Jungle
xXx: Return of Xander Cage

While the xXx franchise has been dormant since 2005’s lackluster sequel, xXx: State of the Union, there’s been talk about Vin Diesel’s return as Xander Cage since as early as 2006. xXx has never been a huge blockbuster franchise, but Diesel’s approach to the third film treats it as such with an ensemble cast of outrageous characters doing even more outrageous stunts. It’s a nonstop adrenaline rush that’s actually pretty fun despite its ridiculousness.

 

After apparently dying in the second film, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) returns to the field after learning of the death of his mentor and friend, Agent Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson). His target is a mysterious group of mercenaries led by Xiang (Donnie Yen) who have come into possession of “Pandora’s Box,” a Nintendo DS-looking device capable of taking control of any one of the thousands of satellites orbiting the globe. Not one to trust just any soldier by his side, Cage recruits his own team of extreme thrill-seeking addicts including hotshot sniper Adele Wolff (Ruby Rose), crazed driver Tennyson Torch (Rory McCann), and suave DJ Nicks (Kris Wu). The fate of the world rests on their shoulders.\

 

xXx: Return of Xander Cage has the franchise coming back at max power. I honestly never thought that there would be a film that would be more over-the-top and outrageous than the Fast and Furious franchise (especially its recent films), but Return of Xander Cage manages to pull it off effortlessly. It’s absolutely bonkers, in the best way possible. The opening action scene has Diesel skiing through a forest, and the film only gets more ridiculous from there. Motorcycle jet skis, superhuman strength power gloves, hand grenade hot potato, and a zero gravity jet crash are just a few of the many WTF moments of the film. It’s B-movie making at its finest.

 

It’s clear that Vin Diesel is trying to revitalize the xXx franchise and turn it into another Fast and Furious clone. The ensemble cast is solid given the source material they have to work with. The story has just the right amount of cheese-factor, although if you let your brain slow down for one second you’ll quickly realize just how stupid it is at times. It won’t be winning any awards anytime soon, but at least it’s fun.

 

If you’re looking for a mindless action film to relax with for a couple of hours, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a good pick. It knows it’s campy and is definitely a step up from where the franchise last left audiences. Xander Cage has returned in full fur coat glory, and with talks of more sequels in the works it looks like he could be here to stay for a while.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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