XXX: The Return of Xander Cage review – Vin Diesel goes full throttle in action-movie silliness

Vin Diesel’s plump-necked, vest-wearing action hombre Xander “XXX” Cage has come lumbering back onto the big screen, delivering sleepy zingers in that growly laryngeal voice, for the first time since 2002. Sadly, it’s the least anticipated franchise renewal imaginable. Only the release of a new Police Academy film could cause less excitement. But Vin, great ridiculous beefcake lunk that he is, does provide us with some fun.

Diesel became the action genre’s lost hero after the first XXX film, in which he played the skateboarding XXX-treme sports guy recruited by Samuel L Jackson to fight for justice. Then he got killed off for the 2005 sequel when Diesel’s fee demands got reportedly XXX-cessive and he was ignominiously replaced by Ice Cube. From then on, Diesel appeared to concentrate on the hugely lucrative Fast & Furious series and his much-cherished sci-fi action hero Riddick which failed to give him solo stardom. But now he has brought Xander Cage back from the dead in a new film made possible by Chinese co-production investment.

And perhaps weirdly, it does have something of the goofy ridiculousness that made the first movie enjoyable. There’s a large amount of 80s/90s-style action-movie silliness, including a shootout on a plane that’s about to crash, topped off with a freefall stunt that Sir Roger Moore would have been proud of. It’s a film to remind you of a comment from the late Roger Ebert: the XXX films were more Theatre of the Absurd than Action Movie. There’s a very entertaining skateboarding scene in the beginning when Xander hanging on to a moving vehicle, like Michael J Fox at the beginning of Back to the Future. And Donnie Yen makes an appearance, treating us to some watchably frantic martial arts moves. Indonesian action legend Tony Jaa also shows up, although his skills are a bit wasted.

The action begins when a satellite falls to earth, and it appears that some sinister bad guys are using a hacking device called a “Pandora’s Box” to bring them down – and intending to use this as a quasi-nuke threat. Intelligence chief Toni Collette convenes a top-level meeting to discuss this at the CIA “headquarters” in New York City (wait: did the Agency move from Langley, Virginia?) Donnie Yen and his comrades show up and astonish one and all with their badassery. There’s only one guy with the cojones to take these people on and that’s Xander. He is smartly re-introduced into the action, apparently hiding out. So his death was a fake, but this film spends zero plot time on trying to style that out, and perhaps that’s all for the best.

Xander convenes his own rag-tag crew of mavericks, attitude-merchants, outsiders and scofflaws, all very different from the uptight world of uniformed jarhead army types for whom Xander has nothing but contempt. He pursues Donnie and the other wrongdoers to a series of faraway climes where they try to disconcert him in a nightclub by lobbing a grenade across the table. As one of Xander’s assistants puts it: “Grenades? What is this, Eastern Europe in the early 90s? What are they going to do next, send you a fax?” But actually, the early 90s is this film’s spiritual home, and for all its absurdity, you can’t really take offence at any of it. For XXX4, I’d prefer more non-weaponised combat and some more old-fashioned silly post-action punchlines.

Vin Diesel in XXX: The Return of Xander Cage Photograph: Allstar/PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Vin Diesel’s plump-necked, vest-carrying movement hombre Xander “XXX” Cage has come lumbering back onto the enormous disclose, handing over sleepy zingers in that growly laryngeal voice, for the primary time taking into account 2002. lamentably, it’s the least predicted franchise renewal that you can imagine. absolute best the discharge of a edition new Police Academy movie may result in so much much less pleasure. but Vin, nice ridiculous beefcake lunk that he is, does present us with some enjoyable.

Diesel was once the motion fashion’s misplaced hero after the primary XXX film, by which he conducted the skateboarding XXX-treme sports activities activities man recruited by way of Samuel L Jackson to combat for justice. Then he acquired killed off for the 2005 sequel when Diesel’s worth calls for bought reportedly XXX-cessive and he used to be as soon as ignominiously changed by the use of Ice dice. From then on, Diesel perceived to pay attention to the hugely a good suggestion quick livid sequence and his rather a lot-cherished sci-fi motion hero Riddick which did not current him solo stardom. however now he has offered Xander Cage once more from the pointless in a brand new movie made that you can imagine via chinese language language co-manufacturing funding.

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage overview – Vin Diesel goes full throttle in …

And in all probability weirdly, it does have something of the goofy ridiculousness that made the first film stress-free. There’s a considerable quantity of 80s/90s-fashion movement-movie silliness, in conjunction with a shootout on a aircraft that’s about to crash, topped off with a freefall stunt that Sir Roger Moore would had been ok with. It’s a movie to remind you of a commentary from the late Roger Ebert: the XXX motion photographs had been more Theatre of the Absurd than motion film. There’s a very dissimilar skateboarding scene first of all when Xander putting on to a moving car, like Michael J Fox to start with of once more to the longer term. And Donnie Yen makes an look, treating us to a few watchably frantic martial arts strikes. Indonesian motion legend Tony Jaa additionally presentations up, even though his skills are moderately wasted.

The action starts offevolved when a satellite tv for pc tv for computer falls to earth, and it appears some sinister dangerous guys are the usage of a hacking instrument referred to as a “Pandora’s container” to ship them down – and intending to use this as a quasi-nuke threat. Intelligence chief Toni Collette convenes a primary-charge-stage assembly to speak about this at the CIA “headquarters” in NY city (wait: did the company switch from Langley, Virginia?) Donnie Yen and his comrades categorical up and astonish every one with their badassery. There’s only one man with the cojones to take these people on and that’s Xander. he’s neatly re-offered into the movement, it seems that hiding out. So his loss of lifestyles was once as soon as a faux, but this movie spends zero plot time on having a look to sort that out, and possibly that’s fascinated with some of the important easiest.

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