xXx: Return of Xander Cage


Judd: The first xXx movie came out in 2002, starring Vin Diesel as a young(ish) X-TREME sports athlete, Xander Cage, tapped on the shoulder by the US government to be an X-TREME spy. BOOM-SHAKALAKA! Fifteen years later, Xander Cage is believed to be dead, but the xXx program is still operating, recruiting the X-TREME-iest, gnarliest, Mountain Dew guzzlin’-est, ‘boarders out there to become American operatives. That is until a device called “Pandora’s Box” is unleashed, threatening to crash the whole world’s satellite communications. Once again, the US Government reaches out to 50 year old Vin Diesel to parkour his way around the world, Ben-Gay in hand, and save us all one more time. xXx: Return of Xander Cage stars Vin Diesel, Donnie Ye, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Rory McCann, Toni Collett and Samuel L Jackson; directed by DJ Caruso, written by F Scott Frazier.

If I were a thirteen year old boy, I would have loved this movie; it had everything I would have wanted. X-TREME action, an anti-hero in a fur coat, and titillating-yet-innocuous lesbianism. The movie is big, dumb and loud – just like its target audience. When Jane Marke (Collette), current head of the xXx program, reaches out to Xander for this new critical mission, he assembles his team of XTREME specialists – not featured in the first two movies – an Asian DJ; a lesbian sniper; a “European” driver, and a nerdy-but-hot-without-the-glasses IT specialist. Their mission to track down the bad guys that have Pandora’s Box, while telling the US Government that they’ll handle it their own way! It’s what the Fast and Furious movies have become without the rest of the big-star names. All Vin All the Time!

DJ Caruso’s big movies leading up to xXx, have been the Shia LeBeouf vehicles, Disturbia and Eagle Eye, along with I Am Number Four and The Disappointments Room. He has a Michael Bay-esque knack for staging big action sequences, but his SFX department blew their budget on a weightless gunfight at the end of the movie, leaving the first 40 minutes filled with terrible green-screen effects. Also, the wigs that Collette and Jackson wear are hideous; they had no money left to spend on quality spirit gum because I would swear I saw Collette’s hairpiece curling up from her forehead.

I went in expecting a big, dumb action movie and that’s exactly what I got. The plot is thin, the action is unbelievable, and there are no surprises. xXx: Return of Xander Cage isn’t a movie that I would sit down and watch, but I wouldn’t tell anyone not to see it. If you’re looking for 100 minutes of mindless entertainment, this fits the bill. The movie’s saving grace is that it doesn’t take itself seriously. We already know Jackson will do anything for fun and a paycheck, and the rest of the cast is right along with him.

Judd: 2 stars

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