xXx: Return of Xander Cage

xXx: Return of Xander Cage

For the second time Vin Diesel has returned to a franchise he skipped out on originally. Ice Cube may have stepped in for the second xXx film, and they may have explained that Xander died in that film... but forget about it! It was, of course, a faked death and Xander has been globe trotting around the world without anyone being able to find him. Until the plot of this film requires Toni Collette's Jane Marke to find him, at which point they find him very quickly to bring him out of retirement. The xXx program is again in action.

Someone somehow has invented a device that can send satellites from out of space hurtling towards whatever location they want on earth. Yep. When a group of 'ghosts' steal the device right out of Jane Marke's hands, they must look for someone who can move and think like them and yep, you guessed it, Xander Cage is that guy. Although the plot of this XxX film may be as forgettable as the previous two, it's the cast that makes it worth watching.

With a cast that spans at least eight or more different countries, it's ticking all the boxes for what a varied cast looks like. Vin Diesel who gets to play up his charm a bit more here than in his role in the Fast and Furious films works well with Donnie Yen as his adversary. Yen, in fact, holds a lot of the film together where another actor may have easily turned the already B-movie plot into slock territory.

Deepika Padukone is also a standout in her first American film. She works well and bounces off all the main cast well and is an actual character, not just the trophy girlfriend the trailers might have you believe.

The supporting cast is fine as well, even if some of the characters I still don't understand. Xander wants a team he can trust so he calls in Ruby Rose as Adele Wolff, a real good sniper, and she's great. Rory McCann as Tennyson Torch a psycho who likes crashing cars and going fast, and he kinda makes sense as a driver. Then there is Kris Wu as Nicks... who is a DJ. Then Marke chucks Xander one last member, Nina Dobrev as Becky who is the tech head and she is quite funny and brings a lot of the laughs to the film. Although it seemed like the writer just based her character somewhat on Felicity Smoak in Arrow.

Samuel L. Jackson is, of course, tearing up the screen and seems to be having a blast as he did in the previous films. The only person who seems to be unable to ride the line between silly and trying too hard is Toni Collette who seems to be trying to play a real bitch so hard her performance just is over the top throughout. Even with the stupid plot happening around me, her performance was off-putting.

Donnie Yen is joined by Tony Jaa, both great material artists. Disappointingly Director D. J. Caruso chose not to make use of their skills or tried and it all got lost in the overuse of shaky cam and quick editing. The fight scenes are simply too disjointed to pack any real punch.

The Return of Xander Cage takes a little while to get going and is a little self-indulgent in the opening scene. Once we get to Xander and he gets his team together it can be a lot of fun. The main team all play off each other well and some of the scenes reminded me of the recent Mission Impossible movies, except our team, has a lot more tattoos and likes extreme sports a little bit too much.

If you didn't like the previous xXx films you won't like this. If you like The Fast & Furious franchise, this is a bit stupider than even that. But if you know what you're in for, this can be a fun night at the cinema.

6/10*

Review By    Dylan Blight

Review By Dylan Blight

KONG Skull Island

KONG Skull Island

La La Land

La La Land