xXx: Return of Xander Cage, directed by D. J. Caruso, stars Vin Diesel as the titular Cage and is set years after the original movie, where Cage faked his death and went into self-exile. He is found and called back, and now he must race against time to recover a sinister weapon known as Pandora’s Box, a device that controls every military satellite in the world. Recruiting a new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of government.
Believe me, it’s not as cool as it sounds.
How does one objectively critique a movie when it doesn’t take itself seriously? I mean, this movie certainly doesn’t. It has a cameo from a footballer whom apparently is secret agent worthy, for goodness sake.
The plot? Pffh. Who cares about something like that? It’s just there to tie up the action set-pieces, right?
I suppose the only way I can really judge it is on how entertaining it was to me. And for the most part, it was…lackluster. Anything that didn’t involve Donnie Yen or Tony Jaa was an incomprehensible mess, but hey, what else do you expect from a multi-million dollar mainstream action movie? We don’t want to potentially hurt our stars!
If it seems like I’m giving this movie a bashing, it’s because I am. We deserve better action scenes, damnit! The John Wick franchise won’t cut it!
But I will say that for the all around poor action scenes, the movie makes up for it with charisma and a general fun attitude. I won’t deny that I enjoyed myself in the theater.
The acting ranges from “eh” to “Jesus shit biscuits what were they thinking”. Vin Diesel blazes through the whole thing having the time of his life, and I’ll give the movie props for not casting Jaa and Yen as the silent, stern, no-bullshit kung fu master archetype, even though I myself actually like that archetype. They actually get to smile in this.
But when it drops the ball though…what the hell was Toni Collette doing? I have never heard dialogue delivery that frustrated me, but I guess there’s a first for everything. Her tone is off, her facial expressions are off, her delivery is way off; thank God she appears in the movie less than she could’ve had.
But besides that turd of a performance, it’s overall fine. You can see most of them are just doing whatever and having fun, and in a way I can respect that.
In conclusion, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is not a good movie, but it’s definitely a fun movie. It’s worth seeing it in the theater if it’s as a matinee price.