Every time I say something positive about Vin Diesel, people roll their eyes. But they shouldn't. Vin Diesel matters.

He matters because his sexuality is the very pheremonal wavelength of an entire world of suburban teenage white-boy gangsta dreamers. It is a sexuality that functions as a multicultural bridge, connecting Manhattan's Upper East Side to DMX's living room.

He matters because he is genuine. Unlike other dudes like Ben Affleck and Keanu Reeves, he embraces the fact that he is simple. Simple like a dog staring at a ball. Simple like Michael Jordan laughing off a hard foul. Simple like an avalanche. Simplicity, plus those hammers imitating arms, plus that bouncer-in-a-good-mood smile, equals genuine.

He matters because this genuineness gives him the potential to be an all-in-one action hero: James Bond for a KUBE generation, sensual and urban as opposed to posh and witty; Schwarzenegger minus the moral lessons; Dirty Harry without the misanthropy and the old white bones fuming about a "changed world." In fact, Diesel is the exact guy Harry would have pointed his gun at in 1984.

He matters because he makes girls hot and makes guys want to buy him drinks and call him Mr. Diesel. This is a rare quality. Jude Law makes girls hot, but guys don't want to call him Mr. Law. Diesel helps boys and girls get along.

And Diesel can act. He can. See Boiler Room. See The Fast and the Furious. See how he crowbars humanity into his roles where no humanity is supposed to fit. See how his body language breathes subtlety into his luggish characters. Being simple and being subtle do not often mesh, but Diesel weaves them together without effort.

Do not take these praises to mean that I think Diesel is the future of acting, or even the future of sex symbols. But he is much more than just the love child of Steven Seagal and Bianca Jagger. And when I want to see mad testosterone at its most sophisticated, when I want to watch a big person strut and preen and blow things up, Diesel is the elegant, and obvious, choice.