Archives for posts with tag: Vin Diesel

Grade B+


Hundreds of years into the future, a transport ship crashes into a desolate planet with no means to send a distress signal.  A captured convict (played by Vin Diesel) on his way back to prison, a bounty hunter (played by an icy Cole Hauser), a co-pilot (played by Radha Mitchell) who is focused on saving her life at the cost of others, and a handful of assorted voyagers are the unlucky ones.

At first, Diesel is considered the biggest threat to the survivors because he is a convicted killer of many and an escape artist; but a quick exploration of the planet with three suns reveals terrifying creatures that lurk underground in the darkness, waiting for the right moment to go above ground…and that moment will come soon when a lengthy eclipse takes place.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Pitch Black” is the scene when Diesel kills a large monster easily, then says “Did not know who he was fucking with.”  Maybe Diesel is the biggest threat on the planet.

“Pitch Black” is a low-budget, sci-fi/horror movie that definitely delivers.   The story, direction, acting, pacing, and special effects are solid.  The three main characters — of Diesel, Mitchell, and Hauser — have enough depth to them to add extra layers of complexity to the story.  There is one bit of shenanigan that I will address: the numerous creatures are starving, and there aren’t enough people to feed on, so they start feeding on each other, and one is so crazed by hunger it doesn’t fly away when light — which hurts the creatures — is shined on its body as it attacks a survivor.   Why didn’t this happen more, especially when the light source of the survivors were weak and few?

— M

Grade B –

The eighth movie of “The Fast And The Furious” line, “The Fate Of The Furious” is just as outrageous, ridiculous, unbelievable, funny, and entertaining as the preceding seven movies.  Part 8 has Charlize Theron playing the villain.  Her problem?  She wants to have the means to threaten and carry out punishments to various governments when they do…whatever it is they do that upset her — the movie wasn’t really clear on that.  She blackmails Vin Diesel’s character to steal what she needs.  No, she doesn’t need ex-Navy SEALs; she doesn’t need ex-Special Forces; she doesn’t need ex-SAS or even ex-Delta Force soldiers — she needs Vin Diesel!

So what has Theron have on Diesel that makes him turn on his fellow fast and furious crew?  That is a secret I won’t reveal.  But Diesel is now on the most wanted list, and not only is his former crew after him, U.S. secret agents are also coming for him.  In fact, so many people are angry at Diesel turning rogue that his old crew are working with former enemies.  We are treated to ludicrous chase scenes and giant, action set pieces in Cuba, Berlin, NYC, Europe, and the unfriendly skies as Diesel’s motivations and actions unfold.

My most memorable, movie moment is the sequence of the bad guys hacking the computers of dozens of vehicles in NYC and driving them all remotely with a decent amount of precision…all done by one or two people.  Adding to the craziness of this sequence is seeing what is supposedly Manhattan’s streets fairly open to fast moving traffic during the day time.  People familiar with this island are probably laughing after reading that last sentence.

Hey, “The Fast And The Furious” movies will never be Oscar contenders for Best Screenplay, we know this.  These movies are for a specific audience of hundreds of millions of people all over the world — myself included — and they never fail to entertain us.  And so we keep watching them, regardless of how silly things get.  In fact, silly is something we’ve come to expect with the package.

— M

Grade A

Director Ang Lee has a knack for packing a serious, emotional punch in even the most quiet moments of a movie; and he does that again with “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” a mostly quiet movie that contemplates the craziness of war: started by the rich; fought by the poor and young; the physical and emotional damage it does to the soldiers and their families; the lies that are told to keep the war effort going; the lip service that most civilians give to the soldiers as life goes on as if there is no war happening, etc.

After his heroic actions during the second Iraqi war are captured on video for all of America to see, Joe Alwyn (who plays the title role) and his infantry squad are paraded throughout the U.S. to be used as living propaganda for America’s war against Iraq.  On the last day of their “vacation” in the U.S. before being shipped back to the war, Alwyn’s experiences in Iraq and his first days of coming home are told in flashbacks.  He clearly suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, and he finds a way out of going back into combat duty thanks to his loving and tenacious sister played by Kristen Stewart.  But he must make a tough decision whether to take care of himself and take the way out, or take care of his squadmates and go back into combat with them.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is the scene when a civilian starts making fun of soldiers during a football game.  One of Alwyn’s squadmates puts the loudmouth in a sleeper hold, silencing his big mouth in seconds.

Ang Lee does a great job with “BLLHW,” focusing on Alwyn and allowing the audience to see what this soldier has seen and what he is thinking.  I especially enjoyed the unpredictable nature of this movie, as it could have gone in so many clichéd routes in the third act under the guidance of untalented directors/producers/writers; but the filmmakers chose to take the road less travelled, and produced a relatively quiet ending that is still emotionally powerful.

— M

Grade C +

The third movie in the “Fast And The Furious” movies — but chronologically takes place much later in the series — has a teenager (played by Lucas Black) sent to school in Tokyo because he’s been a naughty boy in America and his illegal racing activities will get him sent to prison unless he goes to another country to live with his father.  Huh?  What?  Hey, never mind…this isn’t a movie about logic and realism.  Anyway…

Black is now in Tokyo, gets the hots for a classmate who is dating a gangster (played by Brian Tee), and is introduced to drifting (a controlled, sideways movement of a fast moving car).  Ah!  “Tokyo Drift” you say with a big grin.  Not wanting to look like a punk who can’t drive, Black is taken under the wing of “TFATF” alumni Han (played by Sung Kang) to be taught how to drift so Black can settle all his problems by racing and drifting.  Makes sense?  No?  Well, it’s not supposed to!  This movie is for people who like to drive fast cars and want to see crazy, fast driving in the movies.  I’m one of those people, but I also appreciate a well-written story.  Oh, well, at least I get half of what I want.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift” is the scene when **SPOILER ALERT** Kang is being chased by Tee, and Kang’s car flips over and explodes, killing Kang.  Why is this so memorable to me?  Because the Han character played by Kang is my favorite in all of “TFATF” movies.

Although “Tokyo Drift” is my least favorite movie of this series, it still ties in to the storyline, especially to the later movies, so it’s a must see for “TFATF” fans.

— M

The seventh movie in the “Fast And Furious” series has Vin Diesel’s and Paul Walker’s crew under attack by Jason Statham, who plays the brother of the main bad guy that Diesel and Walker took down in the previous movie.  “Furious 7” opens with Statham leaving the hospital where his brother is in a coma; a hospital that Statham destroyed single handed, with bodies of special response team police lying dead and wounded.  This is a clue that we’re in for a violent, outrageous, ridiculous, extremely unrealistic, and entertaining movie.

Deciding to take the fight to this shadowy assassin/gangster/terrorist, the fast and furious crew travel the world to find and put a world of hurt to Statham.  But there is another part to this story: there is something called God’s Eye, which allows the user to usurp tech devices that have cameras and GPS to find anyone anywhere.  Statham has it, the CIA wants it, and the CIA is willing to help the fast and furious crew find Statham in return for retrieving the God’s Eye.   Game on.

One of my memorable, movie moments is the scene when mixed martial arts champion Rowdy Ronda Rousey fights Michelle Rodriguez.  Completely unbelievable, as Rodriguez’s character lasts for a few minutes against Rousey, and the fight was a draw.  I love Rousey, and I enjoy anything she’s in!

Another of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Dwayne Johnson is carrying a mini-gun ripped from a Predator drone and fires thousands of rounds at bad guys.  The problem is…based on the feeding belt that was attached to the mini-gun, it only had a couple of hundred rounds left.  Military advisers?  We don’t need no stinkin’ military advisers!  Oh, yes you do, director James Wan, yes you do.  But then again, “Furious 7” is basically a live-action cartoon, and not to be taken too seriously.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Furious 7” is the final scene.   SPOILER ALERT here, albeit not much of a spoiler as it is shown in the music video “See You Again.”  Walker and Diesel, each in his own car, say their final goodbyes, and they drive off, taking different paths.  The camera follows Walker’s white Toyota Supra, and pans upwards into the heavens.

Paul Walker, I’ve enjoyed your movies; and from what I’ve read, you were a good person.  May you be happy and at peace, surrounded by friends and relatives who have gone before you.

— M

Chris Pratt plays an Earthling who was kidnapped as a boy by aliens; and now he cruises the galaxy as a hard-partying, rock and roll listening, smart-ass, fearless hustler who comes into possession of an orb that secretly has the power to destroy worlds.   Naturally, creatures from all parts of the galaxy want to take the orb, either to use it to destroy worlds, or to sell it to the highest bidder.   To make matters worse for Pratt, he also has a bounty on his head.

Enter Bradley Cooper, who plays a talking Racoon with a short temper, and Vin Diesel, who plays a tree-like creature with deadly powers and a very big heart.  Together, Cooper and Diesel are a team of bounty hunters who try to capture Pratt, only to be foiled by Zoe Saldana (playing a former henchwoman of a galaxy thug named Ronan) who is after the orb so she can hand it to the good guys and save the galaxy.   The ruckus the four people and creatures create in their attempts to achieve their goals leads to their arrest by law enforcement and a stint in prison, where the four meet a very large prisoner played by Dave Bautista.

Through a series of hilarious, sometimes heart-warming and often action-packed events, the motley group of five become “The Guardians Of The Galaxy” as they make a pact to keep Ronan from destroying the galaxy, even if their mission is most likely doomed.

Third place in my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Cooper is drunk, flips out and has a fight with Bautista.  Cooper points a weapon as big as his body at Bautista, ready to fry him, but Pratt intervenes.  Cooper tells everyone he’s had it with being made fun of, being called vermin and rodent, that he didn’t ask to be physically altered over and over again; but he’s going to stop people laughing at him when he starts pulling the trigger.   This added a whole new layer of depth to Cooper’s character, and this is when I really liked him.  In fact, the Cooper character is my favorite in the movie.  I see part of myself in this little dude.

Holding the second slot in my most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians…” is the scene when the Guardians are in a ship that is going to crash and will kill everyone in it.  One of the Guardians takes action that will save the others but will most likely cost that Guardian’s life.  Cooper asks why the Guardian is doing this.  The Guardian essentially says that they are all family.  It almost brought a tear out of my eye as I watched this part.

Coming in first place for my most memorable, movie moment of “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is the scene when Ronan is about to destroy a planet, and Pratt starts singing and dancing!   Ronan is so shocked at Pratt’s actions that he stops his planned destruction of this world to ask Pratt what the hell he is doing.  Pratt says, “I’m distracting you.”  Ha-ha!

Hey, some of you probably watched the trailer for this movie and thought, “this looks stupid.”  That’s what I thought, too!  Well, this goes to prove you can’t judge a movie’s quality by its trailer, because my first impression was wrong and now I love this movie.   This movie is really funny, has a lot of action, great special effects, connects with you emotionally, has fast pacing, and has a killer soundtrack.

Now I’m waiting for the Blu-ray to come down to $10, and this movie is mine!

— M

Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and the rest of their Fast and Furious crew are recruited by the Feds to help apprehend another crew of criminals who use fast cars and high-tech gadgets to steal a device that can be used as a weapon to destroy entire countries.

Dwayne Johnson pays a visit to Diesel and tells Diesel that Michelle Rodriguez is still alive.  If Diesel helps Johnson with his problem, then Diesel can get a pardon for all the crimes he committed, plus possibly be reunited with his long, lost love, Rodriguez.   Johnson’s problem is as large as his pecs, so Diesel’s full crew are brought in to help; and they get pardons, too, for their troubles…if they succeed.

“Fast & Furious 6” is as entertaining as the majority of the movies in this series.  Sure, the over the top action sequences are unbelievable; but believability is not the point of this movie.  It’s about making the audience feel as if they’re strapped in these fast cars and doing triple digit speeds while committing or fighting crime.  And it’s not just about fast cars.  “Fast & Furious 6” is also about family and friendship, a theme that’s been embedded in this series since the first movie.  People who tell you that “The Fast and the Furious” movies are nothing but racing and explosions aren’t paying attention.  Underneath the outrageous stunts and pyrotechnics, there’s a large, beating heart.

“Fast & Furious 6” also has the most martial arts fights of the 6 movies, leading me to my most memorable moment of this movie: the scene when Tyrese Gibson and Sung Kang got their asses handed to them by one member of the enemy crew.  The bad guy was so good at fighting, Gibson and Kang were no match for him.  It was like watching 2 five-year-old girls fighting a grown man.

Oh, keep watching the end credits because a bonus scene is shown, which gives rise to the possibility of a 7th movie of this series.  I say “bring it.”  Because I like these movies.

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Two members of my crew: Ed and Joe.



In this third movie about the ultra bad-ass criminal, Riddick (played by Vin Diesel), we find Diesel marooned on a harsh planet after an assassination attempt on his life by the soldiers whom he commanded in the previous movie.  We are shown a flashback of Diesel being a ruler of a planet, and getting soft and losing his edge as a result.   And now he’s alone, wounded and hunted by beasts from the air, ground, and water.  So, he decides to go back to basics by being naked and shiny and walking up a tall rock.  Huh?  What?  Hey, you tell me.

Fast forward some time later, and Diesel is back to being his ultra bad-ass self again, only he’s managed to raise and befriend a dog-like creature.  Huh?  What?  You thought he was a loner, too?  No attachments, no sentiments?  Well, you see, Diesel needed to experiment with building up a tolerance to the poison of a fierce creature, so he decided to use a baby doggie creature.  The doggie lived, and before you know it, the doggie is now full grown and friends with Diesel.  And let’s not forget that in the first movie, “Pitch Black,” it is shown that Diesel does believe in friendship, is a man of his word, and gives as good as he gets.   So when you look at it that way, the doggie part of this story is easy to believe.

All is not well with this crappy planet Diesel is on, because the rains are coming, and with all that water comes the fierce creatures that live in the ground, waiting to come out when the rainy season comes.   Diesel decides to activate a distress beacon, which scans his face; and soon, 2 sets of mercenaries on 2 ships descend on the planet to retrieve Diesel, dead or alive.   Of course, this is what Diesel wants.  He needs a ship to get off the planet before the underground creatures come out by the thousands.  Getting the mercenaries to give him a ship isn’t so easy, though.

Fans of “Pitch Black” and “The Chronicles of Riddick” will not be disappointed by “Riddick.”   This movie moves fast, has plenty of action and gore, lots of monsters, and…funny moments.   Yep, “Riddick” has many moments that will have you smiling or laughing.   But don’t worry, the jokes are appropriate to this type of movie.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Riddick” is the scene when Katee Sackhoff is taking a shower, and we are shown the side of her left breast.   In case you didn’t know, Sackhoff played a memorable character called Starbuck in the television series, “Battlestar Galactica,”  and many of us male, sci-fi fans adore her.

Ah, I can see the male, sci-fi geeks putting that Sackhoff nude scene in a constant loop on their BD players.  Hmmm…I can also see some male, sci-fi geeks putting that shiny, naked Diesel on top of a rock scene on a constant loop on their BD players.


The fifth of the “Fast And The Furious” movies takes us to Brazil where Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and other franchise alumni are hiding out from the long arm of the U.S. law.  Money is tight, so Diesel’s crew decides to hijack sports cars that have been seized by U.S. Federal agents.  These cars were owned by the most powerful, Brazilian crime lord; and he hires Diesel and his gang to get his cars back, not because the crime lord is a fan of cars, but because one of the vehicles contains important information about his criminal business.   Unfortunately for Diesel and his crew, the crime lord is set to turn on them after the job is done.  Further adding to the misfortune of the fugitives, some of the Feds were killed by the crime lord’s thugs, and Diesel and Walker are blamed for the killings; and a super duper Fed played by The Rock and his crew of compression shirt-wearing agents are sent to bring them down.

One silver lining of the botched hijacking: Diesel has the special car with the important info; and he decides to use that info to rob the crime lord of all his cash.  But Diesel is going to need help with this huge robbery, so he and Walker bring to Brazil a larger crew comprised of major characters from the previous “Fast And The Furious” movies.   There’s Ludacris, whose acting ability is ludicrous; there’s Tyrese Gibson, whose teeth are the whitest in the movie business; (SPOILER ALERT HERE) there’s the Asian dude (Sung Kang) who died in the 3rd movie of the franchise (“The Fast And The Furious: Tokyo Drift”), but is still alive in the 4th and 5th movie.  Huh?  Well, apparently the 5th movie takes place in the past, before movie number 3.  Anyway, I’m glad the Asian dude is around in movies 4 and 5, because he was the coolest character in the 3rd movie.   Plus he’s Asian, and us yellow people need to stick together.

“Fast Five” gives its target audience what it wants: cool, fast cars; illegal night races where women are half-naked and do not look like Rosie O’Donnell; gunfights; fistfights; and cars at WOT (that’s wide open throttle to you non-car folks) doing outrageous stunts.  Fans won’t be disappointed.  And if they are, it’s because certain cars that they wanted to see were not in the movie.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Fast Five” is the scene when Diesel makes a toast as his crew (one of whom is his pregnant sister) surrounds him.  He tells them that money comes and goes, but family is the most important thing.  Diesel isn’t just talking about blood relation, he also means close friends, ones you trust and love and can count on when things are going badly.

Damn right.  In my moments of sorrow, it’s the knowledge that I have relatives and best friends who care for me that gives me the strength to force the darkness out of my heart.


“The Fast And The Furious” is the 1st of the 5 movie franchise (soon to be a 6 movie franchise); and it has one of the better storylines of the series.  Although it has the least amount of action sequences of the 5 movies, it has the advantage of a simpler, slightly more believable plot.  Paul Walker plays an undercover cop sent to infiltrate a street racing culture that holds clues as to who is robbing tractor trailers with the use of heavily modded Honda Civics.  Vin Diesel plays the street racing hero who may or may not be the ringleader of the robbery crew.

Walker saves Diesel from getting arrested during a night of street racing, and both men quickly develop a friendship that brings Walker deeper into Diesel’s legal and illegal business.   Oh, Walker also falls for Jordana Brewster, who plays Diesel’s sister.  Apparently, Diesel’s business isn’t the only thing Walker gets deep into.  All these entanglements cloud Walker’s mind, making the cops and FBI agents handling the case wonder about Walker’s loyalties.

I’ve seen all 5 of the movies, and this first movie has the simplest car action sequences.  That’s not a knock.  I happen to prefer it, because it’s more realistic.   The next 4 movies have outrageous action sequences that mostly deserve cries of “b.s!”  Yes, they are highly entertaining, but in a cartoonish way.  Whatever your preference, if you like cars, you’ll like these movies.

“The Fast And The Furious” mostly feature small, import cars from Honda, Nissan, Toyota and Mazda.  We’re treated to only two muscle cars: a modded, Dodge Charger and a classic, Chevy Chevelle SS (the latter seen only after the end credits).  So if you like American muscle, this movie may not be for you.  I used to never like “ricers,” but since buying a 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2.0T, I have a slightly better appreciation for them.  Of course, I still hate the ones that have those useless, extra loud exhaust; the non-functional, over sized and retarded rear wings; and shiny stickers advertising the parts that are supposedly in the car (even though it’s not believable the car has them because the rest of the car looks like garbage).  Despite the fact that my heart will always yearn for American muscle cars (classic and modern Camaros, Mustangs, Chargers, Challengers, GTOs, Trans-Ams), a good looking, fast car will always have my attention and love; and “The Fast And The Furious” certainly has many good-looking, fast cars in action.

My most memorable, movie moment of “The Fast And The Furious” is the scene when Diesel tells Walker that Diesel lives his life 1/4 mile at a time.  Nothing else matters.  For those 10 seconds or less — an extremely fast car will do the 1/4 mile in 10 seconds or less — he feels free.  Damn right.

For those who don’t understand a man’s love for his vehicle, let me set you straight: to most men, a car is the embodiment of freedom, power, and beauty.


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Me with my baby (2012 Genesis Coupe 2.0T) on the day I took her home.

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