This weekend, Vin Diesel returns to the Pitch Black universe with Riddick: Rule the Dark. Personally, I think Vin should take on more genre films, because there’s something about him that is perfect for science fiction and fantasy. You might think of Vin Diesel as a big, hulking action star in mindless films, and while some of that might be true, he’s way more complexly awesome. Here’s why.
Quintessentially a 21st century American with a mixed-race background, Vin Diesel doesn’t really sound like anyone else. In fact, he sometimes sounds like he’s from the future! If we imagine the way humanity is headed in terms of racial barriers disappearing over time, a futuristic human might seem super unique to us in the way Vin Diesel does now. Hopefully the future also includes gym memberships to wherever Vin goes.
He’s Funny While Still Being Cool
Something I find a little lacking in action heroes, particularly those in sci-fi fantasy movies is the necessity for the hero to be dark and brooding. Often if the hero is funny, he’s also goofy. Vin Diesel is neither of these things. He’s a big, awesome badass dude and also can say things like “I’m going to kill you with this tea cup,” and make it hilarious.
Chronicles of Riddick was His Idea
There seems to be a general cynical notion about a film which we could call a “Vin Diesel” vehicle, usually involving Vin Diesel getting into an actual vehicle and destroying it somehow. We know what these movies are. Some of us secretly love them. But the Pitch Black sequel; Chronicles of Riddick was partly Vin’s idea. Plus, he even convinced a skeptical Dame Judi Dench to be a part of it! No one is making Vin do genre films like the Riddick series.
He’s Always a Fish-Out-of-Water
Whether it’s XXX or the Riddick series, Vin Diesel is kind of great at playing a character who is the odd-man-out. With science fiction and fantasy, this lends itself well as both being an audience surrogate to a crazy speculative premise, but also creates easy dramatic tension. In regard to Riddick in specific, with both feel like we are on his side and also afraid of him. He’s not really an anti-hero, but more of science fiction mystery.
He Digs His Fans Bigtime
Interaction with fandom and listening to what the people want is a big part of genre culture. Where would any poplur fictional universe be without people dressing up as their favorite characters? And while there aren’t quite enough people rocking Riddick at Comic Con as I would like, it doesn’t mean Vin Diesel doesn’t talk to his fans a lot about what they want to see. This, is how it’s done correctly.
He Seems Nice
To be clear: I follow Vin Diesel on Facebook. There are a lot of really corny successories posted there all the time, complete with pictures of Vin Diesel and quotes mentioning how you need to believe in yourself, or release your inner beast or whatever. But you know what? It makes me think he’s a nice guy and good person. There’s a lot of nutso ego in big movies, particularly those in genre. And though I may be wrong, Vin Diesel seems really, really nice. It’s not something necessary to being awesome in a genre movie, but, I’m just sayin’.
What genre project should Vin tackle next?