Film Review: XXX Return of Xander Cage

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
February 10th, 2017

Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Price:
Bad

Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On February 10, 2017
Last modified:February 10, 2017

Summary:

Return to Xander Cage is like waiting for a sports car to show up at your birthday party, but a campy clown Vehicle arrives instead.

Price:
Bad

Reviewed by:
Rating:

2
On February 10, 2017
Last modified:February 10, 2017

Summary:

Return to Xander Cage is like waiting for a sports car to show up at your birthday party, but a campy clown Vehicle arrives instead.

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XXX: Return of Xander Cage is out and ComiConverse film critic Jordan Samuel provides his official review.

January is a month where Hollywood tends to drop sub-par movies. These projects are usually time wasters printed out to keep the studio afloat. This trend continues in 2017. Sequel to the 2002 original XXX film, Return of Xander Cage (2017) has been released this week.

Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), thought to be long dead, comes out of self-imposed exile as recruited by the CIA to race villain Xiang (Donnie Yen) to recover a powerful weapon known as "Pandora's Box" which can control military satellites which could cause catastrophic damage. Recruiting a group of thrill-seeking cohorts (a sharpshooter and a hacker), Xander finds himself caught up in a deadly conspiracy of corruption among world governments including insiders in his own country's government.

-- Promotional copy for theaters

Xander Cage

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Megastar Vin Diesel takes a break from the Fast and Furious franchise, to play Xander Cage. The overconfident extreme sports spy has returned from the dead and is dragged back into the seedy world of the CIA to recover a powerful weapon known as Pandrora's Box. Cage teams up with the agency after a set of satellites go rogue. It's up to him and his team of extreme soldiers titled "XXX" to stop the world from being destroyed.

The story is generic and doesn't try to accomplish anything new. Even with this low bar, the script is quickly thrown out the way for badly edited stunt and action scenes. Director D.J. Caruso doesn't understand that fast combat only works to the extend the audience can still understand what's going on.

Story continues below

Caruso does make good use of the goofy over-the-top tone, which makes up for the inconsistent action. Diesel is fine in the role, as he adds his signature charm into a character who is two-dimensional. The 49-year-old star has all the best one liners in the picture, as he struts around doing stunts in his iconic coat. Diesel's able co-stars work well with him helping land some cheesy dialogue. Don't go into this movie expecting a ground-breaking performance, and you will enjoy the laid-back approach Diesel brings to Xander Cage. Ruby Rose, Kris Wu, Tony Jaa and Nina Dobrev plays the stock members of XXX who don't get to do much more than drop one liners and shoot bad guys in slow motion.

Xander Cage

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Donnie Yen plays the stereotypical Chinese martial-artist. He is also after Pandora's box. Yen is the saving grace of this all most criminally generic movie. Delivering some great stunt work that is, unfortunately, chopped up by Caruso, I can't help but love the fact Yen is trying his best even in this mostly silly film. Yen is a wonderful actor who is without doubt the best aspect of the film. Indian actress Deepika Padukone plays a female version of Vin Diesel's Cage, named Serena Unger who lacks charm and is underserved by the script which sadly fails to make her more than a pretty face.

Nothing about Serena's previous history is explained leaving me disconnected to her. She is a talented young woman who should be in more big budget films but who is wasted in some cringe-worthy romantic sequences with Xander Cage.

Xander Cage

Credit: Paramount Pictures

The diversity of the cast is commendable, and could help the film cater to cinema-goers around the globe.The one refreshing aspect of the film is seeing a big budget picture include many characters of different races. Sadly, these actors are just as diverse in the levels of talent they bring. The quality varies from Academy Award Nominee Toni Collete to wooden Brazilian footballer Neymar. Samuel L Jackson is also in the film playing the XXX project boss. He delivers a classic over the top performance. Return of Xander Cage is a sequel that has come out too late. In the era of innovative, exciting action movies like John Wick and obviously superior franchises like Fast and Furious this movie feels dated and unoriginal. The film is held back by a silly script, generic characters, and a lack of imagination that prevents it from being even being a fun, campy action movie.

XXX: Return to Xander Cage is like hoping for a sports car to show up at your birthday party, but a clown van arrives instead.

Jordan Samuel is a Film Critic for ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanESamuel

XXX: Return to Xander Cage

  • 2

Bad

Return to Xander Cage is like waiting for a sports car to show up at your birthday party, but a campy clown Vehicle arrives instead.

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