The year of Diesel is officially in high gear. Having already reintroduced America to the Xander Zone in January’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Vin Diesel’s other adrenaline junkie quasi-secret agent Dominic Toretto is back in The Fate of The Furious.
The master of the self-aware action film, Diesel brings that same magic to the latest Fast & Furious film, courtesy of Jason Statham’s babysitting adventures, Dwayne Johnson’s wild prison break, and a submarine. Yes, these once underground racers get their hands on a submarine, and it’s as glorious as it sounds.
Embarking on crazy feats with planes or automobiles or tanks is nothing new for Diesel. With each film, the man is constantly trying to top his previous stunts and somehow finding new ways to successfully do it. While we await the inevitable spacecraft race in Fast 9, this seems like the appropriate time to rank the actor’s best action scenes so far.
14. The car scene that started it all (xXx, 2002)
Diesel was no stranger to cars by the time the original xXx was released: One year earlier, he had his breakout role as Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious. xXx‘s introduction to Xander Cage is quite memorable, but looking back, it’s actually quite tame compared to what was to come.
13. Dom’s driving is on fire (Fast & Furious 6, 2013)
This climactic scene in Fast & Furious 6 was memorable for about a hundred reasons, including it featuring the world’s longest runway, Dom and Hobbs tag-teaming on the bad guys, R.I.P. Gisele, and the Fast family thinking Dom was engulfed in the burning plane, only for him to burst free at the last moment in his trusty car. Thankfully, Dom and his white T-shirt walked away unharmed.
12. Snowboarding at extreme heights (xXx, 2002)
One of the big hooks of the first xXx film was the emphasis on extreme sports, something it took to the ultimate extreme in Cage’s attempt at knocking out Anarchy 99’s communication tower. While Return of Xander Cage demonstrated that the secret agent can do winter sports anywhere, jumping out of a plane with just a snowboard and no parachute was a bold choice.
11. Welcome to the Vehicular Forbidden City (The Fate of the Furious, 2017)
Fast & Furious has staged epic car chases through Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, London, Miami, and Tokyo. But, as Fate director F. Gary Gray told EW, New York seemed impossible… so they did it. Specializing in the impossible is what the franchise does best, and the streak continues here with the added twist of it being Dom vs. the team. Whether it’s speeding through standstill traffic, flipping Roman and Letty onto each other, or hundreds of “zombie cars,” New York delivered like only New York could.
10. Crash landing (Furious 7, 2015)
If you’re a car belonging to Dominic Toretto, then you better be prepared to take some abuse. Case in point: The end of Furious 7 found our hero winning his street fight over Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), only to realize that the work wasn’t done. He jumps in his car and decides to do what anybody would do: Drive off a destroyed car garage to get high enough to hook a bag of grenades onto Jakande’s (Djimon Hounsou) helicopter. Hobbs finishes the rest, while Dom suffers a crash landing. But in the end it’s all good because his heart is resuscitated by love!
9. Rio de Janeiro will never be the same (Fast Five, 2011)
This may seem low for the epic car/safe chase at the end of Fast Five — it’s the biggest scene in the film and THEY DROVE A SAFE THROUGH DOWNTOWN RIO DE JANEIRO — but the reasoning for ranking it here is that in the grand scheme of things, using vehicles on the surface they were created for is too realistic to be higher on the list.
8. Who still uses a surfboard? (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, 2017)
One thing that can definitively be said about Xander Cage is that the man has many uses for a motorcycle. Any secret agent can ride one, but he takes it to another level during his pursuit of Xiang (Donnie Yen). Not even seen in the insane clip above is how Cage single-handedly knocks out numerous Russian soldiers by using just the bike.
7. It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s… sports cars? (Furious 7, 2015)
Believe it or not, the Fast & Furious movies were once about low-level street racers. Now, seven movies in, it’s about the best criminals/government operatives in the world and their superhero-like escapades. In Fast & Furious 6, things got taken to the next level when an actual tank got thrown into the mix. Obviously, the creative team then thought, “How can we top a tank?” And then someone said, “Two words: flying cars.”
6. The jungles have the best slopes (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, 2017)
How do you reintroduce a badass character who was declared dead in the franchise’s last film and audiences haven’t seen in 15 years? Well, you have him climb a ridiculously tall satellite tower in the jungles of the Dominican Republic and jump off on skis to avoid the authorities. That’s how you bring back Xander Cage.
5. Dom turns into a superhero boyfriend (Fast & Furious 6, 2013)
The Notebook and all other rom-coms have some competition for the most romantic scene in movie history. Did Ryan Gosling ever jump out of a speeding car to catch his amnesia-suffering girlfriend who had been flipped off of a tank? Didn’t think so.
4. Still fighting on a plane, but at 30,000 feet (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, 2017)
Diesel is no stranger to fighting on airplanes. As previously discussed, he had an intense fight on the 150-mile runway in Fast 6, so we knew he could handle himself in such situations. The climax of Return of Xander Cage takes it to the next level. This time, Diesel has to face a new enemy: altitude. This fight actually takes place in the air, as the action concludes with Cage leaping out of an exploding airplane sans parachute. Don’t worry though, he somehow perfectly positions himself to grab hold of cargo that does have a parachute and lands right where his team is waiting for him.
3. Iceland + Lamborghini + Submarine = Greatness (The Fate of the Furious, 2017)
Cars falling from the sky, tanks on highways, cars in buildings. Fast & Furious has a Ph.D in putting vehicles in places they don’t belong. They double down on that to the extreme in Fate, engaging in an extended final sequence in Iceland with sports cars, missiles, and a submarine. The scene is so epic that Hobbs redirecting a missile with his hands is a distant second on the amazing scale, behind Dom outrunning a different missile aimed for him by jumping over a submarine as the missile blows up said submarine. And that’s only No. 3!
2. Dom, trains, and automobiles (Fast Five, 2011)
Right when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in. Fast Five was really the beginning of the franchise’s new chapter. The fourth film brought the original crew back together, but this is where Fast became the giant, fun monster it is now. And it really all began with Dom, Brian, and Mia being reunited just in time to rob a moving train, which definitely was a “S—ty call, O’Conner.”
1. Sorry, Brian, cars can fly (Furious 7, 2015)
The scene in Furious 7 where the crew infiltrates a party in Abu Dhabi had it all: Tyrese doing Tyrese things, T-Pain serving as DJ, Ronda Rousey suffering the worst loss in her career, and it’s all capped off with the wildest, craziest stunt in Fast history (so far, at least). After showing us 20 minutes earlier that cars could fly, Dom and Brian proved that they could also flawlessly leap from skyscraper to skyscraper. There’s no way Diesel can ever top that. As I say that, writer Chris Morgan is probably planning Fast & Furious meets Armageddon, and I’ll gladly be proven wrong.
The Fate of the Furious is now in theaters.