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xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Updated on February 18, 2017
Stevennix2001 profile image

Steven Escareno is an amateur film critic that writes about movies in his spare time.

Stevennix2001's Rating:

6 / 10

Pros:

  • Action scenes were well choreographed; in spite of being a bit cartoonish at times.
  • Jokes were funny.
  • Samuel L. Jackson delivers a solid performance, in the limited screen time he's given.
  • 3-D effects were great if you manage to see it in 3-D.

Cons:

  • Generic cartoon villains, with little to no depth in terms of their personalities
  • Apart from Samuel L. Jackson, the rest of the acting for this movie sucks. Hell, Vin Diesel just flat out plays himself again like he does in every film.
  • Weak generic story, with bland uninteresting characters.
  • While this isn't technically a flaw because it's kind of a given at this point that Vin will do this in any film he stars in, you can't tell me Vin is some type of god that can magically kick just about anyone's a**; regardless of their training or fighting background......

All you got to do is kick some a**. Get the girl, and look dope while doing it. You can do dope can't ya?

Why does the titles of these movies remind me of porn? The "xXx" franchise is arguably one of the most generic cliched ridden action film franchises ever produced. You'd like to think that the action genre has evolved from the big explosions and one liners, with recent entries like the "Bourne" films and "The Accountant", to name a few.

But for every "Accountant" film made, we get dumb fun action movies like the "Furious 7" and "xXx: Return of Xander Cage" to remind us that there's still room for cliched action pieces.

Granted, the second film did try to carry more of a darker, yet serious tone, while giving us arguably an interesting story about corruption within the US. However, this recent sequel brings the franchise back to it's more over the top border line cartoonish action sequences, with cliche one liners. Granted, "xXx: State of the Union" did have it's fair share of cliches and one liners, but it did try to tell more of a serious story, while giving us a bad guy that was kind of intimidating, with Willem Defoe playing a corrupt secretary of defense that manipulates the system for his own gain.

Here, "xXx: Return of Xander Cage" says "f**k all that", and decides cartoonish violence and one dimensional generic villains are the way to go. At least with Willem Defoe, he tried to give you a solid performance. Here, everyone is basically a generic stereotype.

Xander Cage is found to be NOT dead, after he was proclaimed to be in the last one. Big shock. And, it seems that the NSA are the bad guys this time around. What I find interesting about this franchise is that it originally started with the NSA being portrayed as the good guys, who combat terrorism, while even enlisting a person of questionable character like Xander to help them.


In the second film, the NSA was portrayed as a government faction that tries to do the right thing, but it's easily corrupted by the bureaucracy of the system itself. And in the third movie, we're being told that the NSA is nothing more than a government tool of oppression, who only cares about their own agenda. Ouch. Talk about quite a change in perspective. Now, I'm not going to get into whether or not I agree with this sudden change in perception, but I do think it speaks volumes about the times we live in, and where we started from originally.

After 9/11 happened, the NSA was founded, as a way to help track the terrorists down through the world wide web and various other methods. Once considered internet soldiers fighting to protect us by any means necessary. But since Edward Snowden came out with his alleged accusations about the NSA, things changed. People became divided about it's existence, to the point that you even have politicians like Bernie Sanders calling it unconstitutional, while others say it's a necessary evil.

As I said before, I won't dive into my own thoughts on the matter, but it's interesting to see how much these "xXx" films represent the perception of how many people might view the NSA today versus how they used to be viewed by society. Granted, they're portrayed as generic cartoon villains for the most part, but it's interesting nonetheless.

As expected from Vin Diesel, he basically plays himself again in this movie. And like the first "xXx" film, Vin always gets the last word. All the women in the world either want him, or they like him on some basic level. And he's able to easily beat up anyone he wants, even military and NSA personnel with little to no effort on his part. Seriously, at this point in Vin's career, I'm starting to think he's this generation's Steven Seagal.

A tough guy on screen, who says little, but always gets the last word, while kicking just about anyone's a** on screen with little to no effort because....he just can. I mean screw the fact that the people he easily beats up are elite trained soldiers. Screw that. Their intense military training is nothing compared to his extreme sports training and womanizing skills.

And apart from Samuel L. Jackson, all the other actors in this film suck. Seriously, not one of them is able to convey even the slightest hint of emotion outside of utter one liners and sexual innuendos to each other.

However, as much as I can badmouth this movie for it's flaws, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it. Don't get me wrong, "xXx: Return of Xander Cage" is a bad movie by every sense of the word. Hell, the whole trilogy is garbage, but that's what makes it so much fun. Apart from the second one taking itself seriously at times, the other two just roll with the idea that it's just a generic action film meant to entertain. And in a lot of ways, that's what so fun about this franchise.

Sure, it would be nice to get a decent story, but if you're a fan of old school style action movies that feature cliche one liners, then it's worth checking out. Just don't expect too much out of it, and you'll be fine.

© 2017 Steven Escareno

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    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      18 months ago

      thanks.

    • Cid Strife profile image

      Cid Strife 

      18 months ago

      nice review bro. keep up the good work

    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      18 months ago

      mmm that's interesting, as i don't think I've ever seen that one before. I'll definitely check it out. thanks.

    • profile image

      Pat Mills 

      18 months ago from East Chicago, Indiana

      If you want to see a different side of Vin Diesel, I would strongly recommend Find Me Guilty, which is based on fact, and has Diesel with hair on his head. It's a great courtroom flick where he isn't the typical cocky tough guy.

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