xXx: Vin Diesel Returns in the Sequel Nobody Asked For

by Tim English on January 20, 2017

in Print Reviews,Reviews

[Rock Fist Way Down]

Truth be told, I actually kinda had…fun watching xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Oh, it’s a total piece of crap, don’t get me wrong. It might even be one of the most mind-numbing, dumb ass movies I’ve seen in a long time. But there’s something so ridiculously stupid about it that it kinda makes you wanna hang around and watch the idiocy unfold.

Plus….dude, Donny Yen.

Vin Diesel returns for the sequel that literally nobody asked for as an extreme sports junkie recruited by big government to take out terrorists in an as dumb as it sounds, Triple X program. Just in case you forgot, this is the third movie in the series. (Ice Cube starred in the sequel.) I guess I thought we were done after that. Apparently not.

There still isn’t much of a plot. Okay there is no plot. There’s barely any story structure. It’s nearly two hours of crappy one-liners, action scenes that make little sense, shoddy visual effects and women throwing themselves at Xander…who goes by X, or is it Triple X? I’m not sure what to call him. It’s his name, but XXX is also the name of the super secret spy program created by Samuel L. Jackson’s character. Talk about a confusing branding strategy.

To clear up confusion, we’ll call him X. Presumed dead after bailing out of the sequel, X (Diesel) is brought back into the fold when some bad guys build a device, called Pandora’s Box (ugh), that can spy on anyone, yada yada — but the bad guys are using it to crash satellites until the world pays them a billion dollars or something. Or was that another movie? It doesn’t matter.

It’s pretty much the Fast and Furious template, but instead of thieves and drag racers, Vin assembles a team of completely unqualified idiots to help the government because the apparently have nobody else that has the skills it takes to…ugh. It hurts to explain.

There’s actually a scene Toni Collette’s character turns to this team of wanna be extreme lifers and asks if they have a way of tracking a rogue CIA agent. One of them is a deejay. Seriously. A freaking deejay. In fact, most of the tools he recruits were children when the last movie came out. What the hell is going on here?

According to IMDB, the script was written by an adult, but you’re going to have a hard time convincing me this wasn’t written by a 14 year-old. Nothing in this movie makes any sense, not even in a “suspend your disbelief” kinda way. From the scene where X skis through a jungle to chasing Donnie Yen on a motorcycle through a tidal wave –

Wanted that last one to sink in a bit. Yes. I’m serious. And those aren’t even the dumbest things that happen in this movie.

The cast is pretty awful. I already mentioned poor Toni Collette, who, no fault of her own is unbelievably miscast here and rolls her eyes through most of her scenes. I’m pretty sure the casting net must have been limited to Instagram. There’s a bunch of sexy women and dudes that look more like Abercrombie and Fitch models. Most of them look like they’re trying to refrain from taking selfies while the scenes are happening. And let’s not forget to mention former Kansas City Chief and future Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzalez coming in as one of the main antagonists to X.

It’s the big fight of the movie you guys! Vin Diesel versus Tony Gonzalez!

Yeah, I’m almost done.

But Donny Yen. Easily the best character in Rogue One, Yen easily steal the show here and is given a lot more to do that caters to his fighting style. Is he a bad guy? Is he a good guy? Who cares? He’s fun to watch. I really hope this dude gets some quality roles going forward and is able to rise above this crap. Dude is a genius and a total bad ass and we all deserve to see more of him.

Is it fun? Yes. But it is so fucking stupid you will literally feel your brain cells dying. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is big, it’s dumb, and it’s immature. And if we’re not careful, they’re gonna make a bunch more of them. I feel comfortable saying this will be the dumbest movie of the year. And it’s only January.

Writer. Ad Man. Jedi. Sometimes people ask for my opinion on movies. Sometimes they agree. Member of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Creator and voice of the Reel Hooligans podcast. Find us on iTunes. Board member for the Independent Filmmakers Coalition of Kansas City and founder of the Terror on the Plains Horror Festival.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 LV Home Restoration January 30, 2017 at 11:17 am

I completely forgot about the original XXX. A sequel that nobody asked for is a massive understatement!

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