xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) – Review

Review: There was once a stunt-and-steroid-heavy actioner – a Point Break-esque spectacle – called xXx in 2002. Vin Diesel, straight outta Pitch Black and The Fast and the Furious, was the center of it as Xander Cage, an adrenaline junkie and extreme sport enthusiast-turned-agent for NSA. But, the franchise seemed to be short-lived, following the disastrous second installment that crossed out Diesel’s name from the cast, substituting him with Ice Cube.

Xander Cage was pronounced dead in the 2005 sequel, but Vin Diesel has an agenda. Stepping in the producer seat, Diesel orchestrates his character’s own comeback like nothing happened in xXx: Return of Xander Cage. He turns a dormant franchise into a so-called Vin Diesel film – which draws lots of influence from his tenure in Fast and Furious series. Meaning to say: it’s going to be muscular, over-the-top, and eye-pleasing; but do not expect a story.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) - Vin Diesel
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) – Vin Diesel | Image via themoviedb

In Return, Diesel surrounds himself with muscles and babes – multi-racial action stars from around the globe. From current Hong Kong’s finest talent, Donnie Yen (straight from Rogue One); Thai martial arts power-house, Tony Jaa (Ong Bak series and Furious 7); Bollywood star, Deepika Padukone; former EXO members, Kris Wu; Australian versatile figure, Ruby Rose; UFC champ, Michael Bisping; to Westerosi, Rory McCann (Game of Thrones); all tied up together by a sassy CIA operative portrayed by Toni Collette.

As a sequel of a more-than-a-decade-long dormant francshise, Return returns with exhilarations. This opens with a satellite-falling scene which seemingly kills off a familiar character (and mega-star cameo. Clue: a penalty taker) triggering the comeback. On another place, a quartet of daredevils led by Xiang (Yen) raid up a world leaders meeting to steal an omnipotent weapon called ‘Pandora’s Box.’

So, where’s Xander? He does what he does: a non-stop joyride for the next 15 minutes – jumping from the height, skiing through the woods, and skateboarding through the Dominican Republic streets… only to broadcast a football match on TVs. That’s when Collette’s Jane Marke enters – taking over Samuel L. Jackson’s outlandish Augustus Gibbons and commanding Xander to hunt the quartet. To do that, Xander plays his own rules and assembles his own team.

From there, Return of Xander Cage shows off its finest (at the same time, dumbest) potentials: nonsense stunt spectacles, tattoo exhibition, steroid-heavy actions, booze and booties, as well as law of nature’s defiance. All pain, all gain. Most of the time, the set ups are fun, like really fun; they’re so quick that it doesn’t give you time to think (well, actually, you don’t need to).

xxx-return-of-xander-cage-03
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) – Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone | Image via IMDb

If you’re seeking for a witty film; it’s never been one. Return has many absurd moments, which is hard to guess whether they’re intentional or not. Also, you can also see fake muscle from Diesel’s stuntmen, if that’s not enough. Don’t ask how the computer works or why the legs do not break or what makes Xander Cage a man of sex appeal. Don’t overthink, just enjoy the show.

The build-up leads to a foundation to a future franchise. Say, it’s a more ridiculous version of Diesel’s Fast and Furious series. Only, this one is self-aware that it’s more than looking ridiculous; it is utterly ridiculous and it’s having fun with it. So, are we ready for more films like this? ‘Cause it’s likely there’ll be a testosterone-pumping franchise, which breaks the line between B-movie tackiness and exploitation, to follow.

In the end, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a half-hilarious, half-exhilarating no brainer action joyride. In and out. Again, don’t overthink, just enjoy the show.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

star2xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) - Poster via themoviedb

Action, Adventure Directed by: D.J. Caruso Written by: F. Scott Frazier Starred by: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika PadukoneToni Collette Runtime: 107 mins Rated PG-13

IMDb

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Author: Paskalis Damar AK

A Bali-based blogger. A cinema loner and self-claimed movie fan since 2013. Public Relation in non-cinematic world. bit.ly/1iSSB2Q

3 thoughts on “xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) – Review”

  1. I feel like I’m missing out on something, but I had no idea there were two other xXx Xander Cage movies! That said, I think I’m going to see this one, it looks like the perfect movie to break up all the heavy-hitting Oscar types 🙂

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