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Movie Review: 'XXX: The Return of Xander Cage' Solid But Derivative

by Todd A. Smith

 

(Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures)


 

Very Solid, But Too Similar to other Roles 

 


Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) always looks for a few good men, or women, to work for the XXX program.


The world always faces danger, and usually the most vulnerable face harsher consequences than the mighty and powerful.


Gibbons is meeting for breakfast, or dinner, with a potential recruit when a satellite falls from the sky and blows up an entire New York City block.


The CIA knows that they are in grave danger when at a meeting, the gadget that caused the satellite to fall from the sky, Pandora’s box, is stolen by Xiang (Donnie Yen).


Pandora’s box controls the satellites, which are used to allow the government to spy on the unsuspecting citizens of the world.


That espionage has created a lot of proponents and opponents of the government’s practices.


The only former XXX agent capable of finding Xiang and retrieving Pandora’s box is Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) who many suspect is deceased.


However, one person that never believed Xander was dead was Gibbons.


So when Jane Marke (Toni Collette) tracks Xander down in South America, she convinces him to find Pandora’s box because it would be what Gibbons would have wanted and it could potentially save the world from further destruction.


In a “Fast and Furious” sort of way, Xander agrees to work with Jane with one condition.


Xander wants to work with his own collection of soldiers if he is to go after Pandora’s box.


The XXX operative who “rises from the grave” brings in Tennyson (Rory McCann), Nicks (Kris Wu) and Adele Wolff (Ruby Rose).


Nicks will be an asset if he can avoid partying and drinking.


Tennyson is dedicated to the mission, but he is also dedicated to surviving his 200th automobile crash.


And Adele is great with firearm, but she is also trying to be even better with other ladies.


Will the distractions become too much to overcome?


Furthermore, what is the truth behind Pandora’s box and who are the real allies and adversaries?


Unfortunately, there is nothing unique about “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage.”


However, that is not totally a bad thing.


A charming script with clever one-liners and correct comedic timing can overcome a lack of originality.


Great timing with cameos by Ice Cube (Darius Stone), former NFL star Tony Gonzales (Paul Donovan) and MMA star Michael Bisping (Hawk) do not hurt either.


Although action films often fall into the over the top category, “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage” has a certain entertainment quality to it with its stunts, especially Xander’s skateboarding scenes.


And even though actions films do not usually cast the most talented thespians, there is a certain charm to “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage.”


Unfortunately, “XXX: The Return of Xander Cage” falls into the derivative category because many of Diesel’s roles in film franchises are similar.


He seems to always receive employment from the government and law enforcement agencies to help catch the bad guys.


His character seems to always want to recruit his own band of misfits to capture the bad guy.


And someone usually returns from the dead like Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in “Fast & Furious 6.”


Regardless, it seems to work and Diesel’s style of physical and violent action seems to always win moviegoers over.

 

Like Gibbons, he knows how to assemble a few good men and women to always fight against evil no matter how difficult the circumstances appear.


REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR




This article was published on Friday 20 January, 2017.
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