xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) – Review

3 Stars

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a lively and largely entertaining picture with the exception of a clunky opening ten minutes that uneasily sets up this latest entry. This is the third film in the xXx series and the second to star Vin Diesel, returning after missing the second installment which was headlined by rapper/actor Ice Cube. While this is a preposterous action/adventure film; it looks great, has a few snappy lines of dialogue, and features an action set-piece every seven to ten minutes. The exotic locations, outlandish stunt work, and the team of diversified misfits that make up Diesel’s crew are all reminiscent elements of the Fast & Furious franchise.

After his handler (Samuel L. Jackson) is killed, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) emerges from his self-imposed exile to help the new head of the CIA (Toni Collette) bring down a fellow Triple-X agent Xiang (Donnie Yen). In Xiang’s possession is a device dubbed ‘Pandora’s Box’, a new-breed of superweapon capable turning orbiting satellites into weapons of mass destruction. Xander is aided by a squad that is like a junior varsity knock-off of the F&F gang. Ruby Rose and Nina Dobrev come off best as a world-class sniper and a tech nerd respectively.

This latest entry into what appears to be an ongoing franchise suffers a bit from trying to be too much of a good thing for its core audience. That’s a good thing. The result is at times uneven, but never boring and the movie contains an enormous amount of energy and beautiful photography. Despite the 15 year gap between the two films xXx: Return of Xander Cage does a good job of making us want to see more of this character.

Director: D. J. Caruso
Stars: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *