MGM, ‘The State,’ and Vin Diesel Will Build ‘The Machine’

Good news for a once bankrupt and destitute MGM, their first new production since hitting skid row is on the way. And, perhaps poetically, their new production teams them up with a man who is also on his way back up in the business. The Machine has signed Vin Diesel to star and produce. At the beginning of the 2000s many people saw Diesel as the next king of the action movie genre, but his career never really worked out that way, and Diesel saw his star power fade a bit over the past ten years. With the release and huge success of this year’s Fast Five, Diesel has another chance to make it to the top of the mountain. Could this be the smash hit that will finally anoint him as Hollywood royalty?

The Machine sounds like kind of a cross between The Terminator and The Iron Giant. Those are two things that I love, so if they can find a balance in tone, I would say that this project has some real potential. Diesel will play a government weapon that was built to look like a human being, and who has been deactivated for many years. As this film opens, the killer robot is found, reactivated, and befriended by a small child. Presumably a lot of bonding happens after that, then followed up by a big action sequence where the government comes to try and reacquire the machine. Kind of like E.T., only Diesel’s character will love steroids instead of Reese’s Pieces.

Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, who also have producer’s credits, have written the script. You probably know them from cult television like The State and Reno 911, but what some people don’t know is that they’ve made a second career for themselves writing broad appeal family comedies like Herbie Fully Loaded and Night at the Museum. Say what you will about the perhaps cynical nature of going from progressive comedy to writing scripts that very clearly exist only to make money, but it’s stuff like this that keeps the movie industry in business. I’m betting Vin Diesel and MGM are hoping that the duo can do for them what they did for Ben Stiller. You know, make them tons of money. And for us, the film-going audience, let’s just hope that this thing ends up being better than Night at the Museum. [Deadline Blue Mound]

Weaned on the genre films of the 80s. Reared by the independent movement of the 90s. Earned a BA for writing stuff in the 00s. Reviews current releases at

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