xXx: Return of Xander Cage Review

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a xXx film in theaters. The last film was the critically panned xXx: State of the Union starring Ice Cube. With Vin Diesel busy with the Fast franchise and his stint in the MCU, no one ever believed that Vin Diesel would be back as Xander Cage. That is until last year when it was announced that Vin Diesel would reprise his role as Xander Cage in the third xXx film: xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Does Return of Xander Cage bring the franchise back from the dead or does it put the final nail in the coffin for the xXx franchise?

Although xXx: Return of Xander Cage is an extremely dumb film, its entertainment value outweighs the negative aspects of the film. If you feel the need to escape from reality and have a lot of mindless fun, then look no further than Return of Xander Cage. It is the best xXx film, after all.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage follows Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) as he comes out of exile to hunt down an operative named Xiang (Donnie Yen) before he possesses a sinister and unstoppable weapon called Pandora’s Box. Cage recruits a group of thrill-seekers (Ruby Rose, Kris Wu, Rory McCann) to help hunt down Xiang and his team (Deepika Padukone, Tony Jaa, Michael Bisping) before it’s too late.

The xXx franchise isn’t exactly what you call “high art.” Much like the Fast series is a love letter to car culture, xXx is a love letter to extreme sports. xXx: Return of Xander Cage isn’t any different and not the type of film that appeals to highbrow filmgoers. That’s because Return of Xander Cage is an incredibly dumb film. The script by screenwriter F. Scott Frazier is filled to the brim with cheesy one-liners and bad dialogue. It also doesn’t help that the plot for the film is amazingly absurd too. It’s the kind of asinine storyline that you’ll find in an action B-movie, let alone an action blockbuster.

Yet somehow Return of Xander Cage is still an awesomely entertaining film. Return of Xander Cage is self-aware that it’s a bad film and has a huge amount of fun playing into it. Director D.J. Caruso has seemingly found that perfect balance between comedy and action and it’s this sincerity that makes the film a lot of fun. Well, that is if you’re willing to turn off your brain and let the bullets, stunts, and beautiful T&A take over. Soon enough, it’s ridiculousness will begin to charm you.

Much of the charm stems from the chemistry of this massive cast. Xander’s team gets along really well and seems to have fun acting alongside each other. It’s been several years since Diesel played Xander Cage and it’s like he never left. That’s because Diesel is essentially playing a lighthearted version of Dominic Toretto, so the apple hasn’t really fallen far from the tree. Donnie Yen lets loose as Xiang and shows a fun side to him that we rarely see in his English films.

Deepika Padukone does well in her Hollywood debut despite being outshined by other co-stars. Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, and Rory McCann provide much of the entertainment and laughs in the film. Other than the unbelievable stunt and action sequences, these three steal scenes every time they’re on-screen. Sadly, Kris Wu, Tony Jaa, Michael Bisping, and Samuel L. Jackson are the odd ones out and they don’t really have significant time on-screen. The weakest link in the cast is Toni Collette whose performance is very stagnant in comparison to the rest of the cast.

Overall, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a silly film through and through. However, the film is sincere with its ridiculousness and that’s why the film is so mindlessly fun. It’s the type of action film that is enjoyable only if you turn off your brain and let the film entertain you. This film isn’t high art but sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax and let the bullets and T&A fly once in a while.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1408 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.