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Movie Review: xXx – The Return of Xander Cage

Movie Review: xXx – The Return of Xander Cage
Game Name: XXX - The Return of Xander Cage
Publisher(s): Paramount Pictures, Revolution Studios, One Race Films
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Thriller
Release Date: 19 January 2017
ESRB Rating: PG-13 - extended sequences of gunplay and violent action, and for sexual material and language

Downhill skiing in the jungle, long-boarding off the side of a bus and jumping out of a C-17 cargo plane without a parachute and surfing with a dirt-bike are just a few stunts that you will experience in xXx – The Return of Xander Cage.  The 3rd installment in the xXx series sees the return of Vin Diesel in the iconic role of Xander Cage, the cocky, self-assured and unwilling secret agent.

xXx – The Return of Xander Cage continues the story of the xXx program, setup by Agent Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) who is actively recruiting new members, when something horrible goes wrong, and large scale destruction at the hands of the evil forces threatens the world.  Xander Cage is brought out of retirement to help locate a special piece of equipment that will prevent the world from ending, but it isn’t going to be a simple as that.

The first xXx movie was released in 2002, and since it has been so long since I last viewed any of them, I felt it important to refresh my memory prior to watching the new installment.  While a somewhat older movie, the original xXx movie had a lot of little nuances that kept the movie fresh, even after all these years.  This is not lost on xXx – The Return of Xander Cage, and we are still able to enjoy the quirky humor that Vin Diesels character and charm bring to the film, along with his fur coat and some additional witty humor of special agent Becky Clearidge (Nina Dobrev).

The action of xXx – The Return of Xander Cage is non-stop from beginning to end.  While there are bits where the story steps in and relieved the action so you can catch your breath, it never really slows down enough that you get bored, which is something that I didn’t expect from this type of action movie.  Generally they fill the bit between the action with story, but the story-telling slows down the pace of the movie.  It is kind of like a roller coaster and you are constantly going fast and slowing down.  With xXx – The Return of Xander Cage I felt the movie continued at a fast pace throughout, even when we were in-between action sets.

Seeing xXx – The Return of Xander Cage in 3D was something special.  The opening credits were 100% 3D thrown at you, and it worked.  The rest of the movie I had actually forgot I was watching a 3D movie unless my nose started to ache from wearing 2 pairs of glasses (prescription and 3D).  Overall I didn’t mind it one bit, as I was so engrossed in the action on screen.  I am still waiting for that pure 3D experience where I dodge items that fly at you and the like, but maybe the technology isn’t there yet.

Vin Diesel plays Xander Cage extremely well.  I feel it is a role he is comfortable in, and he really puts everything into his performance and he looks like he has a lot of fun doing it.  There were 2 easter eggs I caught while watching xXx – The Return of Xander Cage – the first came with a shot of Vin’s left leg, where a tattoo with the name O’Connor on it, and the other was the wings on the back of Xander Cage, if you look hard enough you can see two eyes on them, in the similar facial pose from the late Paul Walker’s character in the last scene of the Fast & Furious movie.  The sentiment was touching, and it did sadden me a little.


The fight sequences in xXx – The Return of Xander Cage were outstanding.  There wasn’t a scene that was flashing by with too much action that I got lost and confused with what was going on screen, and I felt every character in the scene was doing a great job interacting.  There wasn’t a single scene that I can recall where 1 character took over and was the hero, and they all had  to work together.  The chemistry of all the actors was great, and you can see they had a blast doing this movie.

One thing I thoroughly enjoyed, was the fact that they tied all 3 xXx movies in the franchise together, this was evident with a late scene featuring Ice Cube, in which he reprises his role from the 2005 xXx movie – State of the Union.  This is something most movies fail to do well, but xXx – The Return of Xander Cage did it perfectly.

In the end of things, you are reading this and probably wanting to know if I would recommend this movie, and well I want to tell you that I would totally recommend this movie.  You should go see it.  If you like action movies, go see this movie.  Go now, go see it.

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