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'XXX: Return of Xander Cage' Review: Vin Diesel Gives Us Sequel No One Wanted

By / Published on Monday, 23 Jan 2017 10:55 AM / No Comments / 61 views

Who wanted Xander Cage back? Is it you? It sure as hell isn’t me. But he’s here anyway, extreme-sports and lunkhead-espionage skills in tow. This cinematic equivalent of drool is the third in the series that started in 2002 by introducing Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, an extreme sports badass recruited by an NSA boss (Samuel L. Jackson) to go undercover and flex his muscles. OK, the assignment had something to do with Russians. But who remembers? Even Diesel wisely sat out the horrendous 2005 sequel (with Ice Cube) and found a career churning out mostly exciting Fast & Furious movies.

Now, just when you thought the woefully dated XXX franchise had been cryogenically frozen to prevent further infection to moviegoers, Diesel is back in the role he should never have played in the first place. The bad guys, led by Serena (Deepika Padukone), Xiang (Donnie Yen), and Talon (a wasted Tony Jaa) have stolen something that can weaponize satellites. Soon enough, they make things personal for our Creatine-gobbling hero. Toni Collette, who is way too good for this crap, also shows up as Agent Marke, another suit barking orders at Cage. The Australian actress must be wondering how she went from being nominated for Oscars and Emmys to starring in this toxic fluffball.

Director D.J. Caruso shoots the action so incoherently that you don’t know where you are and who’s getting hit. The great Yen, so stellar in Rogue One, brings some Hong Kong flash to his scenes, which only makes you wish he’d starred in this movie and not Diesel, who steps into every scene looking for stuff to bust up. There were times when I thought Diesel might be more than a human monster truck. In Saving Private Ryan (1998), Boiler Room (2000) and especially Sidney Lumet’s Find Me Guilty (2006), he hinted there might be a real actor inside that muscled shell. Instead, Diesel has chosen to keep selling stupid to audiences who are inexplicably eager to gobble it up. Damn shame.

Thanks to: Rolling Stone Latest Movies News

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