xXx: Return Of Xander Cage Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage
  • Directing7.5
  • Writing6
  • Acting6.5
Overall6.7

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is an over-the-top action-packed spy movie on speed and energy drinks. D.J. Caruso's direction takes advantage of the colorful cast, while Vin Diesel continues to refuse to wear sleeved shirts. It's a glorious piece of B-movie fun that is easily the best in the series, but far from a "good" movie.

Vin Diesel returns to the long dormant xXx franchise for its sequel, Return of Xander Cage. In it, Diesel proves yet again that his acting skills are questionable, but his methods are solid when it comes to making silly B-movies that make very little sense. xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a second-class spy knockoff, only infused with extreme sports, speed and lots of caffeine as it trots the globe high on adrenaline and low on story.

For those of you that don’t remember, xXx was a little action flick staring Vin Diesel before his Fast & Furious fame reached an all-time high. It was a one-and-done film that he did, playing an extreme sports outcast turned secret agent recruited and believed in by Samuel L. Jackson‘s Gibbons.

Back then, Xander Cage wasn’t a name worth much, but people knew of the film and mostly kept it towards the bottom of Diesel’s ever-expanding resume.

But now Diesel is a hot property, which means rebooting or sequelizing all of his movies, including the Riddick series and now xXx.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage feels like an action flick that capitalizes on what we thought we remembered about the first film, even though the first film wasn’t exactly that “out there”.

It was silly yes, but it still functioned primarily as a straight-faced action film, only with Diesel’s character being somewhat eccentric.

Now, Return of Xander Cage introduces us to a new Xander Cage — one that’s beyond over-the-top and crazy, not to mention slightly entertaining.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is the type of action flick that will halt the story and divert plans so that its main character can find his trusty fur coat. It’s the kind of movie that casts stars from around the globe, but insists on giving them stereotypical roles to play and accents to speak with.

To some, xXx: Return of Xander Cage might be one of the most offensive movies of the year, while to others — Return of Xander Cage is going to be the type of film you share a round of high fives with your buddies while watching. Xander Cage skis down a tropical mountain, dirt bikes on the ocean and jumps out of a plane without a parachute.

And he does all of this with a smile on his face and a wink towards the audience the entire time. And you’re either going to be completely on board with this movie or you’re going to hate every single thing about it.

I mostly enjoyed it. Sure, it’s nothing amazing, but it is memorable and entertaining and it allowed me to turn my brain off and just digest the sheer insanity that was evolving on the screen.

Vin Diesel utilizes his fan base and producer pull as a name worth showing up for and delivers an action film that’s so damn determined to beĀ ridiculous. You’ve got to hand it to him and almost respect him for getting this film made in this day and age.

Director D.J. Caruso shoots the film with an over-dramatic score and a heightened sense of action that’s easy to watch and sit through, which is really all you can ask for in a film like this.

The cast is mostly used to their best abilities, aside from Tony Jaa — who mostly just dances and sings, while Donnie Yen steals the show as the martial arts master.

Yen has been on a Hollywood hot streak, having starred in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last month and now xXx: Return of Xander Cage. I hope this gets him even more starring roles, because he’s a much-needed talent that knows how to be smart and bad ass at the same time.

Diesel pretty much plays an extended version of himself in the film, which is similar to his roles in the Riddick series as well as Fast & Furious. That isn’t a diss or even a compliment, but just a note about Diesel’s personality and charm that goes a long way on the screen.

Most will probably find xXx: Return of Xander Cage to be a simple, but engrossing sliceĀ of action cinema that’ll win you over with its dumbness and lack of logic, but I can see those that take their movies a little too serious finding this one to be a chore of patience and execution, because Return of Xander Cage makes it very clear what kind of film it is in the opening minutes and it sticks to that theme the entire film. You’re either on board or you’re missing out on an amusing way to kill and hour and a half.

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