XXX: The Return of Xander Cage

And, finally, I went to see XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. If you are unfamiliar with who – or what – a Xander Cage is and have no idea where he went that he’s returning now, this is probably not the movie for you. I’m not convinced it’s the movie for anyone who isn’t willing to laugh at a big dumb stupid movie. The original XXX was a Vin Diesel Extreme Sports James Bond movie from 2002… it was kind of sort of ok, I suppose. It was followed up with Ice Cube replacing Diesel for the miserable XXX: State of the Union in 2005 and the franchise has been dead ever since.
 
But you can’t keep a good Vin Diesel down and, god love him, he really really really really wants you to like him and he really really really really wants to get another non-Fast, Non-Furious franchise rolling. He produced this movie (film credit: Produced by Vin Diesel, P.G.A.) and you can tell because there’s nobody cooler than Xander Cage / Vin Diesel. Nobody, he tells ya!
 
This is a very very dumb movie and I’m only half-convinced it knows it. It might be completely intentional. I can’t say for sure and that makes me kind of like it. The movie is never nearly as cool as it thinks it is (and it seems to think its VERY cool) and Vin Diesel is certainly NOT as cool as they keep telling us he is (and they tell us often)… and the fact that the movie is so blithely unaware of how uncool it is makes me kind of really enjoy it. I laughed at the movie a lot… or possibly I was laughing with it… which might have been even funnier.
 
So the plot is probably not relevant – bad guys have stolen a device that can hack into satellites and crashing them into cities. Only Vin Diesel can capture the extreme bad guys who stole it because, you know, he’s extreme too. So he gets a team together that are sometimes as baffleing as the more baffling members of the Suicie Squad (Slip Knot: the Man Who Can Climb Anything!) We get a guy played by Rory McCann (The Hound from Game of Thrones) who can crash cars really well, a dude who is a REALLY good DJ and brings the fun (seriously), a lesbian sniper, and a fangirl version of Q who fangirls all over Vin Diesel. She’s played by Nina Dobrev from the Vampire Diaries and she really really really wants to jump Vin Diesel’s bones.
 
In fact, ALL women want to have sex with Vin Diesel. ALL of them… and he does manage to have an orgy in the first ten minutes of the film (off-screen) because Vin Diesel is just that sexy. the movie is very confident – and the producer of the movie is very confident – that Vin Diesel is god’s gift to women. I’m uncovninced…
 
Anyhow, Donnie Yen (recently as the The Force is with me / I am One with the Force guy from Rogue One) is in this movie and he’s the best part of it. Some really good stunt work and action scenes with him. Tony Jaa – another kung fu movie star – is also in it and does very little (I’ve seen some of his flicks – he’s really good). There’s a very gorgeous Bollywood star Deepika Padukone who gets to dress sexy and then have a pretty great shoot-out scene that’s as cool as the movie thinks it is.
 
And, yes, the action – it’s a mixed bag. Sometimes the camera stays fixed on some stunts long enough to appreciate some good work… sometimes it cuts too much. Regardless of that, the action is all over-the-top and goofy… Vin Diesel skis down a jungle mountain and surfs with motorcycles… if you think this is silly, it is. Whether its exciting or not… well, I thought it worked more than it didn’t.
 
So, yeah, this is a very corny movie that I kind of enjoyed. I’m not sure if it knew it was goofy and the fact it might have been being serious was genuinely funny. Vin Diesel as the sexiest, most bad-ass guy alive is funny to me… partly because I’m not sure this wasn’t just Vin Diesel’s literal actual ego preening like a peacock. Or maybe he’s in on the joke. Hell, I can’t say and that’s pretty funny.
Score: 80

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