xXx: The Return of Xander Cage Review

Did we travel back in time to the early 2000s? Because there’s no way anybody can be into extreme sports era of filmmaking and be all that excited about an action movie that’s probably isn’t going to be good but at least be fun in a different way. You know that it’s going to be silly and over-the-top because the title is xXx: The Return of Xander Cage, but dumber than it looks.

After coming out of self-imposed exile, daredevil operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) must race against time to recover a sinister weapon known as Pandora’s Box, a device that controls every military satellite in the world. Recruiting a new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of government.

There was a time where I think the idea of a third xXx movie would sound exciting. The first movie back in 2002 wasn’t a good action movie but it’s a guilty pleasure for me. When mentioning the 2005 sequel xXx: State of the Union with Ice Cube, it’s agree upon everyone that it was total crap through and through. The trailers were completely idiotic as it looks like a ride at Universal Studios lessening the expectations going into it. But having Xander Cage back in a dumb yet fun action movie would be exciting. Just imagine that stellar action set pieces that might be cool when it’s done onscreen. So if this was a way of re-starting a dead franchise, probably the best idea is to stay away because this is dumb in the literal sense. It felt like a self-parody of itself.

Was there needs to be a storyline where the protagonist or perhaps a team needs to find some kind of thing to save the world? No, that’s been done a million times before and it isn’t new here.

Suspending disbelief about all of the action scenes is impossible. Almost none of them felt real and it doesn’t make you hold your breath when it’s going down. They are ridiculous and absurd every time it ends trying to balance humor and action, which the tone doesn’t match. You can be taken seriously when there’s a motorbike case that ends up in the ocean.

As much as I really like Diesel as an action star, he doesn’t do a good job in this. He didn’t put in a good performance as he delivers some of the cheesiest one- liners that are given to him. Some moments felt like he is Xander Cage as he’s pretty much unstoppable. And just like Cage, none of the other characters aren’t worth a dime caring about that’s based on the other performances. I’m still struggling why Toni Collette wanted to be a part of this as she was completely miscast as the agent. She’s too good for this role. Nina Dobrev as the geeky weapons specialist was hot to look at but was really annoying throughout.

Even though I’m aware that this is a dumb action movie, it failed to be enjoyable. It felt like director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia) don’t know how to handle action that will be memorable as at times, it was taken a bit too seriously. There wasn’t suspense or real motivation to be found as it isn’t given momentum to lay it out.

If there was a saving grace in this, it would be Donnie Yen as he carried this action scenes quite well.

It’s fast-paced when it’s needed to be even though quick editing does help. Making a sequel to a franchise that everybody forgotten about wasn’t the best idea. Horrible writing, dimwitted action, and it’s nothing to call extreme about third unnecessary installment. It’s so dumb, it’s bad that this makes The Expendables 3 look like Mission: Impossible- Ghost Protocol. Anybody who likes the first two movies, they’ll like this. It’s just terrible on my account.

At least Diesel still has the Fast and the Furious franchise to lean on to. Because those movies are actually awesome.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage will be fun for adrenaline junkies, but this implausible sequel aimed so low trying to be cool.

Grade: D

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