XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

PrintE-mail Written by Ryan Pollard

If you thought the mindless Underworld franchise was stretching it by having yet another sequel released, well your day has just got better thanks to another sequel in the mindless xXx franchise. Granted, you’d go in thinking this was just an insanely OTT action schlock-fest that was so bad it was hilarious, and there are certain scenes that deliver on that, but just not enough to make this an entertaining watch for you and your mates to enjoy. Frankly, it’s as if everyone and everything in this movie was just going through the motions, and that’s where this movie falls apart and is a perfect demonstration on how lazy writing can damage your movie despite the amount of talent involved.

 

Right from the opening credits, you know the kind of movie you’re getting and the movie itself knows that, which allows the potential to have fun with itself and become crazy and adventurous. You do get that now and then along with impressive action sequences with some terrible CGI involved (notably when Vin Diesel’s Xander Cage runs out of an exploding plane), yet it doesn’t deliver on its cheesy potential and opts to go for the generic, safe and bland route. The movie tricks you at first when you have Vin Diesel jumping off a radio tower, skiing through the forest and skateboarding on the side of a bus, but suddenly all the generic tropes that we’ve seen a thousand times before creeps in and hampers the fun and wastes its talented cast.

 

Vin Diesel becomes insufferably annoying as the film goes on, Toni Collette looks bored out of her brain, Samuel L. Jackson shows up for five minutes to collect his pay cheque, both Kris Wu and Rory McCann end up being pointless additions with no personalities, at times Deepika Padukone looks out of place and Hermione Corfield’s cameo is questionable at best. Plus, having Nina Dobrev as a geeky weapons specialist is about as believable as Denise Richards in The World Is Not Enough having a degree in nuclear physics (let that thought sink in)… However, Ruby Rose was a fun addition as the badass sniper, while Donnie Yen was utilised properly and, like in Rogue One, this demonstrates why he is one of the true martial arts legends. Just a shame that poor Tony Jaa (another martial arts legend!) ends up getting the short end of the stick.

 

With films like Broken Arrow, Commando and even the recent Mechanic: Resurrection, they were outlandish, ridiculous and stupid to the point where you would be having a great old time and laughing all the way through, whereas xXx: Return of Xander Cage is stupid to the point of becoming tired and forced. They even try to sequel bait at the very end, as a means of setting up and building the future of the xXx franchise, but what we have here just wasn’t enough to earn and justify that, even by bringing back its big star in Vin Diesel. Granted there are some impressive action sequences and some brief goofy scenes here and there, but there were far and few between, and director D.J. Caruso fails to inject new blood into this age-old franchise. Maybe if this was on TV or On-Demand then it would probably be worth a watch, but otherwise, just watch the trailer as it shows all the best moments you’re going to get.

 

XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE / CERT: 12A / DIRECTOR: D.J. CARUSO / SCREENPLAY: F. SCOTT FRAZIER / STARRING: VIN DIESEL, DONNIE YEN, TONI COLLETTE, DEEPIKA PADUKONE, SAMUEL L. JACKSON / RELEASE DATE: 29TH MAY




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