XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

Posted January 22, 2017 by Mrs Giggles in 4 Oogies, Film Reviews, Genre: Action & Adventure / 0 Comments

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XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

Main cast: Vin Diesel (Xander Cage), Donnie Yen (Xiang), Deepika Padukone (Serena Unger), Kris Wu (Harvard “Nicks” Zhou), Ruby Rose (Adele Wolff), Tony Jaa (Talon), Nina Dobrev (Rebecca “Becky” Clearidge), Rory McCann (Tennyson), Michael Bisping (Hawk), Tony Gonzalez (Paul Donovan), Ice Cube (Darius Stone), Toni Collette (Jane Marke), and Samuel L Jackson (Agent Augustus Gibbons)
Director: DJ Caruso

Wait, isn’t Xander Cage dead? Well, since Vin Diesel is finally ready to have another franchise to fall back on in case his other franchise sputters to a halt, XXX: Return of Xander Cage finally happens. So, Cage isn’t dead, but instead trotting around the globe, winning over the locals by doing stunts with his skateboard and all. Fun times must come to an end, however, when he is caught up by Agent Jane Marke, who tells him that Augustus Gibbons was recently killed.

You see, there is a programme called Pandora, contained within a hard drive, that can somehow overcome all security measures to allow its owner to crack into any government systems and even call down satellites to crash onto the Earth. Or, in other words, “crap just happens, time to kick ass.” Cage calls back his old buddies, a tough-as-nails sniper Adele Wolff, a crazy fellow called Tennyson who makes it a hobby to commit as many vehicular crashes as he can, and some smooth-talker lad called Nicks whose job is to… er, play the DJ? Don’t ask, we all need a comedic sidekick, so let’s just roll with it. Also assisting the team is the computer lady Becky, who is nervous about being in the line of fire but nonetheless likes to walk on the wild side now and then.

Cage soon finds his team going up against another team of former Triple X-ers: the leader Xiang who is all kung-fu and crap because he’s Chinese, Serena who is all femme fatale with a gun because she’s an Indian bombshell, Talon who is a crazy acrobatic pugilist because he’s Thai and they probably don’t want him to mangle too many lines in English, and some guy named Hawk who shows up now and then to grin and throw a punch. I’d have mistaken him for a random extra were not for Michael Bisping’s name being in the credits, I tell you. Both teams are after Pandora, while it also remains to be seen whether Marke and other US government officials are trustworthy. What do you think?

I tell you, this must be the most diverse cast to ever grace a beautifully done B-grade schlock that just doesn’t give a damn about even pretending to have a halfway decent story. Every semblance of plot – what little of it – is an excuse to have people beating the crap out of one another, and it’s glorious. This movie takes the initial series premise of James Bond high on at least seven types of pharmaceuticals and racks things up to crazy, no, insane. Gravity, friction – no, don’t matter here, as Xiang and Cage manage to land all their hits and bullets with perfect accuracy inside a plane that is hurtling at high speed straight towards the ground. No parachute? Just jump. No ammo? Charge!

The result is pure, glorious mayhem. What I really like here is that the action scenes are not too heavy in CGI, relying mostly on old-fashioned stuntmen and martial arts choreography – and Donny Yen delivers in that last department – so even in the most absurd scenarios, each landing of a fist or foot feels satisfyingly authentic. Okay, the transition from stuntmen to Vin Diesel and Donny Yen could have been done better – Mr Diesel’s stuntman doesn’t resemble him much apart from the bald head, and it’s pretty obvious – but even the most ludicrous chases are so much fun to watch. And for people who dig hot babes with guns, there are two of them here who hold their own very well, along with a crazy nerd girl with a taste for danger. Don’t worry, the eye candy isn’t just for the ladies – Peen Diesel is back, and he has no problems walking out soaking wet from the beach, and the rest of the guys are pretty easy on the eyes even with scruff and grime.

XXX: Return of Xander Cage works very well for me because its tone is one of its figurative tongue pressed firmly against its cheek. It revels in its absurdity, and does it with style. Every fight scene and explosion is almost pornographic due to how much fanservice that goes into every frame, and I can’t get enough of it. I also enjoy how Xander Cage allows Mr Diesel to show off his playful and naughty side again – a welcome change after how dry and boring his other roles had been. Anyway, this movie is fabulously stupid and amazing all at once, and… well, what a way to kick off 2017!

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Mrs Giggles

Woke based diva at Hot Sauce Reviews
Loves boys that sparkle, unicorns, money, Lego, chocolates, tasty buffets, video game music, and fantastical stories.

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