"xXx": Return of Xander Cage" is the third installment in the "xXx" film series and it stars Vin Diesel in the titular role of the extreme sports star turned government agent whose mission is to collect a weapon called "Pandora's Box", something that is capable of controlling all of the world's satellites.
I'm being honest when I say that I've never seen the first two movies in this franchise. They've just flown under my radar and I never really cared for seeing either of them. However when it comes to reviewing most new released movies, I decided to just go through with this movie and see if I can find some enjoyment despite not knowing anything about the series. I just wanted an action movie that's fun, dumb, and knows not to take itself too seriously. And now that I've seen the movie, I can certainly say that it's only one of those things, and it ain't the positive one.
One of the problems I have with this movie is Vin Diesel himself. He offers no charisma to the role and his performance is just limited to him mumbling a bunch of cheesy action one-liners, but none of that is even remotely surprising when Diesel is involved. The surprising aspect about his role is how much of an ego trip he seems to be on. Virtually every other scene in this movie is just a bunch of hot girls throwing themselves all over Diesel while they take about how awesome he is. These scenes may as well have Diesel look directly at the camera while he gloats about how great he thinks he is. The worst part is that this movie is trying to convince me that someone named "Xander" is a badass who's loved by everyone.
The rest of the supporting cast, save for Donnie Yen, just looks bored throughout. Ruby Rose (who I guess is still a thing...?) is basically just here to throw around more terrible one-liners, Samuel L. Jackson is just doing whatever he wants for his paycheck, and Toni Collette especially looks like she doesn't want to be involved with this movie. But like I just said, Donnie Yen is one of the few bright spots in this movie, playing the villain who has a couple of badass scenes. He's more or less just another version of Chirrut from "Rogue One", but he looks like he's actually having fun in the role, so good for him.
In terms of this being an action flick, it's not handled in the best possible way. As a matter of fact, scratch that, it's done in one of the worst possible ways. Not only is most of the action just filmed to garbage with hyperactive cuts and editing, but none of it's believable. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy mindless, unrealistic action when it's done right in a self-ware manner, but this movie doesn't do that. This movie expects you to take everything seriously, but that comes in stark contrast with scenes where people survive getting thrown off buses and smashing into cars without so much as a scratch on them.
Admittedly enough, I actually found myself enjoying one particular scene in the movie, but I also might consider the scene as a spoiler, so I'll just leave it at this: An actor returns in a brief cameo for a cool action scene. That's all I'll say about that. You may or may not be aware of what it is, but it was honestly one of the few highlights in what is otherwise a sloppy action movie.
All of that said, "xXx: Return of Xander Cage" wasn't very fun in my opinion, and that's actually a huge bummer for me. The action is horribly filmed, the CGI is laughably bad, most of the actors are just phoning it in for a paycheck, and it just takes itself too seriously as an action film. This movie needed to know what it was, but it only saw itself as an excuse to circle-jerk Vin Diesel in the most gratuitous way possible.
Rating: Some Ol' Bullshit