Sunday, 29 January 2017

#9 XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE


Starring Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Roby Rose, Rory McCann, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette, Ice Cube and Samuel L. Jackson. Written by F. Scot Frazier and directed by D.J. Caruso. Budget $85 million. Running time 107 minutes. Certificate 12A.

A film utterly beyond parody, a film so aware it's stupid that it decides to not only writ it large but to do so in 50ft neon letters with a great-big, flashing arrow pointing at it in case you miss it. Throwing away the need for a coherent script, a logical plot or even an ounce of intelligence the film opts instead for one ridiculously silly action sequence after another and doing away with proper dialogue by having all of the characters talk in soundbits and quotes.

The story, I can't say plot, sees a Macguffin, that controls satellites and uses them as orbital missiles, stolen by a group of super-extreme sportspeople lead by Donnie Yen (the best thing in the movie) and the efforts of Toni Collette's C.I.A to retrieve it with the aid of 49-year old, 'down with the yoof' action star, Vin Diesel as Xander Cage. Cage, who's been pretending he was dead by hanging out in the Dominican Republic and stealing cable for the drug dealers. He quickly recruits his own crew for the mission, a sniper, Ruby Rose, a man who crashes cars for kicks, Rory McCann and a DJ, for you know laying down bustin' chones. They travel to the Philippines for a party and meet up with Donnie's crew and then sort of bond while fighting a group of covert agents before discovering that the 'what-a-ma-call-it' device is in the possession of someone else. So the gang now race off to face the baddy which ultimately leads to a showdown in a wharehouse between the goodies and a hundred crack, C.I.A assault squad, while Vin fights other baddies, onboard an cargo plane as another satellite falls to Earth.

Oh gosh! Will our heroes save the day, or will the baddies win? I wouldn't dream of spoiling the excitement, however I will say this. If the hundred members of the crack C.I.A assault squad were to fight the same number of Storm Troopers then both sides would run out of ammo long before a single one of the were killed or slightly injured.

I'm not a huge fan of pantos, but I find that if you go in knowing what to expect and prepared to take part you'll have a fun time. The same can be said of this ridiculous nonsense. Nothing makes sense, there are no consequences to any actions and the action is downright stupid. However there comes a point, when the 3rd act starts (don't worry a subtitle card pops up announcing it) the film stops being fun and becomes rather, well boring, it's just one long gun battle with limitless ammo and none of our heroes even troubled by a graze let alone a bruise.

At the end, the baddies are thwarted and the heroes are victorious and the ground work laid for a series, this is clearly Vin Diesel's attempt for a second franchise to rival the Fast and Furious one, which this film has very carefully aped in style and construct. Diesel has surrounded himself with a cast of likeable characters and realised that for xXx to work successfully it has to be as tongue in cheek as its star.

A silly, stupid, action panto that loses momentum once the extreme sport stunts stop and the consequence free shooting starts.

5/10





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