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XXX: The Return of Xander Cage: Movie Review


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The first scene of "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage" immediately sets the tone. It's either you will love it or hate it. It is what it is and it is a divisive film at its core. It knows what kind of beast it is and, like it lead, it doesn't give a fudge about doing its own thing. If you know what you're getting into then the film will be one heck of a thrill ride - one that hearkens back to an era of excess action that we rarely experience nowadays.
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Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is forced to come out of self-imposed exile after his former boss and friend Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) is killed when a satellite drops down on him. The cause is a device known as Pandora's Box which can be used to tap into all electronic devices known to man. With it, the holder can see, hear and control any device around the globe - which includes the ability to use satellites as weapons to drop down on any location around the globe. Pandora's Box has been stolen by a team composed of former xXx operatives led by Xiang (Donnie Yen). Only Cage can stop them from using Pandora's Box to cause further harm.
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Let's get straight to the point. "xXx: The Return of Xander Cage" does not have a great narrative. In fact, it is plain silly. And we even found ourselves in stupor at times. But really, you don't watch a film from the "xXx" film franchise for its outstanding story arcs. You watch it for its over-the-top action and bone-chilling stunts. And in this regard, the film mostly delivers. We found ourselves enthralled and entertained from the first second to the last. It is mostly relentless action once the opening credits ended. The fight scenes were crisp and over-the-top. The stunts were great with a good mix of extreme sports, sky dives and what-not. And if we could pick our favorite, it wouldn't be Vin Diesel, it would be Donnie Yen. He had the best performance in terms of fight choreography and we loved how he was able to mix martial arts and guns in a very unique way. You should watch out for his showdown with Cage in a highway which is also the best highlight for the movie in our opinion. But the film does struggle to balance out the main cast. While Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen and Deepika Padukone had a lot of screen time, the other characters felt under-utilized or simply out of place. Most apparent is Tony Jaa whose talent we felt was completely wasted. The other supporting cast members did not jive with the "extreme" nature of the other leads. A DJ in a hardcore team of killers, really? Overall, "xXx: Return of Xander Cage" knows it niche and it repeats the formula - just know what you're getting into and you will definitely have a great time.
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Rating: 3 and a half reels





Why you should watch it:
- action scenes and fight scenes from start to finish
- Donnie Yen was simply awesome on his fight scenes

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- the story is silly, really silly
- some of the main characters were under-utilized and felt out of place

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