Movies & TV Reviews

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Review

(xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Paramount Pictures)

It’s officially been 15 long years since Vin Diesel premiered his (other) big action persona, Xander Cage, in the Rob Cohen directed xXx. Made with $70 million dollars and grossing $277.4 million dollars worldwide, the film managed to make enough for the world to be blessed with a sequel, xXx: State of the Union starring…Ice Cube. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure what the world did to deserve either of those films in the early 2000’s. Both films feature the worst examples of action blockbusters at the time and only added to the enigmatic superstar that is Vin Diesel. So watching xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a bizarre experience when you look into those other movies. Not only has Diesel brought the ridiculous premise of the xXx films, but he’s added the absurdity of the Fast & Furious movies as well.

Do you remember the plots of either of the xXx movies? Neither did I! Don’t worry, if you’ve ever seen a Vin Diesel movie, you’ll be happy to know he stars as another version of himself named Xander Cage. If you need a primer for this film, imagine Vin Diesel is playing a version of himself that has a cringe-worthy sense of humor that loves EXTREME sports. In this movie, Donnie Yen stars as Donnie Yen “playing” Xiang, chasing after another doomsday device called Pandora’s Box that is able to shoot satellites with incredible precision at small targets on Earth. I’m not sure if we ever find out why he wants it, but he does. Along with Yen is Hawk (MMA fighter Michael Bisping) who’s extreme thing is that he can beat people up, Serena (Deepika Padukone), and Talon (Tony Jaa) who specialises in jumping far distances and terrible dance moves. I’m trying to do this plot justice and it’s just not possible.

xxx-return-2

(xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Paramount Pictures)

xXx is brought out of hiding by CIA Agent Jane Marke (Toni Collette) to avenge the death of former mentor, Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson). And as Gibbons was apparently the best of us, Cage must gather a crew of EXTREME people like Adele (Ruby Rose), a sniper specialist, Tennyson (Rory McCann), who is trusted to drive vehicles after bragging that he’s almost been in 200 accidents and DJ Nicks (Kris Wu), he has the ability to make people dance! Can you believe this movie? I can’t believe I watched this movie. A company spent $85 million dollars on this. I’m serious, look it up.

There’s always been a bit of a mystery as to whether Diesel is aware that he looks like an idiot. xXx: Return of Xander Cage only deepens that mystery to the extent that I just want to know if someone told him he’s not cool. Diesel knows how to make a movie that plays to all quadrants. There’s gotta be a multi-cultural cast to appeal to all markets, women have to be just as badass as the men, there must be a load of terrible jokes, any women that aren’t badass have to be in various states of undress around Vin Diesel in particular and there can be no signs of intelligence throughout. And it somehow works! Can someone tell me how this works?

xxx-return-3

(xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Paramount Pictures)

This is a movie that has Diesel ski down a tropical forest (not how skis work), jumps out of a plane like he’s flying through the air, implies that a hacker can talk 7 or 8 women to have sex with Cage to look for a bug that is or isn’t there. Vin Diesel only proves that people really don’t give a shit about believability in their movies. They want to see Vin kick some ass, get the girl he has no chance with, and trying to look dope while he does it. With the help of director D.J. Caruso, he mostly succeeds. This film is a mess of poorly shot action, terrible jokes, most bad editing, and a violent regression on all intelligence. Oh sorry, I was trying to be positive. This film is a load of fun when you consider it’s so stupid that it doesn’t bother to be smart at all, the charisma of the actors shines throughout, and there seem to be some winks here and there (none by Diesel) that suggest the filmmakers might know what they’re doing.

If you loved the trailer, you’re going to love this. If you love the idea of Diesel looking like he’s about to fall apart when he punches someone, this movie is for you. If you love absurdity and the fact that Vin Diesel is somehow a movie star, well this is gonna be your kind of movie. xXx: Return of Xander Cage still confuses the hell out of me. I facepalmed during this movie more than I can remember, but I laughed almost the exact amount of times. xXx is a beautiful mess of a movie and one that we should treasure while we watch it.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage

xXx: Return of Xander Cage
60

Score

6/10

    Pros

    • Vin Diesel is as ridiculous and fun as he has ever been
    • The first xXx movie to feel even a tiny bit self-aware
    • The action (especially from Donnie Yen) is mostly exciting and fun
    • The cameos, oh man, those cameos.

    Cons

    • One of the worst shot films I've seen in a very long time
    • Editing is usually mishandled
    • CG is quite frequently terrible

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