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xXx: The Return of Xander Cage - Movie Review

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xXx: The Return of Xander Cage - Movie Review

2 starsKeep that foot on the gas. Apparently, Vin Diesel has enough machismo left in the tank to take lead position in yet another revved-up and frenetic franchise. Xander Cage, extreme sports hero and sometimes government spy (last seen in 2002), has returned to motorcycle surf his way through yet another “tense” mission full of mindless absurdities and scantily clad females.

Who? Say what? Well, yeah, it has been a long while since last we’ve heard from Mr. Cage.   The rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated…and as the role was passed to Ice Cube in the first film’s 2005 sequel, well, you might be a little confused. Thankfully, Vin Diesel knows this and, as only a lovable lug head can, playfully reminds us of the xXx brand each and every chance he gets.

Chances are that you really don’t care. Entertain me, Diesel. Show me something I have never seen before, Diesel. Do it now, Diesel. Satisfy my need for violent explosions and unbelievable stunts and I will walk away happy. Rob me of $20, kind sir, my hands are up and I am helpless.

And in that way, Vin Diesel charms (or mumbles) his way through another round of unasked for spy mayhem.

I’m going to guess you already know what to expect when it comes to this high-octane vehicle of mass destruction. Thrills, spills, and kills, right? Bingo. There might be a ton of exposition at the beginning of the flick – most of it needless since there really is no character development – but that needlessness is made right by all of the skateboarding stunts and other risk-taking shenanigans the xXx team engages in.

Bond-light (not Bond-like, mind you), The Return of Xander Cage exists just because it can. And director D. J. Caruso (Eagle Eye) and screenwriter F. Scott Frazier celebrate this repeatedly with a well-established rock n roll setlist of carnage that tries to top even itself in the final minutes.

In that lens, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage doesn’t disappoint. The team Cage assembles to thwart the criminal Xiang (martial arts star Donnie Yen) and his attempts to control military satellites certainly know their shit. One is a sharpshooter. One is a hacker. Put them all together and you have a volatile combination that makes for some ridiculousness that won’t soon be topped until the summer months.

But, please, throw logic out the window on this one. Samuel L. Jackson, returning as NSA Agent Augustus Eugene Gibbons, wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t really blame him. Walk in with the one goal of wanting to be taken for a thrill ride by beautiful people doing incredible things and I am sure you won’t leave disappointed. This is b-movie material through and through.

Silly and reckless, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage suffers from a sputtering middle that its third act tries to make up for. The film also features the debut of Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone, a hammed-up performance from Toni Collette, and an assortment of other cameos to hold your interest, so all is not lost.

With one amusing thrill ride after another, the third xXx movie jungle skies its way across the finish line never once looking back. This is both a problem for and a complement, bot none of that makes any difference. There will be another one because, well, because there can be…

So buckle up, push the basement-level expectations a bit lower and hang on tightly to anything soundly secured to the sticky theater floor. Love it or hate it, the spy long thought dead has just been cleared to return to active duty.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of gunplay and violent action, and for sexual material and language.
Runtime:
107 mins
Director
: D.J. Caruso
Writer:
Rich Wilkes
Cast:
Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone
Genre
: Action
Tagline:
Kick some ass, get the girl, and try to look dope while you're doing it.
Memorable Movie Quote: "There are no more patriots. Just rebels and tyrants."
Theatrical Distributor:
Paramount Pictures
Official Site: http://www.returnofxandercage.com/
Release Date:
January 20, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Xander Cage is left for dead after an incident, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler Augustus Gibbons.

No details available.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage - Movie Review

 

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