vulture lists

7 Times Vin Diesel Gave a Wooden Performance (Before He Played a Tree in Guardians of the Galaxy)

Photo: Marvel and Getty

In Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Vin Diesel plays a talking treelike humanoid named Groot whose vocabulary consists only of the phrase “I am Groot.” While Diesel does change his inflection every now and then, making Groot more human than tree, it comes as no surprise that Marvel execs chose him for the role, based off a track record of what some consider wooden performances. In Groot’s honor, Vulture has gathered pieces of Vin Diesel movie reviews from across the years in which critics considered his appearances Groot-like.

“Unfortunately, the rest of the humans, who are supposed to help provided character development, are poorly written wooden characters, spewing typically dumb and wooden dialogue.” —

“Diesel’s dry delivery keeps getting odder and sparer.” —

Fast & Furious 6
“Don’t let things like plausibility or Vin Diesel’s wooden line delivery prevent you from enjoying the two-hour thrill ride that he and Justin Lin have fashioned.” —

“Yeah, Diesel’s still a stiff, something that adding the colorful ex-wrestler Mr. Johnson to the mix only underlines.” —

Fast Five
“The eternally stiff leads once again compete for blankest delivery.” —New York Daily News

“It’d be unfair to single out The Rock’s lukewarm performance in Fast Five, though; the cast’s turns vary from predictable cockiness (see: Tyrese) to near comatose emoting (see: Diesel).” —Complex

Fast & Furious
“Vin Diesel can be charming and menacing, but not here. Here, he doesn’t even change expression.” —The Florida Times-Union

Babylon A.D.
“Diesel, for one, doesn’t do anything to rescue the film, delivering some of the least-inspired line readings this side of an industrial film.” —The A.V. Club

The Pacifier
“He just barks orders in that muscle-lipped monotone.” —Entertainment Weekly

The Chronicles of Riddick
“Diesel actually seemed to be progressing as an actor in A Man Apart, where he credibly demonstrated other emotions besides anger and made some stirring speeches. That’s clearly not the case here, where he often comes off as more of a blustering clod than a dynamic star.” —Nashville City Paper

7 Times Vin Diesel Gave a Wooden Performance