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XXX: Return of Xander Cage

Nicolas Macotto

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         XXX: Return of Xander Cage starts off in Brazil with NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) in a restaurant trying to recruit another XXX agent. However, a satellite falls out of orbit and crashes into the restaurant, killing him. Afterwards, four rogue XXX agents raid CIA headquarters in New York to steal a device known as Pandora’s Box. The use of this item causes satellites to crash into Earth as warheads, therefore it caused Gibbons’ death. CIA Agent Jane Marke (Toni Collette) decides to find and recruit the one person Gibbons would start looking for: Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), the very first XXX.

 

        Cage was long believed to have been killed an explosion.  Actually, however, he is in the Dominican Republic living a quiet life, or as quiet a life as a thrill-seeker like him could ever have. Marke finds him and informs him of Gibbons’ death. Cage agrees to come back, but on his own terms; he recruits his own team of daredevils to challenge his new adversaries.

 

        Vin Diesel typically plays characters that are at the center of the action. Some people might look at XXX: Return of Xander Cage and think: how is this different from Fast & Furious?  One comparison: Diesel’s character here is proficient with motorcycles. Other than that, I can say that this film borrows several elements of the Fast & Furious franchise as well as countless other successful action series. The most obvious case is having action sequences that are cool to watch but implausible in the end. Can a motorcycle really be used as if it were a wet ski? In addition to that, XXX: Return of Xander Cage is a movie that relies primarily on its action scenes so throughout the movie, we get all these gun fights but we don’t always know who’s on who’s side.  There are some minor characters that made me wonder: why are they here? The action scenes, especially in the middle, go at such a fast pace that it left me puzzled as to why that had to happen.

 

        Directed by D.J. Caruso, he tends to add a comedic tone to this final product. At times, it makes sense because Cage is a smart-mouth, but there are several parts in the movie that are not supposed to be laughed at. I remember Iron Man 2 (2010) was more humorous than the original Iron Man (2008) and it worked because Tony Stark is portrayed as a witty guy, but that trend doesn’t work here. The dialogue also makes some moments range from silly to just-plain-ridiculous.
        XXX: Return of Xander Cage could have been more. It should have had less characters and shouldn’t have been so focused on its action.  It aimed for complex with its attempt to convey the theme of patriotism and its comments on America today, but it settled for complicated. This movie is for people who just want some good action sequences. Those people would just think, “What the heck?” because Vin Diesel is now known for doing action movies with outrageous moments. There’s no stopping him there so we should just get used to this. His movies grow on most audiences as they have on me, so I can say that 2017 in movies is off to a decent start.

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XXX: Return of Xander Cage