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xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

★★

THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jess Fenton
18th January 2017

With Daniel Craig’s fate as James Bond up in the air, many have started to speculate as to who the new 007 should be. Is it time to break the rules and cast an actor of colour in the role, or shall the infamous tuxedo become a sexy evening gown filled by a Jamie Bond perhaps? While the rest of the world salivates over the mere fantasy of Idris Elba with a license to kill (myself included), it did suddenly dawn on me that we’ve already got a “black James Bond” - only this one goes by the name of Xander Cage. He may not have the tux or that buttery British accent but he has a Q, an M, and a problem with authority despite working for it. He’s fearless. Charming. Bags any babe he can get his hands on. Always seems to have a steady stream of quips and atrocious one-liners in his back pocket, and always starts his adventures with a daring and comically impossible opening sequence. Your minds are totally blown right now, aren’t they?

SWITCH: 'xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE' TRAILER 2

It’s been 15 years since Vin Diesel adopted the Xander Cage guise. But he didn’t don it for the 2005 sequel - that “honour” was left to Ice Cube. In true Diesel style, he left when the going got good - just like the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise - only to return down the road when the going didn’t turn out to be a good as expected. Alas, Vin (and Xander) is back, front and centre in franchise heaven where he belongs.

This time around, Xander is “back from the dead” and recruited once again, this time by NSA agent Jane Marke (Toni Collette) to recover “Pandora’s Box” - a device that can basically do anything others don’t want you to do. At the moment it’s being used to systematically bring any of Earth’s 33,000 satellites down on any target. Assembling his own team of the good, the bad and the extreme (Ruby Rose, Kris Wu and Rory McCann), they first have to track down a couple of ghosts - but things start getting complicated when it turns out not everything is as it seems.

So, here’s what ‘xXx” gets wrong: it’s the world’s stupidest movie. The special effects that make ‘Land of the Lost’ look believable. The cringeworthy dialogue and one-liners that makes ‘GoldenEye’ read like Shakespeare. And the cliché women in barely any clothing with pouty lips. But here’s what ‘xXx’ gets right: The United Colours of Benetton casting and the epic stunts and action sequences. But here’s where ‘xXx’ gets confusing: it’s too serious to be funny, yet too funny to be serious. If the film didn’t take itself so seriously it would be an awesome action, adventure, laugh riot. In fact, it’s so stupid you can’t help but wonder if the joke is on us and they’re just taking the piss. But then again, they don’t seem to be laughing at themselves - at least not for the majority of the time - so where do we stand?

It’s so stupid you can’t help but wonder if the joke is on us and they are just taking the piss.

Here’s what I do know: Toni Collette should be embarrassed. There will undoubtedly be a fourth ‘xXx’ film. The opening sequence needed to be three times as long and then it could possibly rival any James Bond opener. I’m pretty sure not even Vin himself can tell the difference between Xander Cage and Dominic Toretto. Just one month after stealing the show in ‘Rogue One’ Donnie Yen is at it again in ‘Return of Xander Cage’. I sort of liked Nina Dobrev’s character (after a while) but at the end I still kinda wanted to punch her in the face. Most of the (almost) non-stop action is pretty cool.

Look, at the end of the day, ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ and Xander Cage himself have a mandate: kick some arse. Get the girl. And try to look dope doing it. Mission accomplished.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 19/01/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 47m
CAST: Vin Diesel
Nina Dobrev
Samuel L. Jackson
Ice Cube
Toni Collette
Deepika Padukone
Ariadna Gutiérrez-Arévalo
DIRECTOR: D.j. Caruso
WRITER: F. Scott Frazier
www.returnofxandercage.com
ReturnOfXanderCageAU
xxxMovie
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