XXX: The Return of Xander Cage

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I think I can come up with some better titles for Vin Diesel’s return to the XXX franchise.  How about…

XXX:  Physics is Just a Suggestion

or…

XXX:  Yeah, We Know It’s Stupid, But You’re Here Anyway

or…

XXX:  I’m Vin Diesel

Maybe you can guess what I thought of this film.  When the trailer came out, I cringed.  It looked horrendous.  It had to be better, didn’t it?  The answer to that is… this movie was exactly what the trailers were showing it as.

Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) was retired until the government came looking for him to help retrieve a devise stolen by a group of terrorists that could control satellites in orbit and crash them to the earth.  One of these satellite had already crashed and claimed the life of Xander Cage’s “friend”, Nick Fury.  (Wait…. it is not Nick Fury… they just want you to think of him as Nick Fury.  It is Samuel L. Jackson and he played Gibbons).

So Cage sets off to find the terrorists (which he does easily) after reuniting a band of misfit XXX agents.  Toni Collette is here too as some cold government agent who recruited Cage.

This was just a stupid movie.  The dialogue was ridiculous.  The acting was terrible.  Vin Diesel did nothing but smirk and ham it up for the camera and walk around like he was the king of everything.  The heroes ran between bullets without any trouble and shot the disposable villains with ease.  There was absolutely zero stakes or zero intelligence involved in XXX: The Return of Tattoos (seriously, how secret can you be with the XXX tattooed on the back of your bald head?)

The action was not even remotely possible.  There was one scene where one of the terrorists, Talon (Tony Jaa) dropkicked a guy on a motorcycle and landed on the cycle himself.  You could almost see the cut in the film.

About midway through I was thinking how not even Captain America or the Black Widow could get away with doing some of the ridiculous maneuvers that these XXX people were doing… and Cap and Widow are super heroes.  Meanwhile, Xander Cage and Xiang (Donnie Yen) and Serena (Deepika Padukone) as well as the others are doing these tricks like its nothing.  This world is presented to me as if they were agents, not super heroes and that means that they shouldn’t be able to do impossible things.

And even that could be looked past if there was anything here but a stupid, predictable story.  I mean… Fast and the Furious is much the same way, but those movies are fun.  XXX: Let’s Make America Dumb Again is not fun at all.  I had zero fun in this movie.

I will admit that I kind of liked Rory McCann as the alliterative Tennyson Torch.  He had some comic relief moments that did not fall completely flat and he was not as cliched as everything else in the film.  And there was a surprise cameo near the end that didn’t completely suck.

And … could they make Sam L. Jackson more like Nick Fury?  I mean, they aren’t even trying to hide it.  Of course, Vin Diesel’s dialogue could only improve if he were to only say “I am Groot.”

I had never seen the other XXX movies and I will not be rushing out to see them.  It seemed to me that I could feel myself getting dumber as I watched XXX as the movie seemed never to end.  If you can completely shut your mind down and just enjoy some really impossible stunts and a stupid story where you clearly know what is going to happen next, well XXX: The Return of the Cash Grab is for you.

1 star

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