Welcome to the first installment of Days of Diesel, a limited SYFY WIRE series that will celebrate actor Vin Diesel's various, often baffling, but always entertaining cultural accomplishments as we look to the premiere of Bloodshot and the return of Dominic Toretto in F9 this spring.
But long before the release of that 2011 blockbuster, Diesel was living his best muscle shirt-only life on the big screen. And, as he creeps up on two decades' worth of doing for muscle tees what De Niro did for Method acting, attention must be paid to this tank top-wearing star's staying power and consistency. In honor of F9 hitting theaters this summer, we're doing the rank and file thing on Diesel's best sleeveless acting moments.
The early 2000s helped Vin best fine-tune his iconic wardrobe aesthetic. As Xtreme Sports junkie-turned-international man of mystery Xander Cage, Diesel scowls at bad guys and shows off enough "metal" shoulder tats to make a dayshift Hot Topic employee blush.
As badass as Cage/Diesel comes off, we wish he jumped out of falling cars and raced motorbikes off exploding rooftops with way fewer sleeves.
The Chronicles of Riddick (2004)
One of the largest box office bombs on Diesel's resume, The Chronicles of Riddick didn't do his early aughts career any favors. In fact, the movie is all but forgotten. What fans do remember is the unique entry this represents in his canon of anti-sleeves performances. Because there is life before, and life after, watching Diesel summon his inner Dune hero wearing armor that protects most of his body minus, you guessed it, his arms.
This sequel to the gritty sci-fi movie Pitch Black is a dumpster fire of a script, but it does give Diesel’s scowl-prone titular character some of his best sleeveless brooding moments. He’s so good, we’d watch a whole movie full of his “heavy-is-the-crown” throne room acting moments like the one pictured here.
The Fate of the Furious (2017)
Diesel gives his sans-sleeves undershirts a break in this sequel's over-the-top car racing scene set in Cuba. Rocking a denim shirt with the sleeves cut off, Toretto tosses lots of Blue Steel-worthy looks from behind the wheel of a souped-up '50s ride before gunning it into the Excessive Action Movie Set Piece Porn Hall of Fame.
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
They might as well have called it Dom's Biceps: The Movie because they are EVERYWHERE. In scenes standing behind tables, or working on car stuff, or talking business over bricks of cash — there's very little Dom does with sleeves or can't do without them.
Diesel's sleeveless status reaches near-deity level here.
Pitch Black (2000)
One of the best movies on Diesel's CV, Pitch Black and the character of Riddick uses the actor’s affinity for muscle tees in service of character. (No, seriously, it's true!) It's part of Riddick's look from the jump as he battles a planet full of creepy aliens that can hunt in the dark. Just like our hero.
Fast Five (2011)
There is life before, and life after, this lewk.
Come at me, bro, indeed. We can't help but stan.