Cash grab sequels have been around forever. An original concept is turned into a blockbuster that stars one of the biggest upcoming stars out there, that actor chooses not to return and they come up with a dumb reason not to include him, replacing him with a lesser performer. XXX: State of the Union is the prime example of this and it fails to even impress on those already low standards. Upon its release back in 2005, it was a very forgettable film, so revisiting it now gave me very little expectations. After viewing the original again, it actually improves with age, but not this sequel. XXX: State of the Union fails to be a dumb action movie and also fails to deliver cheesy lines on purpose. Nothing about this film makes a statement about why it should have been made, and the box office proves that as well.
Replacing The Lead
Uninteresting Ct's not like Vin Diesel was the embodiment of this character and replacing him would make everyone hate on the film, but after viewing this sequel again, Vin Diesel is actually what made the first film so much fun to watch. Ice Cube has improved over time, but he really isn't the badass action star that people thought he might become. After it is announced that Xander Cage has been killed (which is a laughable plot device), a new recruit emerges in Darius Stone. The plot of this film is extremely identical to the original, but without the oomph that made it so much fun. These are supposed to be disposable, dumb action flicks, but when it comes down to it, XXX: State of the Union is just a rehash without any new tricks. C
TAbout ten to twenty minutes into this film, I could already tell that Darius wasn't going to be as likeable as Xander, so I was hoping that more people in the agency would end up making up for that fault. Sadly, this film is just an MTV music video that is trying to be a XXX film. Adding talent like Xhibit and bringing back characters from the original film to be the comedic relief just felt like a desperate attempt at keeping the audience engaged. I found myself so incredibly disinterested in the core story, as well as the characters surrounding it, that I ended up becoming bored in general. XXX: State of the Union truly is a snooze-fest.
Losing Its Practicality
My P]es, the original film did utilize early 2000's CGI, but it also blended with the scenery and the many practical effects as well. XXX: State of the Union is visibly from the early 2000's, due to the fact that there are instances of full frame CGI and it stands out like a sore thumb. That is something you will have to accept going into this film, but they were able to accomplish much better looking action a few years prior, so I'm not sure what made them decide to go this route. Either way, this review seems more like a rant, because there is little no nothing that can be complimented throughout this film. The only reason it exists is to bank off the success of the first, but due to the recasting and the three year wait, nobody returned to this franchise.
My Overall, Updated Thoughts
Looking back on this franchise, I was able to notice something. The original film was different than most action films at the time, because it was self-aware. XXX: State of the Union takes itself far too seriously, almost becoming a parody of what the franchise should have been. In the end, this is a sequel that should not exist, but so are many sequels. There is no argument that I could ever make that would defend this film. It is a rehash of the original in every way that I wish it wasn't, it doesn't go for any cheesy one-liners and the action is so green-screened and CGI'd that it just looks ugly. This movie isn't even cool enough to recommend to people who like mindless action flicks. XXX: State of the Union is the prime example of a failed franchise. This actually makes me look forward to the comeback with XXX: Return of Xander Cage, which releases on January 20th, 2017.