xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

Posted in Reviews by - March 19, 2017
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

Xander Cage is back! (Cue a slightly muted and ambivalent response). And not a moment too soon, it seems, as a touch-screen hacking device called Pandora’s Box has been nabbed by Donnie Yen and his cross-cultural crew of stylish activists. The Box can cause satellites to fall from the sky and crash into people’s faces, including (bizarrely) Samuel L. Jackson and the Brazilian football player Neymar, which is what happens in the very opening scene. So hulking beefcake and freelance spy Xander Cage postpones his skateboarding activities to call up his extreme sports buddies and help the CIA in finding the thing. There is no let-up in the pumping soundtrack until the whole film starts to feel like you’re channel-hopping through a succession of insipid music videos, with vibrant colours and weird green-screen moments adding to the film’s hyped-up environment. It’s particularly hard to fully warm to the central character of Xander Cage. He’s portrayed as being irresistible to women – visiting a steamy rooftop in London where he beds an entire advert’s worth of underwear models – despite clearly being a chauvinistic, meat-headed sleaze-ball. It has been 15 years since Diesel first appeared as Xander Cage in the original xXx, which was positioned as an action flick for lovers of the X Games. This has moments of genuine silliness which are the best bits of the film: a motorbike chase over water and a zero-gravity gun fight, not to mention Donnie Yen’s spectacular gun fu entry sequence. Although it may be a calculated ploy to highlight the film’s key economic territories, it is nevertheless refreshing to find a mainstream action film with such a diverse cast, including the likes of Australia’s Ruby Rose and Toni Collette, India’s Deepika Padukone, Thailand’s Tony Jaa, UK MMA fighter Michael Bisping, and China’s Kris Wu and Donnie Yen, who finally shows his potential as an English-speaking leading man, even if it is 20 years overdue. It’s also extraordinary to watch such a pulse-racing action film which contains absolutely no jeopardy whatsoever.

AKA: Xander Returns; xXx: Reactivated.

This post was written by
Hi there. I'm the editor of Kung Fu Movie Guide. Be sure to visit regularly for the latest analysis, interviews, profiles, podcasts and reviews on martial arts movies made around the world.

Leave Your Comment