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xXx: Return of Xander Cage Review: Nothing But Sex, Bullets & Beat Downs

By Julian Roman — January 19th, 2017

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage is an unbridled exercise in testosterone fueled machismo. Waif thin, scantily clad girls and chiseled dudes rain destruction on hapless baddies. This is an eye-candy action flick, pure and simple. The plot, and I use that term loosely, is just a vehicle for the mayhem. Anyone walking into this film isn't looking for English period costume drama or Oscar caliber acting. It's all sex, bullets, beat downs, and laughably over the top action sequences. Those were my limited expectations, which were all met in spades.

A catastrophic event strikes at the heart of the xXx program. Terrorists are using a device called Pandora's Box to send satellites crashing down to earth. Even more perplexing is the apparent theft of the device by a group of highly trained mercenaries. The CIA and NSA have only one option to deal with villains of this magnitude, drumroll please, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel). The original xXx faked his death. What has he been doing since his disappearance? Performing ridiculous stunts and bedding local beauties in his globe-trotting escape. But when duty calls to save the world, Cage recruits some old friends to help recover Pandora's Box.

xXx:Return of Xander Cage is not a movie for feminists. While the female characters kick just as much ass as the men, they are sexualized and objectified. Every actress is a model decked out in revealing clothing. They are putty under the smoldering gaze of Xander Cage, just itching to jump in the sack at a moment's notice. Even more humorous, in my opinion of course, are the witty comebacks Cage lodges to his conquests after the deed. The film embraces this horndog ideology with gusto. It's all tongue in cheek, but will likely offend those who are sensitive to the way women are portrayed on screen.

The strength of the film is the diversity of the cast. Asian, Indian, and Eastern European actors are the leads. The film was co-financed by Chinese producers. This greatly improves the global marketability. xXx 3 also stars action legend Donnie Yen and Muy Thai expert Tony Jaa. They are awesome here, giving Vin Diesel a run for the money as the main attraction. Diesel is muscular as hell, but it's hard to imagine him holding his own against the likes of Yen or Jaa in real life.

The run time strained my interest a little. The plot, which has a couple obvious twists, is really meant to reboot the franchise. There's a ton of new characters introduced. We can surely expect more films in the xXx universe if this one is a hit. It would not surprise me if Vin Diesel was not the main focus for future installments. The character base is similar to that of his Fast and Furious series. He is the big dog, but the supporting cast could easily spin off into their own adventures. I would be first in line to see a sequel with Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa as the leads.

From Paramount Pictures, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is tailor made for IMAX 3D. The action scenes, especially the climax, look tremendous in this medium. A film like this is all about what makes the bangs look and sound better. Don't waste your time seeing this on a small screen. Seek out the best theater, with Dolby ATMOSS if possible, grab your popcorn and enjoy the ride.

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