xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Cinema Review)

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12A – 107mins – 2017 – 3D


 

CAGE FIGHTER

After Mr Cube’s substitute adventure put the franchise on, erm, ice for a decade, Vin Diesel’s renewed bankability following the resurgence of The Fast & The Furious series saw a reinvigorated interest in a return for the true xXx – and his ‘iconic’ fur coat!

Belated threequel Return of Xander Cage does exactly what it says in the title. After years in self-imposed exile (read: sunning his pecs in the Dominican Republic), the tattooed muscleman is called back into the ring to counter a new threat to global security in the shape of a mysterious piece of tech codenamed “Pandora’s Box” – a weaponised device capable of crashing satellites and using them as warheads.

While Xander is given free rein to hand-pick his own team of experts, a second unit of super-flexible martial artists lead by the seemingly-invincible Xiang (Donnie Rogue One Yen) are also after the box, and each has their own agenda and very diverse ideas about whether to use or dispose of the deadly weapon.

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PR-pushers would doubtless classify Disturbia director D.J. Caruso’s relentless stunt-fest as “breathtaking” and “high-octane,” and while I concede that it is bigger, bolder and flashier than The Next Level, that is where any compliments cease, for cocky, crass and darn-near unwatchable would be better adjectives to sum up this rattlebang trainwreck.

I lost count of the number of eye rolls and tuts I made in the cinema as I struggled through this vacuous, testerone-pumped, sex-obsessed dross. Vin and pals Ruby Rose, Kris Wu, Rory McCann and Deepika Padukone cheat death, gravity and audiences out of price of a ticket for nearly two hours of stunt-heavy unoriginality.

As the Pitch Black beefcake’s task force travel the globe and counter formidable foes, pesky prototypes and government conspiracies, the most enthusiastic I got was when they stop-off at nearby RAF Lakenheath to load a plane. But as with the other more exotic locales they visit (Russia, Philippines, Detroit), the perpetual sense of kinetic restlessness means they don’t stay anywhere for too long without shooting a gun or shooting their mouths off!

Xcrutiatingly Xuberant Xcrement could well be what the xXx stands for, with the film’s lowest ebbs falling to Vampire Diaries star Nina Dobrev as a “geeky” (read: she wears glasses) weapons specialist who suffers a Jar Jar Binks-style happy accident when handed a machine gun in a battle scenario, and returning NSA Agent Gibbons (Sam Miss Peregrine’s Jackson) who literally repeats the X-act same bookending plotline he did in 2005 – X-cept they treat his return as a “surprise” twist come the epilogue reveal!

CR@B’s Claw Score: 1 star

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2 thoughts on “xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Cinema Review)

  1. Pingback: The Disappointments Room (Film Review | The CR@Bpendium

  2. Pingback: Kong: Skull Island (Cinema Review) | The CR@Bpendium

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