vin diesel street sharks

There are two versions of Vin Diesel: the glowering, mumbling tough guy at the center of the Fast and Furious films and the energetic nerd who happily talks about his Dungeons & Dragons campaigns in public.

That second incarnation of Diesel is on display in today’s must-watch video, which finds the pre-fame actor showing off Street Sharks action figures at a 1994 toy fair and doing one helluva job. The next time you watch a new Diesel movie, whether it be Fast 8 or XXX 3: The Return of Xander Cage, know that this dorky fount of pure, unbridled enthusiasm probably still lurks beneath that bulk and that constantly furrowed brow.

Although this video was uploaded to YouTube last year, it’s been making the rounds lately and it’s our first time bearing witness to its majesty. So we’re doing what any good citizen of the internet would do – we’re passing it on to you, to watch and share as you see fit.

There is no context to this video and that somehow makes it all the better. Here is a young, fresh-faced Diesel, four years before he was selected by Steven Spielberg for Saving Private Ryan and seven years before he became a star with The Fast and the Furious, demonstrating the Street Sharks line of toys. With his leather vest and shark tooth necklace, Diesel looks impossibly and adorably ’90s. He even has hair! And we’ll give him this much: he’s truly giving this presentation every effort, delivering lines like “Say hello to that round mound of pound and his power-slam!” and “Very deadly; he loves to tenderize the competition before he eats them!” with surprising gusto.

Hand shark forever, right guys?

Street Sharks was a short-lived animated series and toy line that oh-so-desperately tried to hitch a ride on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gravy train. The crudely animated show followed a group of rad, extreme sports-loving teenagers who were transformed into powerful shark monsters by an evil scientist. Naturally, they use their powers for good. Like the slightly more successful Biker Mice From Mars, this transparent attempt to create another “hip young animal mutants save the city” series feels impossibly cynical to anyone over the age of four.

But we love that Diesel is hawking such a forgotten brand. It makes the video more special and Diesel’s rise to fame more inspiring. Here is an actor so low on the totem pole that he couldn’t even get a gig showing off good toys. Now, he’s one of the most recognizable actors on the planet. We only wish that he’d showcase this goofy energy on screen a little more often. Let down that tough guy facade every now and then!

In any case, selling toys is probably a better gig than demonstrating moves in a breakdancing instructional video. Just about anything is better than that. C’mon, look at the clown in this video!

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