent filmmaker, taking his short film, “Multi-Facial” to Cannes in 1995. Not a small feat that garnered the attention of one Steven Spielberg who had the role of Carpazo created specifically for the young actor. Not a bad start, eh?

Good thing I don’t give advice to actors because it seems tough guy roles are getting this guy lots of attention. He went on from Carpazo to play Riddick in Pitch Black. There he was an ex-con with a special gift for seeing in the dark. (He had a surgeon perform the operation on him while incarcerated on a planet prison where the lights are always out.) I liked this movie. I really liked it. The plot was classic SciFi and the character of Riddick was just bad enough to make him loveable and questionable. Of course you knew he had a heart and really wanted to help those poor people but his agent said he had to keep up it real if he wanted more roles that made him look like the guy everyone looked up to in high school. The one that we knew was cool but also had a soft spot for the little guy but only knew that in this world you had to be tough to survive, especially if you didn’t want anyone screwing your hot sister.

So from Pitch Black we got The Fast And The Furious, Riddick on cool wheels, XXX, Riddick on a mission from the government and then Chronicle of Riddick, Riddick on, well, Riddick. Even tough guys find their lives coming back to a full circle I guess. So Vin Diesel is cool. I know that, you know that, your girlfriend knows it. When I heard that “they” were doing The Chronicles of Riddick I got really excited. I thought, Great! We get to see more about this really cool, loveable but questionable tough guy whose agent thinks he’s a better tough guy than a talent. Sure he breathes his lines like he’s reading them off the side of a tuna can but who cares, he’s cool. And he fights like a some bitch.

Then there is Vin Diesel’s little secret. One that I never knew. How could I? I didn’t think the guy existed before Pitch Black. Vin was the voice of the robot in the Iron Giant! When I found that out I flipped. That is one of my favorite animated films of all time. So cemented in the annuls of science fiction is the new tough guy. Vin Diesel, Riddick, Carpazo and the Iron Giant.


:P fuzzbox said...

I did not know that he was the voice of The Iron Giant. My respect for him has grown. That was one awesome bit of animated genious.

The Phoenix said...

I had no idea either. Whoa.

Pitch Black was a very good movie. I caught in on Sci-Fi and I wondered if it was actually released in theatres.

ObilonKenobi said...

Sure. Pitch Black was a real good scifi movie. I loved that movie so I had high hopes for Chronicles of Riddick. I wasn't thrilled but it was OK. It seems that Vin Diesel is an underrated actor who chooses macho tough guys roles instead of expanding his horizons. Yes, his acting is flat but he has potential. I mean, the Iron Giant, for G-d's sake!