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REVIEW: XXX 3: The Return Of Xander Cage – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: XXX 3: The Return Of Xander Cage

Run Time: 107 mins
Rated: PG-13
What To Expect: A visualized love note from Vin Diesel to himself

xXx is a never has been, never will be franchise.  The original movie has aged, badly, into a state of cringe decay worse than its original appearance — it was bad then, it’s worse now.  There was another movie featuring Ice Cube, but no-one wants to even talk about that one.  Actually in the viewers’ jury, the second movie with Ice Cube is probably going to have the most lenient sentence in the fullness of time.  I think this one, the third, is going to get the worst.  It is an egregious, almost sickening vanity project. Guess for who.

The third movie sees Donnie Yen lead a group of nefarious fellows who have came upon a technology that allows them to direct satellites from orbit towards specified targets on earth.  It might sound like some corn out of an old Roger Movie Bond movie, but at the start, Samuel L. Jackson scouts the NFL for to be one of the good guys… as you do.  Take note CIA, the world’s best tennis players are ready to do their duty fighting ISIS.  So you see, comparing it to Moore’s Bond would be an insult to those movies. After a satellite mercifully reduces Jackson’s screen time (he’s oddly annoying in this movie, everyone but Yen is, even Jaa), the powers that be decide that only Xander Cage and his select group of recruits can sort things out.

Shark jumping set pieces and fawning 20 year old bimbos are built around the smug 49 year old Diesel, instead of exciting action and Yen/Diesel/Jaa being built around a halfway decent plot. Yeah, we’re not even asking for a fully decent story, just enough for a decent escapist action yarn. Everything is Diesel, Diesel and Diesel.

This is obviously, patently a sanctimonious vanity project with Diesel’s ghost direction written all over it. You have to see it to believe how highly Diesel clearly thinks of himself in this movie.  And when I say the script is tailored to have actresses fawn and paw over Diesel, I’m not joking.  One scene has Diesel show up and have sex with a blonde.  Shortly after, Diesel is in a room with dressed like Elton John about to have sex with three+ adoring 20 year olds.

Next, Diesel is aboard an airplane and is presented with his most obsessive female fan yet. Acknowledging that she’s in heat, he advises; ‘breath… I know mouth to mouth’.  The response from the smitten woman 30 years his junior; ‘wow, look at those guns!‘ while pointing at Diesel’s arms.  Cool dialogue there… but didn’t we pay to see an action movie featuring Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa too?  Those taking late seats will pretty much miss Jaa’s entire involvement.

Donnie Yen’s talent and charisma are squandered

Donnie Yen is in the movie and probably the only reason I’m going to give it points.  He has some decent action scenes, but plays second fiddle to the bald narcissist.  And too often, the action he’s involved in becomes annoyingly ‘crazy’ (read: CGI fridge nuking).  I gotta wonder if Diesel’s stunt double is in the movie more than Yen.  In quite a few action scenes, there is a bald headed man at work but I do not believe it’s Diesel!  Want to know when Diesel takes over?  Take for example when we cut from daring boarding action to simple running… we know it’s Diesel because it looks like a middle aged bald man with water retention battling arthritis.

One more thing.  I cannot stand Ruby Rose.  Is this woman remotely aware of how annoying she is? A total, utter try hard.  And every cool kid knows that trying is not cool.  The hard ass lesbian who makes lewd comments towards other women.  You know, to remind us that she’s Ruby Rose and a lesbian.

In the opening, Jackson recalls that he set up the xXx project with ‘skateboards and swimming pools’ in mind, to signal a theme and series appealing to youngsters – with young stars.  I think Diesel needs to act his age.