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xXx: The Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

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xXx: The Return of Xander Cage Movie Review
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

As if anyone was jonesing for another Vin Diesel action vehicle, D.J. Caruso’s xXx: The Return of Xander Cage graced our movie screens and now lands on DVD with a resounding thud. Vin Diesel reprises his role as the daredevil, extreme sports aficionado, Xander Cage. This time he is brought back into the fold to save the world from Pandora’s Box, a digital box (of sorts) that can activate satellites and send them crashing into Earth. It seems to me, if I were some megalomaniacal, criminal mastermind I would want to leave the satellites alone so I can use them to perpetrate my crimes. Without any satellites, kinda narrows my options for committing crimes and getting away with it. Different strokes for different folks, as they say. One more note, if you are going to this film thinking you will see a lot of Gibbons (Samuel Jackson) and Darius Stone (Ice Cube) working with Xander to save the world, save your money. Their screen time adds up to about five minutes.

Xander recruits his team of misfits, all specializing in certain areas of reconnaissance and fighting. Adele Wolf (Ruby Rose) complete with green hair is a sniper that seems to have better aim than most professional snipers. She is the most pleasing of these characters, if for nothing else, as pleasant eye candy and a million dollar smile. Xiang (Donnie Yen) is sort of the Asian version of Xander and a LOT more serious. Tennyson Torch (Rory McCann) is the man who loves to crash vehicles of any kind into anything he can and he comes with his own mouth guard. Which begs the question why would you want someone who loves to initiate smash ups being the driver of you getaway transportation? Isn’t the idea NOT to crash and make your escape? I have no idea what Nicks (Kris Wu) was supposed to be good at except taking over a turntable and becoming an uninvited DJ. Talon (Tony Jaa) hardly has any speaking lines but spends most of his time running around with nothing to do. Deepika Padukone is Serena Unger a female version of Xander only with more of a conscience. She does not care how she saves the world or how she looks doing it, she just wants to save the world. She is supposed to be another one of Xander’s conquests, but we are asked to believe that he really cares for her. HA!!

In order to execute his mission, Xander first pays a visit to Ainsley, a computer hacker who is now relegated to house arrest and an ankle alarm, thanks to Her Majesty, The Queen. She if forbidden to even touch a computer but that does not stop her from hiring a team of beautiful female hackers who are no more than six feet away from her at all times. If she is not allowed to touch a computer, how does she explain to her parole office the half dozen models she employs who are ALL ON COMPUTERS? Throw in Nina Dobrev as Becky Clearidge, a systems engineer who does not like being in the field of action and prefers to swoon over Xander’s body, on the plane. Her character was excruciating. People in these positions are smart and for the most part, mature. PROFESSIONALS, in other words. Her character comes across as nothing more than an undersexed teeny bobber. You would think she has never seen a good looking guy before. In fact, there are several scenes which involve Xander bedding down several women at a time. The man is pushing fifty, in reality and he is laying down with girls who are mostly all still in their twenties. The whole film is just rife with crass, tasteless and sleazy innuendos which are not funny but rather gross.

There is another scene in which Xander asks Ainsley for help and she instructs her all female staff to do find out what intel he needs and to spend the night with him; ALL OF THEM. I guess Ainsley draws the line for her own sexual liaisons but not her “staff”. It seems Ainsley has an “ankle alarm” around another part of her anatomy. The fact that she would expect her “ladies” to do something with a strange man, that she won’t do is quite unsettling. Also, I wonder how she paid these “employees” since she is under house arrest but still manages to live like a queen. Don’t the authorities seize a criminal’s assets when they are caught?  Anywho, the very next scene shows the bedroom with all of the ladies exhausted, passed out and over indulged from a night of sexual excess and Xander admiring his sexual prowess with a dopey smile and ridiculous one liner. Quite frankly, it is all too much and without an ounce of class. Not much of xXx makes any sense, either. The list of misfits above don’t have much to do and when you have two legends like Tony Jaa and Donny Yen that are largely wasted, I simply threw up my hands in disgust. And don’t get me started on the wretched CGI or this review will be even longer than it already is.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is silly, crass and mind-numbingly dull. Before I get all of the hate mail that I “missed the point of the movie”, I get it. It is supposed to be stupid. I actually liked the first film. It was nothing exemplary, but I did enjoy the mixture of campy comedy and stylized action. That film had a great bad guy and some meat on the plot, so it worked for me. But 2002 was a long time ago and Xander comes across now as a dirty older man who still thinks he’s “got it” but has actually “lost it” a while ago. The comedy in this film is flat and without an ounce of wit. The action is routine and quite devoid of any energy, style or believability. There is another scene in which Xander is chasing a suspect on a motorcycle. After a romp through the jungle, they come to the ocean. They both push buttons and the bikes produce water ski blades around the tires. Now, the suspect Xander was chasing was of normal build and does not sink in the water but Xander is huge and all muscle. How does his bike not sink immediately?  In fact, it is only after a wave takes him out that he goes under. He then guns the engine and flies out of the water, airborne. All I could do was shake my head. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is full of ridiculousness like this. The filmmakers want the viewers to take the plot seriously, but there is nothing the warrants any effort for us to do so. This film makes me long for more films like Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter and that was crap, too.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage – * out of 5

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage – Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual situations, sexual innuendo and language

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage – Run Time is 106 minutes

If you still insist on seeing this film, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is now available on DVD, On Demand and subscription services.

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