A handbrake turn is a common skill seen in Hollywood movies, but it's not just for Vin Diesel. Use of the handbrake locks the rear wheels, and when turning, will help rotate the back end of the car more quickly than a normal turn.
Handbrake turns are frequently used in speed and rally driving to negotiate tight, lower speed corners and can be useful in a variety of low speed maneuvers and stunts. This method of turning tight corners relies on the fact that handbrake usually operate on the rear wheels, which lock when it's pulled on hard. This allows a slide to be induced and a tighter radius or corner will be completed.