xXx: Return of Xander Cage

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(spoiler free)

In preparation for the release of the latest Xander Cage movie I thought I better check out the original ‘xXx’ film. It took me three different sittings to get through the 2002 original. I didn’t even bother with the 2005 sequel and I was very close not to bothering with this latest effort. However I came to my senses and released that ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ had the potential to be the worst film of the year, so for that reason I simply had to check it out. 

In a day and age where trailers often advertise very different movies to the ones that have actually been made ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ can at least keep it’s integrity as it delivers exactly what it teased; big dumb fun. The plot for the film focuses on a device, known as Pandora’s Box, which is being used to drop satellites out of the sky like bombs. So yes, completely ridiculous to say the least, but doesn’t it need to be for this kind of film? The action certainly rises to the challenge of this level of ridiculous, whether it’s seeing our protagonist ski through the jungle, play grenade roulette or catch some surf on a motorbike there are moments of disbelief a plenty. Whilst this film will easily appeal to kids approaching their teenage years there is little for the adults who might be taking them to see it. The film is amusing and although for the most part it’s so bad that it’s good content is entertaining it doesn’t ever become fun enough to warrant repeat watches. As well as this there is a notable dip in pace in sections, although I have to say that I never became bored and unexpectedly the film never becomes hateful, thanks to it not taking itself too seriously.

The cast for the film are all truly awful, but this works for this kind of blockbuster. Vin Diesel has become a parody of himself and the unbreakable action stars of today. Some of his action moments are laughable but somehow his charisma manages to carry them off. Toni Collette should have been the best thing about this movie, certainly being one of the more talented performers however the script never really gives her the chance. She should have been allowed to really camp it up but as a result her character never really meets her full potential. Nina Dobrev stars as the combat terrified gadget girl and whilst probably being the most likeable character she over acts in this role especially in the final act. Held to normal standards none of these performances would really be acceptable but by trashy action movies ones it’s hard to be annoyed by them. This is all of course because at the start of the film the acting standard is set by none other than Brazilian footballer Neymar as he is being scouted for the xXx program himself. How this happened I’ll never know and it is simultaneously the worst but also the best thing about this film and he gets the biggest laugh of the whole movie. There’s a whole host of other characters too but each is as forgettable as the next.

‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is the type of film I would have absolutely adored as a ten year old, it’s the kind of movie I would have rented and watched four times over the weekend before having to return it on Monday. It may well be that for a new generation of ten year olds and that’s fine. Anyone above this age bracket will realise how awful this film really is, as a one off cinema trip it’s harmless. The film certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously so audiences shouldn’t either. I wouldn’t blame you if you hated this but with the right attitude you might just be able to find a little entertainment in it.

Rating – 4/10

Question: What awful movies were you obsessed with when you were younger?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)


Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.


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