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Face-Off: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vs. Vin Diesel

Mar. 28, 2013by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face-Off, we were all about Dreamworks Animated films in a match between Shrek and How to Train Your Dragon. Shrek won the official verdict, with our readers speaking the contrary in thinking a bit more fondly of 2010's How to Train Your Dragon. A well deserved victory.

These men have carved great careers for themselves before finally crossing action filled paths in Fast Five, and most recently re-uniting for the follow up to that pairing in Fast and Furious 6. In the former, we got to see the physical showdown between the two (a dream match we didn't know how much we wanted to see until it happened) and now we will take a look at their respective careers. Both men, like any actor have their own strengths and weaknesses, hits and misses...who do you prefer? Let's discuss. If you haven't caught it, Dwayne Johnson has already went toe to toe with another action hero in this column against Jason Statham
Screen Presence
From the moment The Rock commanded the screen in the beginning of The Mummy Returns, we knew he had something. From then on, even in his family fare he "electrified" like only Dwayne Johnson knows how. He brought his intensity and his moments of menace he adopted during his wrestling years to the land of Hollywood and has (for the most part most recently) carved out his niche as THE action star of this era. I have yet to see a few of his latest outings including Snitch, which I hear showed us a hint of a flare for dramatic range from the man, and I can't wait to see him breathe life into the GI Joe franchise as Roadblock. Due to his natural charisma, and being back in the genre that was tailor made for him, Dwayne Johnson is once again in demand.
Richard B. Riddick, stands today as one of my favorite characters. It is the role Vin Diesel has stayed in love with throughout his whole career and the character is obviously the one he has the most fun with. Riddick just epitomizes badass, another character of Vin's that earned that distinction is Dominic Toretto. Me and my brother frequently make inside jokes about Toretto's superiority over seemingly everyone that ever breathed, his calm cool demeanor and his magic behind the wheel, I am as big a fan of Dom as I am of Riddick quite honestly. Although Diesel has not shown his considerable acting ability as often as Dwayne has, his charisma of a different ilk can't be denied. Just like The Rock, when Vin Diesel is on screen...you pay the f*ck attention.
Build
One word comes to mind when I think of Dwayne The Rock Johnson's frame and that is, defined. One thing you can count in every film of The Rock's, family or action is to marvel at his...well...The Rock-ness. Seeing the behind the scenes photos of G.I Joe featuring Dwayne have blown a lot of people away, and outside the realm of Hollywood Johnson has posted photos of his preparation for his return to the WWE in which his arms threaten to jump out of the picture and attack you right then and there. Ten extra points for his body being the subject of parody in Journey 2, that berry launching pec pop isn't something I'll soon forget.
I'll say this, as built as Vin Diesel is realistically I would expect Luke Hobbs to ultimately best Dominic Toretto in a fight. Vin Diesel has the muscle mass, but The Rock has always been more in your face about it. I'll say this, it was interesting to see a more lean frame from Vin for Chronicles of Riddick, and even more interesting seeing his lack of frame for Find Me Guilty. Bottom line, Vin Diesel is impressive...Dwayne Johnson a little more so.
Memorable Roles
Dwayne Johnson will forever be known as The Scorpion King, people are aching for a follow up to The Rundown (that's including me, make this your franchise man), a lot of people would rather forget a lot of the mans family oriented films, and more of Dwayne's filmography consists of cameos than I originally realized. I feel with how much Dwayne is working these days, the role that will define him in a way no film has before has yet to hit the scene...whether it's a long awaited sequel to The Rundown or whether it comes out of left field. Lately it seems Dwayne's MO is to come in and help breathe new life into already existing franchises, first with Fast and Furious now with GI Joe.
In contrast to Dwayne's career, most of Vin Diesel's filmography has been dedicated to the franchises that put him on the map. With the Riddick series and as Dominic Toretto, these have become his babies and he's treated them well. Now what I previously said about Rock coming and saving franchises, on the flip side to that I'd probably be just as excited for Fast and Furious 6 if Johnson wasn't involved. Rock was great, but I watch the franchise for Dominic and his band of tight knit merry outlaws. I'll just say I have to give this category to Vin, and to perfectly capture why is the fond memory of the verbal cue of f*ck yeah from me and the rest of the audience when Diesel hit the screen at the end of Tokyo Drift.
Overall
Dwayne had me pumped for his career for his first few films, and lost me somewhere in the middle. I didn't hate his various cameos and most of his family films, but it's not where I wanted him. He won me back in a big way starting with Faster and hasn't let up since then and shows no signs of doing so. His well earned nickname in the pro wrestling business as "Most Electrifying Man in Entertainment" wasn't a mistake, he's lived up to that in his movie career and is red hot, we're just seeing the start of it.
Vin Diesel, he's carved out a nice piece of land as an action hero out for himself hasn't he? His Riddick series is loved by its fanbase, but doesn't get the commercial love it deserves. The Fast and Furious franchise has entertained me from the get go, primarily the ones he's been involved in. I also love his other gems like Boiler Room, Find Me Guilty (in which he showed quite a bit of dramatic range), and A Man Apart. XXX was entertaining enough as well. Keep doing what you do best Vin, and you'll keep getting my money.
Dwayne Johnson
Sorry Mr. Diesel, you won the fisticuffs against Johnson in Fast Five, but ultimately this had to go to Dwayne Johnson. He's gotten a strong foothold in the action genre once again and it appears he won't be giving that up anytime soon and at this point the man is so damn awesome I'll go see whatever he's in. Dwayne Johnson has been thoroughly entertaining in WHATEVER he's decided to be in, and yes I'll freely admit that applies to some of his movies I'm less inclined to revisit. But that is just one persons opinion, what say you? Is Diesel's return to Riddick leaving you excited enough to give him the edge here? Strike back!

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which action star is your favorite?
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9:41AM on 03/29/2013
Surprisingly difficult decision, based on their mutual badassery and resumes of roughly equal quality... so I'm going to go with Vin Diesel, based on the fact that he's a Dungeons and Dragons fan. Yep. That's how I'm deciding.
Surprisingly difficult decision, based on their mutual badassery and resumes of roughly equal quality... so I'm going to go with Vin Diesel, based on the fact that he's a Dungeons and Dragons fan. Yep. That's how I'm deciding.
Your Reply:



9:24PM on 03/28/2013

It's a tie

I think the Rock is better at comedy. I think Vin is better at drama (Find Me Guilty is really underrated). Both are good at action. Both have had some hits. Both have had some misses (let's all pretend Doom and XXX didn't happen).
I think the Rock is better at comedy. I think Vin is better at drama (Find Me Guilty is really underrated). Both are good at action. Both have had some hits. Both have had some misses (let's all pretend Doom and XXX didn't happen).
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+0
7:16PM on 03/28/2013
Agree completely. I would go a step further and say that Johnson is the better actor. Of the films I've seen from both these guys, and I am a fan of both, Dwayne has both demonstrated a greater talent for acting and a more dynamic range. He's at his best when playing an action hero, but he's shown he's perfectly capable of playing more comedic roles (Be Cool) and dramatic roles (Snitch). Vin, for as much as I like the guy, is not that great of an actor. He has a presence that tends to lend his
Agree completely. I would go a step further and say that Johnson is the better actor. Of the films I've seen from both these guys, and I am a fan of both, Dwayne has both demonstrated a greater talent for acting and a more dynamic range. He's at his best when playing an action hero, but he's shown he's perfectly capable of playing more comedic roles (Be Cool) and dramatic roles (Snitch). Vin, for as much as I like the guy, is not that great of an actor. He has a presence that tends to lend his character a cool atmosphere, and he has the physical build and capabilities to make him a good action star, but as far as his acting goes, I can never take him seriously.
Your Reply:



+5
4:09PM on 03/28/2013

Terminator

They would both be perfect for a terminator movie, repeat the fight in ff only then as terminators and demolish everything within 100 feet.
Their voices and physiques are perfect for it.
They would both be perfect for a terminator movie, repeat the fight in ff only then as terminators and demolish everything within 100 feet.
Their voices and physiques are perfect for it.
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2:44PM on 03/28/2013

To me it's a tie...

and for different reasons as they are both the top of the food chain right now like Sly and Arnie were back in the 80's. Vin has continues to do two iconic characters and he has more range than many give him credit for.
And The Rock, is well, The Rock and he is just a dominant force right now who has also improved his range over time. The both entertain the hell outta me and to see them in the same movie twice is the gravy on top.

Here's an over the top scenario. Hobbs is kidnapped on
and for different reasons as they are both the top of the food chain right now like Sly and Arnie were back in the 80's. Vin has continues to do two iconic characters and he has more range than many give him credit for.
And The Rock, is well, The Rock and he is just a dominant force right now who has also improved his range over time. The both entertain the hell outta me and to see them in the same movie twice is the gravy on top.

Here's an over the top scenario. Hobbs is kidnapped on earth by the Predator and dumped on Furya to bring the head of Riddick to King Conan. (WTF!) Time for my meds...
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11:48AM on 03/28/2013

Absolutely agree.

Although, you have to give Diesel credit for getting The Rock to play Hobbs in the first place. That role was the one that got him out of the PG Pit he was in. But yes, The Rock is a bonafide badass in and out of Hollywood. The fact that he's the current WWE Champion just adds to that awesomeness.
Although, you have to give Diesel credit for getting The Rock to play Hobbs in the first place. That role was the one that got him out of the PG Pit he was in. But yes, The Rock is a bonafide badass in and out of Hollywood. The fact that he's the current WWE Champion just adds to that awesomeness.
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11:39AM on 03/28/2013
I like both these guys. Dwayne Johnson has that special kind of charisma both on and off-screen that makes me just want good things to happen to him. Vin Diesel is definitely a badass, but he's also a serious actor. I often wonder, if he wasn't such an imposing figure, what trajectory his career might have. What other kinds of roles might he be willing to try.
I like both these guys. Dwayne Johnson has that special kind of charisma both on and off-screen that makes me just want good things to happen to him. Vin Diesel is definitely a badass, but he's also a serious actor. I often wonder, if he wasn't such an imposing figure, what trajectory his career might have. What other kinds of roles might he be willing to try.
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10:23AM on 03/28/2013

Gridiron Gang

That is a massively underrated movie.... It showed that the Rock could act....
That is a massively underrated movie.... It showed that the Rock could act....
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10:19AM on 03/28/2013
Nobody remembers Diesel in Saving Private Ryan.

edit: oh, Schmoe Trav does, nice.
Nobody remembers Diesel in Saving Private Ryan.

edit: oh, Schmoe Trav does, nice.
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1:55PM on 03/28/2013
Sure do remember him there... I was going to mention it myself till I saw your post. I think it was his first film (?) but yeah, he was good in the small role - ended up getting sniped unfortunately.
Sure do remember him there... I was going to mention it myself till I saw your post. I think it was his first film (?) but yeah, he was good in the small role - ended up getting sniped unfortunately.
11:33AM on 03/28/2013
I only saw Saving Private Ryan in the theater, had no idea who Vin Diesel was then, and still remember him.
I only saw Saving Private Ryan in the theater, had no idea who Vin Diesel was then, and still remember him.
9:28AM on 03/28/2013
The Rock's performance in "Faster" did it for me. I liked a few films he did but that one really took the cake imho.
The Rock's performance in "Faster" did it for me. I liked a few films he did but that one really took the cake imho.
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9:22AM on 03/28/2013
Can't really argue with the result, though I've probably had more fun with Vin Diesel movies than stuff The Rock's been in. To be honest, Chronicles of Riddick probably swings it for me, but they're both commendable action stars in their own rights.
Can't really argue with the result, though I've probably had more fun with Vin Diesel movies than stuff The Rock's been in. To be honest, Chronicles of Riddick probably swings it for me, but they're both commendable action stars in their own rights.
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8:59AM on 03/28/2013
Big fan of both but Dwayne should be the new Arnie by now.
Big fan of both but Dwayne should be the new Arnie by now.
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8:12AM on 03/28/2013
Fan of both, but Dwayne Johnson wins this one for me. I just think he brings greater charisma to his characters.
Fan of both, but Dwayne Johnson wins this one for me. I just think he brings greater charisma to his characters.
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6:17AM on 03/28/2013
Jason statham > Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson > Vin Diesel ; Arnold > Stallone > Bruce willis ; Tom cruise > Brad pitt > Leo dicaprio ; Al pacino > Robert Deniro > Jack nicholson
Jason statham > Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson > Vin Diesel ; Arnold > Stallone > Bruce willis ; Tom cruise > Brad pitt > Leo dicaprio ; Al pacino > Robert Deniro > Jack nicholson
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8:13AM on 03/28/2013
Yeah, you're right the arrows should be facing the other way.
Yeah, you're right the arrows should be facing the other way.
7:16AM on 03/28/2013
Your arrows point in the wrong direction. Just sayin.
Your arrows point in the wrong direction. Just sayin.
3:28AM on 03/28/2013
For me it's Vin......3 words

THE IRON GIANT
For me it's Vin......3 words

THE IRON GIANT
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2:57AM on 03/28/2013
What? Outside of Fast & Furious, I really can't think of a single role the Rock has been in that left the slightest impression on me. The vast majority of The Rock's films have been terrible.
What? Outside of Fast & Furious, I really can't think of a single role the Rock has been in that left the slightest impression on me. The vast majority of The Rock's films have been terrible.
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2:40PM on 03/28/2013
/Faster? The Rundown? Be Cool? Walking Tall? The Other Guys?
/Faster? The Rundown? Be Cool? Walking Tall? The Other Guys?
+16
2:46AM on 03/28/2013

Tough call. Don't forget Diesel in "Saving Private Ryan"

Years ago I would've said Vin all the way. Now, I'm not sure.
I think it's important to remember Vin Diesel's great and stunning performance in "Saving Private Ryan".
Every time he say, "Copy it. Copy it and send it! It's to my dad, it's got blood on it." I still find it hard not to cry .
Years ago I would've said Vin all the way. Now, I'm not sure.
I think it's important to remember Vin Diesel's great and stunning performance in "Saving Private Ryan".
Every time he say, "Copy it. Copy it and send it! It's to my dad, it's got blood on it." I still find it hard not to cry .
Your Reply:



2:41AM on 03/28/2013

Obviously !

I know Fast 5 is Vin's movie, but it's a shame he got the upper hand on The Rock at the end of their fist fight !
No way does it reflect reality. The way I see it, when the director said "cut", The Rock got up and bitchslapped Diesel just to get it straight.
I know Fast 5 is Vin's movie, but it's a shame he got the upper hand on The Rock at the end of their fist fight !
No way does it reflect reality. The way I see it, when the director said "cut", The Rock got up and bitchslapped Diesel just to get it straight.
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2:00PM on 03/28/2013
Especially considering he's an "Old Testament, fire and brimstone" special forces agent basically... But whatever, it played well still!
Especially considering he's an "Old Testament, fire and brimstone" special forces agent basically... But whatever, it played well still!
2:24AM on 03/28/2013
The Rock all the way, he just has that charisma about him & seems born to be an entertainer & yes will probably save not one but two franchises with F&F & Gi Joe.
The Rock all the way, he just has that charisma about him & seems born to be an entertainer & yes will probably save not one but two franchises with F&F & Gi Joe.
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+3
12:48AM on 03/28/2013
I agree with The Rock winning this. He was the only reason why anyone still cares about The Fast and Furious franchise. I didn't even see the last one in theaters, but I will be seeing part 6. I remember the first time I saw him as Scorpion King in that mummy movie. He just stole the movie (although the spinoff sucked ass). Vin has been great in Fast and Furious films but Chornicles was just lame imo. Pitch Black was great though, I'll give him that. He was the best thing about that movie.
I agree with The Rock winning this. He was the only reason why anyone still cares about The Fast and Furious franchise. I didn't even see the last one in theaters, but I will be seeing part 6. I remember the first time I saw him as Scorpion King in that mummy movie. He just stole the movie (although the spinoff sucked ass). Vin has been great in Fast and Furious films but Chornicles was just lame imo. Pitch Black was great though, I'll give him that. He was the best thing about that movie.
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2:15AM on 03/28/2013
vin as riddick kills all of johnsons roles none of johnsons roles even compare to how bad ass riddick is gotta go with the furyan here guys i guess its an animal thing diesel all the way!!
vin as riddick kills all of johnsons roles none of johnsons roles even compare to how bad ass riddick is gotta go with the furyan here guys i guess its an animal thing diesel all the way!!