Film Face-off: Vin Diesel vs. the Rock

Film Face-off: Vin Diesel vs. the Rock

May 28, 2013

You might need to back up a little bit and make room for all of this muscle. Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson star in Fast & Furious 6, or as we are supposed to call it: Furious 6. One man is a bulked up, oiled up, deep-voiced hulking presence on the big screen, and the other... isn't quite as oiled up. When comparing Diesel and Johnson, we must examine their entire body of work. Quit thinking about their muscles just because I said "body," you must focus.

It's easy to imagine that many Hollywood phone calls go like this... "The Rock would be perfect for this! Oh, he's busy? Diesel would be perfect for this!" (or vice versa). The only way to settle this is a good old-fashioned Film Face-off with Diesel vs. Johnson.


Awards/Box Office

Vin Diesel

Diesel's films have made $1.2 billion domestically, averaging $89 million. In 2002 he won MTV's Movie Award "Best On-screen Team" with Paul Walker for The Fast and the Furious. In 1999 he was a part of "Best Ensemble" for Saving Private Ryan for the Online Film Critics Awards.

Dwayne Johnson

Johnson's films have made $1.3 billion domestically, averaging $73 million. In 2013 he won "Favorite Male Butt Kicker" with his performance in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island at the Kids' Choice Awards. In 2001 he won the Teen Choice Award for "Film - Choice Sleazebag" for The Mummy Returns.

Winner: Vin Diesel. I have a sudden and overwhelming realization how little awards matter. I like to think that Diesel and Walker only received one award and they have joint custody of it. Do you think Johnson has his "Male Butt Kicker" award prominently displayed at his house? Like it's part of the tour the first time you go to his pad? As far as box office goes, Johnson has two films that have made more than $100 million in which he is the star: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Notice that those are franchises in motion, that he jumped onto? Diesel has XXX (I can't believe this made $142 million), The Pacifier and all three of his Fast films.


Science Fiction

Vin Diesel

Diesel has starred in Babylon A.D.The Chronicles of RiddickPitch Black.

Dwayne Johnson

Johnson has starred in Race to Witch Mountain and Doom.

Winner: Vin Diesel. Wow, right out of the gate with us talking about the quality of films I realize this head-to-head battle might not be as exciting as we thought. Of the five films above, I only consider one "good," and Rotten Tomatoes almost backs me up (55 percent fresh). Pitch Black was a nice surprise that hit at a time when there didn't seem to be many sci-fi options at the theater. It was the first glimpse of Diesel carrying a movie, which led to... a lot of average films. The fact that another Riddick film is coming has more to do with the success of the Fast & Furious franchise than anything else. Johnson's Doom seems like a no-brainer for a fun film, and even costarred a pre-Star Trek Karl Urban, but it didn't work. You would think that a man who is built like he's from another planet would be perfect for science fiction.



Vin Diesel

Find Me Guilty and The Pacifier are the only comedies that Diesel has starred in. Can you remember who directed Find Me Guilty? The answer is below.

Dwayne Johnson

Be CoolThe Game PlanGet SmartTooth FairyThe Other Guys and Pain & Gain are all technically comedies in which Johnson has starred.

Winner: Dwayne Johnson. First, let's discuss Find Me Guilty. It was cowritten by Diesel, and directed by Sidney Lumet. You've probably heard of Lumet's other films like Dog Day Afternoon, Network and 12 Angry Men. Let's assume Diesel hung someone outside a window for Lumet, and the two became good friends. Johnson's best comedic work comes from a supporting role in Be Cool, and his recent work in the dark comedy Pain & Gain. Otherwise, he's mainly the straight (giant) man with others making jokes. That's the case for both guys with The Pacifier, The Game Plan and Tooth Fairy. The reason Johnson wins is because we know he's funny thanks to Saturday Night Live. He can turn it on given the right material. We've never seen that side of Diesel.



Vin Diesel

Diesel has The Fast and the FuriousFast and FuriousFast FiveA Man ApartXXX and Saving Private Ryan*.

Dwayne Johnson

Johnson has G.I. Joe: RetaliationSnitchJourney 2: The Mysterious IslandFast FiveFasterWalking TallThe Rundown and The Scorpion King.

Winner: Dwayne Johnson. *After a long debate with numerous top-level individuals, Saving Private Ryan has been classified as a drama. It was a tough call, but it's out of my hands. You know what that means, right? In a pile of mediocrity, there is only one film that stands out: The Rundown. Where is the Kickstarter campaign to get a sequel for this? While it would be sad not to have Christopher Walken as the villain, I want Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson and Johnson back in this world. Here's enough of an idea to make the sequel: this time it's personal.


Fast & Furious 6

Vin Diesel

Dominic Toretto is happily retired from a life of crime. He's pulled in for one more job when it becomes personal (see, it always works). Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) is alive, and he'll do anything to get her back.

Dwayne Johnson

Agent Luke Hobbs needs Dominic's help. There's a former soldier named Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) who has his own specialized car unit. Hobbs must take them down before it's too late and a computer chip gets loose.

Winner: Vin Diesel. Again, technically this film is called Furious 6 -- do with that what you will. Diesel's giant head and deep, rumbly voiced Dominic beats Johnson's veiny, giant-biceped Hobbs. If only Hobbs had greased up like he did in Fast Five. There's even a joke about it in Furious 6 with Roman (Tyrese Gibson) saying something smells like baby oil. Toretto talks and talks about the importance of family. That's better than any motivation Hobbs has. Johnson has lines like, "They hit like thunder, and disappear like smoke." Diesel bellows, "You want bloody, we can do bloody." So dialogue is pretty much a toss up.

When dealing with fisticuffs, Toretto has a flying head butt, putting that giant-sized mellon to perfect use. More importantly, look who needs who's help. I thought this sixth installment was going to be a changing of the guard, or an equaling out between Toretto and Hobbs (while quietly pushing Brian aside). That's not the case. First and foremost it's the cars, and after that it's Diesel's Toretto. My favorite odd moment of the film is when Toretto and Hobbs have a heart-to-heart, but for some reason they stand nearly side by side, looking in opposite directions, never making eye contact.


OVERALL WINNER: Vin Diesel over Dwayne Johnson, 3-2.

It's weird to see Mark Sinclair Vincent (Diesel's real name) as the winner here. In many ways, he's had the better career so far. I still believe we haven't seen the best of Johnson, whereas it feels like Diesel can't top the presence of Dominic Toretto. Furious 6 gives us plenty of vehicular eye candy and even more insanity, though I'm convinced that if you remove all of the nonaction moments from this film, it will make just as much sense.


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