‘xXx: the Return of Xander Cage’ Review

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Our Rating

Geek Devil Stars8
8

Fifteen years after the original film, Vin Diesel returns as the extreme sports rebel turned spy, Xander Cage (also known as xXx, hence the title).

Although films of this nature are not everyone’s cup of tea, “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” does not pretend to be anything else other than a popcorn flick that does not take itself seriously and requires the viewer not to use their brain.

The first xXx film was a fun, over-the-top, adrenaline fuelled film, packed with Diesel voiced one liners, a combination of real and CGI integrated action set pieces with a loud, rock/alternative/hip hop soundtrack.

For the sequel, xXx: The Next Level (or xXx: The State of Union as it is know as in some countries) Ice Cube, replaced Vin Diesel ,as Darius Stone, a former US Navy Seal who gets recruited, while in prison, to join the xXx program and save the day.

This time in the third instalment, Vin Diesel returns as Xander, who is now believed to be dead but really hiding in an exile paradise. The film opens with Samuel L. Jackson’s Augustus Gibbons recruiting Neymar into the xXx programme (yes, the Brazilian footballer himself in a cameo role). Meanwhile Xander is up to his old rebellious tricks as we first find him at the top of a communication tower in the tropical Dominican Republic stealing a device, while getting ready to ski down and into a forest which then leads into a full paced skateboarding scene with Xander being chased by security guards and outpacing them with his unique extreme skills.

 

Although having thought to be dead by the National Security Agency (NSA), Xander is eventually found and given a new mission to obtain a deadly weapon known as Pandora’s Box, which was stolen by Xiang (played superbly by Donnie Yen, who was last seen in battling stormtroopers and being one with the force in Star Wars: Rogue One) and his group of outlaws (consisting of Bollywood actress making her debut Hollywood film Deepika Padukone, a blonde Tony Jaa, and UFC fighter and actor Mike Bisping) who all have a skills similar to Xander.

 

After literally “pulling the cord” on the soldiers assigned to assist him and getting them thrown off a plane, Xander recruits his own team made up of the of a mischievous sniper (Ruby Rose), fun guy to be around Nicks (Chinese actor and former EXO member Kris Wu) and the crazy Tennison Torch (Scottish actor Rory McCann). Together with his team, Xander goes after Xiang and his gang which leads to a motorbike transforming jet-ski chase. Once Xander gets to know Xiang and the rest of the misfits he then realises that all is not what it seems.

The main charm of the film is the diverse cast made up of established actors from the Bollywood, Hong Kong and the Thailand film industres. Deepika, who was originally invited to be in Fast & Furious 7 but was unable to as she was filming a Bollywood film at the time, shines and is stunning as Serena Unger, while Donnie lets loose his action skills (something he is very well known for in his Hong Kong films such as SPL (aka Killzone) and Ip Man. Tony Jaa, who first made an impact in the first big Thai martial arts epic, Ong Bak, still has the moves and does not seem to have aged or slowed down at all. At the European premiere held in London, Vin called Tony, in a red carpet interview, his lucky charm after having him on board in Fast & Furious 7. Like most martial art film fans, I do feel that it is about time that Tony got to make more films with other well known actors, have bigger roles and show his skills in a Hollywood flick. And in this film he does just that!

Overall xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is a great action packed, highly enjoyable, ride of a movie made for the audience that does not take logic or the laws of physics into account when watching such a film. Having watched the 3D version, it does seem that action scenes are slightly enhanced to watch, although not to the point where you actually feel the full 3D experience.

 

 

 

 

About author

Ninja

Contributor to Geek Devil. Ninja (or Ben, as he is known to his friends) is a life long fan of the martial arts films. Like most fans of the genre, he also enjoys action and various other catagories of film. When not watching a film or in the cinema, he can be found enjoying Chinese food in or near Chinatown or at a gig enjoying live music.