xXx: The Next Level (DVD Review)

Image result for xxx the next level

12 – 97mins – 2005


 

COMEBACK TOUR

When their hi-tech underground Headquarters in Virginia is infiltrated and decimated by deadly assailants, escaping NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons (Cell‘s Samuel L. Jackson) sets about repopulating a new unit of deep-cover operatives armed with an arsenal of specialist skills.

“I’m running the show now!”

Distrusting government officials and with his previous golden boy (presumed) dead, Gibbons goes off-grid and re-recruits an old alley: former Navy Seal Darius Stone (Ice Ride Along 2 Cube). Now a jaded inmate, Stone “doesn’t blend,” but he could be the only man for the job when it transpires that the terrorists are led by a scheming double agent, US Secretary of State General George Deckert (Willem Dafoe), who takes out Gibbons in his plot to overthrow the President (Peter Strauss).

Image result for xxx state of the union

Granted the altogether superior subtitle State of the Union in North America, The Next Level (which was originally the poster tagline) under any name still bombed at the box office. Original xXx Vin Diesel allegedly hated the script, while Die Another Day director Lee Tamahori was drafted after the first film’s helmer Rob Cohen opted to make Stealth instead. Bad omens indeed.

Yet for the first twenty minutes or so of xXx Mark 2, I was completely enthralled and engaged. Sure, debuting writer Simon X-Men Kinberg’s script is unnecessarily convoluted and wildly implausible, but as far as bombastic B-movies went, it ticked all the boxes: shoot outs, explosions and chase sequences all got bigger and louder as the runtime breezed by.

“He blows up my cars, he blows up my boats – who the hell is this guy?!”

XXX The Next Level (RENTAL COPY)Alas, a tendency for the incoming leading man to resort to race-related banter (“Brother, I was born looking guilty!”) soon became almost as weary as the hip hop-flavoured soundtrack. So, too, the increasingly obvious CGI by Industrial Light and Magic, which began to wobble under the strain of ambition as Tamahori blew everything up from bullet trains to the White House. No wonder it took them over a decade to get this frantic franchise back on its feet…

CR@B’s Claw Score: 2 stars

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2 thoughts on “xXx: The Next Level (DVD Review)

  1. Pingback: xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Cinema Review) | The CR@Bpendium

  2. Pingback: The Great Wall (Cinema Review) | The CR@Bpendium

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