Writer: F Scott Frazier (Screenplay) Rich Wilkes (Characters)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Samuel L Jackson, Toni Collette, Michael Bisping
Plot: Xander Cage is left for dead after an incident, though he secretly returns to action for a new, tough assignment with his handler Augustus Gibbons.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Surprisingly Entertaining
Story: XXX the Return of Xander Cage starts when Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) is doing his recruitment trick once again with Neymar Jr (Yes, the footballer) before a satellite crash lands killing them both (Guess Jackson didn’t want the full pay check).
We move to CIA headquarters who are working out who crashed the satellite with Jane Marke (Collette) leading the investigation when Xiang (Yen), Serena Unger (Padukone), Hawk (Bisping) and Talon (Jaa) steal it back leaving the best of the best for dead.
There is just one man for this job, Xander Cage (Diesel) the extreme sports maniac returning to avenge his handler’s death. Xander must build a new team Adele Wolff (Rose), Torch (McCann) and Nicks (Wu) to go head to head with the deadliest opponents in the series of films.
Thoughts on XXX the Return of Xander Cage
Story – The story does feel more complete than other XXX films but is one you really do have to go into with your brain off and just enjoy everything unfold. If you were to study this film for flaws you sure could find a few but this one is a story written to entertain. Bringing back Xander was the most important thing about this film working because he is what the draw of the extreme sports super-agent that is off the books stopping the bad guys.
Action/Adventure – The action is wildly over the top and that is why we enjoy this style of films at time, we just need to switch off and enjoy.
Characters/Performance – Let’s look at the characters now, Xander Cage is back and he was definitely the best of the two original XXX’s and this time he is still in love with his extreme sports and willing to fight for the country. Xiang is a good villain and a hell of a lot more interesting that other villains in the series. We do get a lot of comic relief from the supporting characters with Torch, Becky Nicks, and Wolff all doing the state the obvious or playing generic stereotypes. While the weakest character is Serena because she is just like any other female love interest in this style of film.
Looking at the performances Vin Diesel does seem to be mailing this one in which is disappointing because the character and attitude are all over the place this time around. It is fantastic to see Donnie Yen in his second American movie in a matter of months and being the star of the film. Deepika does also do a good job even if I felt the character was weakly written. The rest of the supporting cast are all fun with them all getting to show off their talents.
Settings – We get our characters being put in the exotic locations for all the action sequences until we also end up in Detroit because I guess the budget couldn’t afford another beach location.
Special Effects – When you look at the special effects they all work for the film we get the nonsense over the top action getting made to look realistic throughout.
Final Thoughts – Not being the biggest fan of the XXX series after the first one I wasn’t expecting too much going into this one but you know what sometimes you just need to be entertained without thinking and this film delivers on all of that.
Overall: Switch off your brain and enjoy this adrenaline rush of an action film.