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Friday, 20 January 2017 00:00

XXX: Return of Xander Cage Featured

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Review written by Jon Patch with 1.5 out of 4 paws

XXX: Return of Xander Cage

Paramount Pictures, One Race Films, Revolution Studios, Maple Cage Productions, HuaHua Media and Rox Productions present a PG-13, 107 minute, Action, Adventure, Thriller, directed by D.J. Caruso, written by Rich Wilkes and based on characters created by F. Scott Frazier with a theater release date of January 20, 2017.

 

When the founder of the XXX program Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) and his soon to be side-kick Neymar (Neymar) have a satellite from space dropped on their heads in New York City the leader of the CIA Jane Marke (Toni Collette) realizes she needs a special someone to help retrieve the stolen Pandora’s Box that is creating the sky to fall. Enter the once thought dead Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) to save the day or at least find Pandora’s Box and the bad guy that is causing outer space to meet earth. What would Cage be without a tech person to help his cause Jane brings in Becky Clearidge (Nina Dobrev) to assist him? She is afraid of guns, fights, bad guys, pretty much everything but she does know her way around technology.

Cage doesn’t want to work with the so called military operatives assigned to him so instead he enlists friends, Nicks (Kris Wu) the fun DJ guy, Adele Wolff (Ruby Rose) the lion savior and Tennyson Torch (Rory McCann) the odd ball with a heart of gold. All very capable physically, mentally or strategically to take down the bad guy when in need. It seems though that a group of other militants are competing for the same cause, Xiang (Donnie Yen) more wrong than right, Serena Unger (Deepika Padukone) more right than wrong, Hawk (Michael Bisping) the tough guy and Talon (Tony Jaa) yet little did both groups know that they have more in common than they thought.

From Santo Domingo to London to Detroit the battle rages on in this high octane fight to save the rest of the world from destruction but when you think your friend is a friend but ends up and enemy and your enemy ends up a friend sometimes the dead will rise, Darius Stone (Ice Cube) XXX 2005, to help save the world. Yet sometimes the bad guys are actually the good guys but the world doesn’t quite see it that way and a living terrorist is better than a dead company man any day! Or not! Overall it ends up a happy day for one man that knows how to kick ass, get the girl and look dope while doing it.

Oh there is so much wrong with this film with a number of bright spots throughout. The direction is decent but the lack of character development and dialogue by the writers kills the film. I mean there is awesome stunts, special effects, fights, explosions, planes, cars, motorcycle chases, guns, good guys, bad guys throughout the story but the plot is weak, the writing is brainless and some of the actors thankfully not the main ones are horrible. This film is strong on action but weak on writing and depth but the score and photography is superb. It is truly a kick-ass action film but that is it.

Diesel is beginning to lose his sex-appeal which helped him carry these action stories so it may be time to look for more intelligent roles rather than having the camera do most of the work for him. Wu, Rose and McCann are good side-kicks and used as much as needed but due to the writing they had no major development to help them along the story line, for what story line there is! Padukone is easy on the eyes and Yen is a strong character but Jaa and Bisping are side lines to the other characters. Collette looks good but for some reason she was slightly off playing the top CIA authority, she just did not seem strong enough and tends to pop in and out of scenes like a weasel from its den. I have always until lately been a big fan of “Vampire Diaries” so Dobrev was always a win for me and maybe because I like her I’m being kind but her sophisticated intelligent yet dopey character seemed to work for me, at least it added a bit of humor to the otherwise all action, no words film. There was lots of potential here with such a great cast but it wasn’t met at all. Jackson and Ice Cube were even missing in action but at least when they were on screen there was a sense of cool in the room. Albeit the guys will love this for the action but anyone looking for a good written meaningful story look elsewhere.

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