Saturday, 28 January 2017

'xXx: Return of Xander Cage' Review


A deadly weapon known as the Pandora Box has been discovered, which allows those who control it to manoeuvre and crash satellites that orbit the earth. To combat this, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is brought back along with a team filled with thrill seekers to get this weapon before it is catastrophic.


The 'xXx' franchise returns after 12 years in a comeback that nobody was really clamouring for. The previous films have failed to create a huge impact in the action genre or in many people's memories. 'Return of Xander Cage' most definitely isn't a genre defining or revolutionary movie but it sure is a whole load of fun.


Vin Diesel returns to the franchise in a fairly similar role to that of his character in a fast-paced, ridiculous action series, Dominic Toretto (Fast & Furious franchise). Diesel's Xander Cage trades Toretto's morals about family for a group of lunatics with unique deadly skills. Diesel himself is the lead but similar to the 'Fast' series, he sees himself become lost in the pecking order due to more interesting, badass and entertaining characters. For the most part, Diesel is outshone by recent 'Rogue One' star Donnie Yen who outdoes Diesel in every aspect especially in the ass kicking and tongue in cheek lines. 

The film can boast some of the craziest and most obscene action scenes of not only the year but of all time. There's skiing in the jungle, surfing on a motorbike, fighting whilst floating in zero gravity and insane dives from high distances. The film is filled with crazy stunts and action that isn't realistic whatsoever but is it entertaining? Absolutely. If you can suspend your belief and just have sit back and enjoy these scenes then you will have fun for sure. Whether that's from the great spectacles or laughing at completely unbelievable events - you will for sure at a comeback within the film. The action scenes in 'xXx' are actually well shot, giving enough room to see what is happening without shaky cam and an unnecessary amount of cuts. This is most beneficial to the fight scenes which allow the likes of Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa to really show off their skills in some very well choreographed and executed scenes.


The main strength of this film really is that it doesn't take itself serious at all. With the action in it, it cannot afford to do so, otherwise, it just becomes hilarious the whole way through. The cast isn't made up of phenomenal actors who will deliver jaw-dropping performances. There are cheesy lines and humour that make this film feel like it would fit in with 80/90's action movies of the same style. The film's script, although not serious, isn't great with some of the one-liners not coming off well at all, making it incredibly cheesy at times. Nina Dobrev's character is the perfect example of this as the writing for her character at times is even too ridiculous for this movie. The script's writing of the female characters is fairly questionable at times as well. There are moments where the likes of Deepika Padukone and Ruby Rose seem like genuine badass characters but for every scene where it showcases that, there are two making women just object for men. The opportunity to create some female heroes is held back due to this which is a shame as it is an area they really could've capitalised on. Some of the crew also take a backseat especially the likes of Tony Jaa who could've been used to much better effect. In saying that, the film doesn't overdo it with its characters and doesn't try to give them all storylines. It keeps its story and focus fairly basic and sticks to it rather well.

At this time of the year when Oscar-bait films are filling up cinema schedules, it is nice to have a little change. Is 'xXx' a good movie? No, not really. But is it exciting and fun? Yes. Sometimes it's good to just go to the cinema and have a real good time and 'xXx' most definitely brings that. If you're looking for something to just switch off and enjoy watching, then this is worth checking out. As a form of entertainment, this most definitely succeeds. On technical aspects, not so much. 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage' is most definitely a guilty pleasure.

Final Verdict = 


So have you seen 'xXx: Return of Xander Cage'? If so, what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie and that you have a great time if you choose to see it. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor