xXx (2002)

xXx (2002)

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Samuel L Jackson always put potential recruits through the "double cheeseburger" test.
Samuel L Jackson always put potential recruits through the “double cheeseburger” test.

Twitter Plot Summary: The US government pull in an adrenaline junkie and send him on a super sensitive mission.

Genre: Action/Thriller

Director: Rob Cohen

Key Cast: Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L Jackson, Marton Csokas, Michael Roof, Werner Daehn, Danny Trejo

Five Point Summary:

1. Rammstein. Now that’s how you start an action movie.
2. Danny Trejo makes a typically stylish arrival.
And exit.
3. Ooh, he might have been made alrea… never mind.
4. Now he’s been made. 
5. He seriously got the hit from that distance?

Vin Diesel was hot property back in the early Noughties. After the success of The Fast and The Furious he was given his first stab at top billing in xXx, reuniting with Fast… director Rob Cohen to tell the story of Xander Cage, an extreme sports enthusiast who, despite frequently finding himself on the wrong side of the law, is recruited by the NSA to go undercover on a top secret assignment. From this point forward he wears a ridiculous fur coat, drives fast cars and has a little love story going on with Asia Argento’s Yelena.

In true silly action movie tradition, things blow up with reckless abandon, gravity is defied by Vin Diesel’s amazing flying motorbike (it’s not actually a flying motorbike…), and all of the most ridiculous aspects of the James Bond franchise are trotted out in what feels like a modern day greatest hits collection. Sharp shooting over a great distance, dangerous things that are about to go boom, and so on. In fact the the only place the Bond comparison falls flat is with the villain, Yorgi. He’s got no defining characteristics other than being the head of a criminal organisation, but it’s the fact he doesn’t do anything specifically unpleasant that makes him so unforgettable. Yes he has a very evil plan, but then they all have that in common. If he had a robotic eye or something then maybe he’d be more memorable.

It’s also blatantly obvious that hiring a man who likes to live on the wrong side of the law and asking him to do the right thing has never been a good idea in the history of cinema. Even so, the NSA still recruit Cage despite the fact he’s a loose cannon. You could argue that he’s hired exactly because he’s a loose cannon, doing anything he can within or outside of the law in order to get the job done. Either way, whilst it makes for an entertaining story, it would not make much sense in the real world. In fairness too, the man who hires Cage is none other than Samuel L Jackson, so perhaps that’s a point not worth dwelling over.

He always kept his weapons in the closet next to the kitchen.
He always kept his weapons in the closet next to the kitchen.

That’s not to say it’s a bad film – far from it. The insanity of it is where the appeal lies. That and the appearance of Rammstein in the opening sequence, which is never a bad thing. Their extravagant stage show is fitting for such an OTT story and gets proceedings off to an explosive start, no pun intended. There’s also the brief cameo from Danny Trejo, who is a welcome presence but doesn’t overstay his welcome. Perhaps that’s the best place for him, to be a cameo machine? It certainly worked in Breaking Bad…

As a throwaway action film then it’s perfectly fine. Much like the majority of action films to be completely honest. It might have enough legs to be considered a cult classic, but otherwise it’s a disposable action romp that steals all of its ideas from other, more successful action romps.

Favourite scene: Danny Trejo pops up to dish out some old fashioned torture.

Quote: “You know, if you’re gonna ask someone to save the world, you’d better make sure they like it the way it is.”

Silly Moment:  Vin Diesel’s amazing flying bike.

Score: 3/5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKtArxTOm-w

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