10+ Best Vin Diesel Movies Not Including The Fast & Furious Franchise

Fans of “Fast and the Furious” have been wondering for years: Are you Team Johnson or Team Diesel? One might make a strong argument that Dwayne Johnson, and not Vin Diesel, is the Fast Saga’s main star given the latter’s distinguished reputation as an action hero and family-film icon. Diesel’s career may not have enjoyed the same level of critical acclaim as that of his on-screen counterpart, but the actor and producer has nonetheless amassed a body of work that is equally compelling despite its sporadic failures.

Who else except Vin Diesel could leave two lucrative franchises—The Fast and the Furious and “xXx”—before coming back and taking the lead behind the scenes? Particularly when compared to some of his co-stars, Diesel is an underrated talent, and the friendship between Diesel the actor and Diesel the producer is quite fascinating. Diesel’s determination to follow his instincts and take on roles that others had written off has resulted in more achievements than you may imagine, even after his time as Dominic Toretto. Simply peruse his filmography. How much good stuff there is to appreciate can surprise you.

A Man Apart

Cop-centric films have existed for as long as there have been cop movies, and vice versa. “A Man Apart” is, for the most part, a passable thriller that allows Diesel the chance to combine his action star talent with more serious emotional acting. Diesel plays Sean Vetter, a DEA agent who is on the verge of self-destruction, with more than enough scepticism. Diesel gives a shell-shocked performance as a result, elevating the otherwise forgettable Mexican cartel thriller B-movie.

Although “A Man Apart” is simply a mediocre film, it represents a turning point in the Diesel Cinematic Universe. Diesel and filmmaker F. Gary Gray worked together for the first time on this film. Gray then helmed “The Fate of the Furious” and is still working on projects with Diesel. If you need to comprehend Diesel as a producer in order to properly appreciate Diesel as a performer, as Diesel’s career would seem to suggest, then “A Man Apart” was a significant step forward for Diesel as his impact in the industry started to increase.


Vin Diesel was probably always going to star in a comic book adaption because he is an outright nerd who appears to spend much of his leisure time collecting action franchises. David S. F. Wilson’s adaption of the well-known Valiant Comics character “Bloodshot,” which pits an unstoppable, undead super-soldier against another wicked corporation with paramilitary objectives, primarily depends on the director’s skills in special effects. Bloodshot should hold a particular place in the hearts of action enthusiasts because to its imaginatively produced — and even more imaginatively illuminated — underground combat sequence (more reds and blues in action sequences, please!). The fight scenes alone make the movie worth watching.

Additionally, “Bloodshot” is a small shift for Diesel, who typically loves characters who uphold a strict moral code. Diesel deviates from his usual role in “Bloodshot” by making his character more “Memento” than Toretto. It’s also important to note that “Bloodshot” was one of the final movies to arrive in cinemas before the 2020 pandemic, making it the final big-screen experience that many moviegoers were able to have. It’s comforting to know that we pushed the pause button with something a little different in a world where the majority of superhero movies are made from the same fabric.

Boiler Room

The stock market is one of the most frequently discussed subjects in American movies, which undoubtedly tells something about our country. Wall Street, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short, and Margin Call are just a few examples of films that go in-depth about a system that was created to assist the wealthy get even richer. With those greats, “Boiler Room,” a crime thriller about the fictitious brokerage firm J.T. Marlin, belongs.

Diesel’s harsh veneer is always compromised by empathy that is barely below the surface, if “Boiler Room” is any indication. Without a doubt, we think that the majority of the “Boiler Room” characters are males who worship “Wall Street,” oblivious to the sarcasm in that movie. However, in the last few minutes of the film, Diesel’s senior broker decides to give a client who is in need of money another chance. His vicious exterior crumbles when given the chance to act morally. Diesel shows once more that the gruffest of teddy bear roles are where his true star power lies.

Another significant turning point in Diesel’s career after “Saving Private Ryan” occurred with this movie: Diesel continues to establish himself as a rising star in Hollywood as he faces off against a former “Saving Private Ryan” co-star in “Boiler Room,” this time Giovanni Ribisi.

Find Me Guilty

Even if you’ve seen every other movie on this list, “Find Me Guilty” is the only one that will allow you to really assess Diesel’s acting talent.
The legendary Sydney Lumet, whose body of work ranges from “Dog Day Afternoon” through “Network,” directed this 2006 blockbuster as his concluding production.
A suitable bookend to Lumet’s debut film, “12 Angry Men,” which likewise employed a courtroom drama to explore the strengths (and weaknesses) of the American legal system, is “Find Me Guilty. The outcome is definitely the best performance in Vin Diesel’s action-packed career, and Jackie DiNorscio, played by Diesel, is a fantastic character.

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The high-profile trial of 20 members of the Lucchese criminal family, then the largest in New York, is shown in the movie “Find Me Guilty,” which is based on actual events. Low-ranking syndicate member DiNorscio, played by Diesel, fires his attorney and opts to represent himself. Soon, DiNorscio’s damaging trail catches up with both the prosecution and the defence. Diesel owns his role as the sad clown in “Find Me Guilty,” a figure who is loaded to the brim with bravado while also yearning for recognition from the rest of his family. While making billion-dollar action films rather than arthouse independents is not Diesel’s fault, let’s hope he takes more chances in the second half of his career.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Vin Diesel’s career would still be regarded as successful even if he had never produced a single movie outside of the “Fast and the Furious” series. Unlike other actors, Diesel now has Marvel credentials in addition to all of his other achievements courtesy to James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Most actors aren’t fortunate enough to discover one successful property to bear their names. Although many performers could likely find variation and poignancy in Groot’s three-word phrases, it is difficult to envision anyone but Diesel pulling off such an incredible feat with so little (even when asked to play a teenage Groot in the later films).

Similar to “The Iron Giant,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” makes excellent use of Diesel’s distinctive snarl to highlight his underappreciated voice acting abilities. Diesel’s voice has an element that is both otherworldly and human; we accept him as an extraterrestrial and a living robot while also accepting the characters’ ever-evolving sympathy. The “Guardians of the Galaxy” ending will only work if we accept Groot as both a merciless killer and a kindhearted soul. Diesel has turned the technique of balancing the crispy surface and chewy interior into an art form.

Knockaround Guys

Lawrence Bender has extensive experience producing Quentin Tarantino’s talky movies about organised crime. The debut feature from co-directors Brian Koppelman and David Levien, “Knockaround Guys,” most definitely fits that description. Diesel plays a New York heavy who travels to rural America with a boyhood friend to find a bag of mob money that has been stolen in the film. Diesel gives the best performance in the movie despite a cast that includes actors like Tom Noonan and John Malkovich.

Diesel’s Taylor Reese is not the typical muscle in a post-modern gangster movie; in “Knockaround Guys,” organised crime in New York City is on the decline, with only a few elderly mafia bosses keeping the old ways alive. Every other character is motivated by either custom or family (or occasionally both), but Reese is just stuck. He was always going to lead a violent life. Watch for the bar scene in which Diesel delivers a witty monologue about winning 500 street fights and losing himself somewhere along the line in the movie. Diesel’s range may not be stretched by the role, but that doesn’t make him any less entertaining to watch on television.

Pitch Black

Richard B. Riddick will always be Vin Diesel’s most intriguing character; Dominic Toretto will always be his most well-known. It’s difficult to understand why “Pitch Black” was so popular with science fiction aficionados in the early 2000s if you weren’t there. Foreign horror movies and sequels to popular franchises dominated the box office at the time. A sophisticated, low-budget thriller like “Pitch Black” was bound to stand out because sci-fi, in contrast, faltered. Diesel also discovered the ideal antihero for his specialised set of abilities by looking at the world via Riddick’s light-enhanced pupils.

“Pitch Black” wastes very little time getting to the point, just like the best B-movies. The crew of a spaceship is introduced to us when they crash to the ground, and what little background we learn about each character merely serves as a hint at a larger universe beyond them. Vin Diesel’s characters have a rough appearance, a tender inner, and a sense of humour that has been honed over a lifetime of hardships. Riddick is the prototypical Vin Diesel character. Diesel has spent his whole career doing everything in his power to keep Riddick alive, proving that he fell in love with the role at first sight (more on that in a minute).

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Saving Private Ryan


The film “Saving Private Ryan” by Steven Spielberg is full of horrifying deaths. Hell, anyone who is bold enough to watch it again will find that the entire movie is an exercise in sadness. However, the loss of Adrian Caparzo, played by Vin Diesel, has always been the most difficult to overcome. The murder of Caparzo by a German sniper is a brilliant example of Spielbergian emotional manipulation: A dying man is aware that he is going to die, but before his father’s letter can be found, other soldiers must clear the battlefield. It’s equally lovely and terrifying.

Famously, Diesel’s role in “Saving Private Ryan” was made possible by Steven Spielberg’s admiration for Diesel’s passionate 1995 short film “Multi-Facial,” which chronicled an actor trying to code-switch to appease New York City casting directors. While Diesel only has a small amount of screen time in “Saving Private Ryan,” his part is crucial and prepares the audience for the last act’s carnage. Because of Caparzo’s passing, it is evident that any member of the cast could pass away at any time and that doing the right thing could result in death (Caparzo exposes himself to the sniper when trying to rescue a little girl). This is the best example of a tiny performance that makes a difference.


Vin Diesel told a story in 2020 that made a few people take notice. Diesel claims that he recently met Spielberg and was told by the renowned filmmaker that the fact that he hadn’t made a feature picture in two decades was a “crime against cinema.” And although Diesel may have been exaggerating a little, Spielberg is right about Diesel’s directing abilities. Diesel was originally on a totally different road, one that would have seen him become the New York-based equivalent of Jon Favreau during the “Swingers” era, if “Multi-Facial” and “Strays” are any indicator.

Diesel plays Rick, a 25-year-old New Yorker who sells marijuana to support his shady group of buddies in “Strays.” Rick is forced to confront his unresolved familial issues and his self-image when he falls for his uptown neighbour. “Strays” is, for the most part, a very traditional hangout movie, but Diesel uses this well-worn structure to analyse his testosterone-driven persona (in one particularly memorable scene, Rick tries to win over a refractory neighbour by singing a few verses from the Tin Man’s signature song, “If I Only Had a Brain”). It is intriguing to watch Diesel struggle with the same hyper-masculinity that later became his Hollywood lifeline, especially given that Diesel also penned the script.

The Chronicles of Riddick

Which sequel is deserving of being the last one on our list? One might make a strong case for Diesel’s attempt to “Fast and the Furious” up his other successful movie franchise, “xXx: Return of Xander Cage.” With all due respect to that movie, however, “The Chronicles of Riddick,” the 2004 “Pitch Black” sequel that has gradually gained cult classic status, must be included if we are going to find room for one sequel. Diesel and writer-director David Twohy transition from low-budget frights to high fantasy in their return as Richard B. Riddick. This movie is for you if you thought the mythology in “Dune” was a touch too pedestrian.

The world-building strategy used in “The Chronicles of Riddick” is what fans of the movie think makes the movie so amazing. Dying empires, ancient prophecies, and a feeling of scale that matches even the most expensive science fiction blockbusters are all present and correct. Diesel’s career may have come to a close with this movie, which combines his love of passion projects with sweeping mythology and extravagant spectacle. And even though Twohy and Diesel would reunite for a more straightforward approach in 2013’s “Riddick,” “The Chronicles of Riddick” continues to be the ideal example of how actor-Diesel and producer-Diesel collaborate admirably.

The Iron Giant

You owe it to yourself to look into voice acting if life hands you a set of vocal chords laced with gravel. Thankfully, Vin Diesel has experience recording voices. The actor has performed vocal work in a number of video games, including “The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay,” and Brad Bird’s “The Iron Giant,” however he may be most known for his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The latter is an animated movie that examines the Cold War again from a pacifist perspective.

Diesel plays the title character in the movie, a war machine who discovers that he may choose to be something other than a weapon. Diesel’s contribution is minimal, much like in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” as the Giant only talks in snippets and Diesel only uses 53 words in total throughout the film. The Giant, like Groot, doesn’t need to say a much to leave an impression on viewers, though. Diesel can create an empathic character out of alien tones thanks to his voice’s ability to combine human and mechanical tones. The Iron Giant is now deservedly considered as one of the best animated films of all time, in large part because to Diesel’s efforts.

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The Last Witch Hunter

Anyone who has even a passing familiarity with Vin Diesel’s professional life is aware of his love for “Dungeons & Dragons.” There are a tonne of old interviews with the actor on YouTube where he talks about his teen campaigns and how D&D influenced the way he tells stories. However, enjoying D&D is one thing. It’s quite another to base a $90-million fantasy film on your D&D character. Famously, “The Last Witch Hunter” is based on the D&D character Diesel used to play at home, and the finished work incorporates all the intricate world-building and spell-casting one may come across during a protracted campaign.

Even if it’s a little hit-or-miss, it’s difficult not to adore the movie for this. Nevertheless, “The Last Witch Hunter” is undoubtedly not light on its fantasy credentials thanks to a talented supporting cast that includes Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie, a former “Game of Thrones” actress. Moreover, many movies in Diesel’s body of work feature intertextuality, casting actors who are best known from related works and relying equally on their fame as onscreen talent. “The Last Witch Hunter” is the kind of passion project that only exists because Diesel made it so, whether you love it or hate it.

The Pacifier

Every aspiring tough guy in Hollywood is required to play the lead in a kid’s movie, which is an unspoken rule in the industry.
The film “Kindergarten Cop” stars Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Tooth Fairy” belongs to Dwayne Johnson.
More recently, Dave Bautista—he with the enormous muscles and the little glasses—displayed his sensitive side in the movie “My Spy” from 2020.
As a result, it makes sense that a young actor like Diesel would choose to star in a film like “The Pacifier,” in which he plays a Navy SEAL tasked with defending the family of an American scientist. The only distinction? This movie, in contrast to the others stated above, genuinely works.

Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, who also co-created “Reno 911!” as authors, are largely to thank for this. By downplaying awkward, adult-oriented fish-out-of-water jokes in favour of a sincere bond between Diesel’s Shane Wolfe and his new charges, their script maintains the focus on the kids. As a result, there are several points in the movie where you feel genuine empathy, particularly when Wolfe is given the job of directing a community theatre production of “The Sound of Music.” Nearly the entire price of admission just for how “The Pacifier” sets this up, with a neo-Nazi fake out that borders on being inappropriate.


Dominic Toretto was driven off a bridge in a convertible after five instalments of the Fast and the Furious film series. The first 10 minutes of “xXx” by Rob Cohen were successful in achieving the same goal. Given how precisely it defines Diesel’s on-screen identity, what seemed like a misguided attempt to appropriate youth culture in 2002—Xander Cage is both an extreme athlete and an underground video icon!—feels like a vital chapter in action-movie cinema in 2021. After all, “xXx,” in some of its more ostentatious moments, paved the way for Diesel’s more-is-more strategy in the Fast and the Furious movies.

It’s true that “xXx” struggles for roughly 20 minutes to live up to its promise of an X Games-style thriller. However, “xXx” unleashes that same over-the-top, heroic spirit that characterises so much of Diesel’s work once Diesel’s character delves into the world of international terrorism and tuned-up vehicles in earnest. Despite the fact that Ice Cube’s underwhelming performance in “xXx: State of the Union” was made possible by Diesel’s decision to withdraw from the second instalment of the series, “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” demonstrates that the actor is not scared to take a chance on himself. And more is surely coming: Diesel and his production business bought the “xXx” franchise’s rights in 2018.








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