Here’s a question for you: is it time to add Vin Diesel to the list of actors whose career is defined entirely by a single film franchise? Sure, Diesel has shown up in other successful movies throughout his careers — Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant, and Guardians of the Galaxy have all been critical and commercial successes, not to mention his more niche productions like Find Me Guilty and his Riddick movies — but none of this holds a candle to his work on the Fast and Furious franchise. He’s been producer, screenwriter, and star of those movies for over 16 years now… I mean, nobody goes up to William Shatner and praises him for his work in Judgment at Nuremberg, right?
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage only made $44 million in the U.S. last January against a reported $85 million budget. But it also grossed an incredible $301 million overseas, where star Vin Diesel remains an even bigger draw than he is here in the States. Weird belly tattoos, it seems, are the international language of love.
In the final scene of Guardians of the Galaxy, Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord asked Zoe Saldana’s Gamora what they should do next. “Something good, something bad?” he wonders, before settling on “a bit of both.”
Fambly. Chances are you just read that word in the gravel-voiced growl of babyfaced colossus Vin Diesel, the star of the Fast and Furious franchise that turned those two syllables into a catchphrase, and then into a way of life. In no small way, Diesel is the series, and not just because his name makes him sound like he’s already a character in one of these movies. As noble-hearted car jacker Dom Toretto, he helped shape the tone, themes, and overall outlook of all films fast and furious. But he was this close to missing it all, and going through life primarily identified as “the guy in the xXx movies I always tell my wife I was trying to Google.”
For years, one of the internet’s dirty little secrets has been that people really enjoy The Fate of the Furious: Tokyo Drift. A healthy flop at the time of its release — the film’s $60 million gross is half that of 2 Fast 2 Furious, the second-lowest grossing movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise — Tokyo Drift has climbed steadily back into fans’ favor due to the lasting appeal of Sung Kang’s Han Lue and a bit of chronological trickery in a later film that boosted this one’s reputation. It’s amazing how much better a film gets when you stop being mad at it for failing to bring back any of the main characters.
FYI dudes, a new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer is premiering tomorrow night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (that guy sure is having a good week), and even though it’s only a day and some change away, Marvel has generously offered up a short teaser for James Gunn’s highly-anticipated sequel. In addition to showing off what appears to be the space-equivalent of a campfire, the new sneak peek reveals our first look at the return of Nebula, played by Karen Gillan.