xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)


Who needs one Fast & Furious franchise, when you could have so, so many more?

It’s been many years since we last saw him and as it turns out, daredevil operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) wasn’t doing too much. He was just living big, rich and with plenty of hot, sexy women around him, having all of the fanciest and coolest parties around. But now, he’s being asked to come out of retirement for another job, with this one, hopefully, being the last. Together with a band of trusted nut-jobs just as crazy as he is, Xander must race against time to recover a sinister weapon known as Pandora’s Box, a device that controls every military satellite in the world. But of course, the job isn’t as easy as it seems, what with his arch-rival Xiang (Donnie Yen) looking to take Xander down and, possibly, even a government-conspiracy behind it all.

The only scene with Donnie Yen where there isn’t 20 cuts-a-minute. Maybe.

Return of Xander Cage is clearly trying to make the original xXx look a subtle indie flick, and in a way, that’s fine. The first, while not at all perfect, is often too tame and to held-back by its own edginess to be anything more than just a lackluster attempt at creating a James Bond for the MTV-generation. Now, it seems like the MTV-generation has gone the way of the Dodo and it’s up to its sequel to be the James Bond for the Snapchat crowd.

For better, as well as for worse.

Look, there’s no denying that Xander Cage knows what it is and isn’t making any sort of apologies for itself and that’s fine. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s stupid, it makes literally no sense, it destroys all laws of physics, and yes, it features some of the corniest one-liners in the history of corny action movies. But it’s also a bit too much, which may make it seem like I’m just another self-serious movie-goer who expects high-art with everything he sees.

Is some of that true? Yeah, why not? But trust me, I know and expect Xander Cage not to be an Oscar-worthy film; I just expect it to be a solid action-flick that takes itself somewhat seriously, gives me fun, exciting action set-pieces, and oh yeah, maybe even a believable, charismatic character here and there. It doesn’t have to fly me to the moon or knock it out of the park with every aspect of its creation, but it also doesn’t have to be a total joke of a movie that, without the fancy special-effects, ensemble cast of characters, and huge budget, me and my buddies could have made, drunk off of our asses, tongue-firmly-in-cheek.

All the ladies need a little Vinnie D.

But nope, Xander Cage is, instead, a $85 million movie that plays like a B-movie you’d find in the Wal-Mar bargain bin.

Does that make it a bad movie? Not really, because it sets out to do exactly what it wants to do – be loud, big, and stupid-as-hell – but there’s a fine line between “having fun”, and just “being idiotic”. Xander Cage crosses that line right from the get-go and never seems to even bother to go back; the large stunts, for instance, while awfully imaginative, are clearly so fake, you can almost see the green still left on the screen. No character has a single bit of serious dialogue, with talented actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette, Donnie Yen, Rory McCann, Tony Jaa, and hell, even Diesel himself, really chumming their ways through the whole thing, making it seem especially obvious that they’re in it for the money and not much else. It’s a shame too, because large blockbusters like this can actually have something resembling a heart, a soul, and hell, even cohesion (like the Fast & Furious franchise), but nobody here seems to be bothered with that.

They’re just throwing whatever at the wall, seeing what sticks, and rolling the camera.

And trust me, that’s not as fun as it sounds.

Consensus: Big, loud, expensive, crazy, stupid, and ridiculous, Return of Xander Cage is exactly what it wants to be, but also doesn’t become much else beyond that.

5 / 10

Fur coat off. Sexy.

Photos Courtesy of: Paramount Pictures

Advertisements

One comment

  1. Exaggerated actions scenes have been growing in the industry and it’s ok when we are talking about a Xander Cage movie. It’s Vin Diesel! He can do whatever the hell he wants! But:

    Yesterday I watched Kingsman 2. I live in Portugal and I didn’t go see it at the cinemas and had to wait for it to be available online.
    I enjoyed the first kingsman a lot… Fast paced, classy and with some exaggerated actions scenes. The movie was memorable because of these scenes. However, the sequel exploited these action stunts to hard!! Absurdly hard! (Especially regarding the cowboy and the metal arm guy)

    My point is it’s ok to go over the top sometimes. But only sometimes!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s