xXx: Return of Xander Cage

I decide to take the hit on this one guys. I invest an hour and 47 minutes of my life to watching the newest xXx Movie, the Return of Xander Cage: here is my story.

So there I am, sitting on the couch as winter quickly approaches and the lack of shows and movies available on my streaming options begin to diminish. How the hell am I going to survive the rest of the eternally dreadful, snowy season without some decent television to watch?

After stepping through the quagmire of lists found on Netflix, I found myself taking the next step in the search for something to watch. The usual Hulu tune filled the room shortly after minimizing the Netflix app on my Xbox and I continue the search on Hulu. Noticing that most of the decent films on Hulu featured the filled white bar at the bottom of the preview tap, signifying that I have already viewed that film. Suddenly my search shifts from a selection of critically acclaimed films to the search of any film for any reason.

At this point I meet Vin Diesel’s empty gaze staring back at me as I sit on my couch. After some consideration, and a quick glance at my phone’s clock, I reluctantly make the deep dive into the third installment in the xXx series. I decided that my suffering shouldn’t be wasted, which is why I decided to write this piece.

The film provides a lengthy amount of time to turn back and not invest the 1 hour and 47 minutes in the film. Eventually the credits end and the audience is thrown into the outrageous world of the xXx program. There is a short, comedic introduction of the films backstory at the beginning of the film with Samuel L Jackson using the time to provide the audience with all the exposition necessary in the xXx “lore.” The movie does include a unique premise but demonstrates quickly to the audience that it will fall short in utilizing the stories surrounding plot line and setting. After some unusual course of events, we are transported to Xander Cage’s (Vin Diesel) realm atop what appears to be a radio station.

Xander quickly switches out the strangely marked electrical box as unsuspecting guards finally realize that hey, someone is climbing the radio tower above them. With a sly grin on his face, Xander glances down at the two guards below him; reaching for a pair of skis on his back. This man, Xander Cage, subsequently jumps off of a radio tower, landing into the jungle without even a grunt to signify pain after falling at least two stories. Safe to say, Xander traverses a Brazilian forest with ease, gliding down the mountain on his skis as though he was finishing his long day on the mountain with a final green run. As long as the audience doesn’t think about the foliage lining the forest floor, there can be some enjoyment extracted from the long montage of Xander dipping in and out of traffic before reuniting with his friends.The audience eventually comes to find out that Mr. Cage is merely an over-hyped  service technician that manage dto fix the cable for the locals in hopes of catching the second half of the soccer match. Take that Mediacom’s customer support. After reaching a salt mine in which Xander apparently resides, he is then met with cheers of congratulations from the crowd as the soccer game magically reappears on screen just as Cage arrives. The locals leave him to watch the soccer game and Xander is met by a beautiful woman who the audience can only presume is who Xander’s been staying with during all this time in hiding. The two throw out some filler dialogue as the movie builds towards the movies first this guy fucks moment of the movie. So of course they sneak into a close by bungalow and do it while salt is being mined around them. The audience is provided with some lovely music and then time skips until the next morning in which Xander’s love interest wakes up to find him long gone, we then witness her provide a confusing smile while in thought about him leaving without saying goodbye, it must be because, this guy fucks.

The movie then quickly cuts to Xander as he walks amidst the locals at a flea market nearby. We are unaware of what Xander is in search of but he was probably shopping for pecans or something. Unbeknownst to the audience, Xander Cage easily identifies that someone is attempting to bamboozle him after he is approached by an older man on the bench. (Shopping for pecans is tiring) Cage plays along with the situation as a bag of explosives is left next to him in the busy flea market. Suddenly Xander is surrounded by dangerous figures with rifles but he does not panic, no a XXX member doesn’t panic. Before the audience could bat an eye, Xander dismantles one of the armored figures and pulls the trigger on the surrounding soldiers. Shots ring out as the film cuts to a slow motion view of Xander attempting to kill ten armed pursuers. The slow motion capture comes to end and so does the gunfire. There were blanks inside the rifle because of course.

A sly looking female agent appears from the crowd and approaches Xander. Xander Cage cannot be fooled. Baffled by the mere thought of being tricked by this agent, Xander and his blonde counterpart exchange witty banter with one another and she eventually offers the xXx agent a proposition in revenge of his previous leader. The audience questions why Xander bows to the operatives proposition since Xander remains baffled by her inability to manufacture a operation to even approach him. Mr. Cage offers the rifle back to the trained soldier in return for a few words of banter that fortifies Xander’s position on the number of women that Xander has had sexual intercourse with.

Xander Cage and our new CIA friend meet up in the most inconspicuous place known to spy movies, a church. The audience is then supposed to feel some sort of emotion for Gibson’s death, which is how she ultimately convinces xXx to join the mission after he emphatically proceeds to the door before the conversation is over, I think it was meant as some sort of dramatic tension I guess? She needs Xander to track down ghosts, and it just so happens that he knows just the person for that but not before she mentions his infamous coat.

The film transplants the audience to a perfect top down view of a woman swimming in a pool. Needless to say, she continues to exit the pool and is closely examined by the camera to reveal the ankle monitor to further her backstory, not at all in hopes of making this boring film more interesting by replacing substance with beautiful women. The movie didn’t just baffle the audience with the realization that the tracker is a beautiful woman but by god she is surrounded by dozens of beautiful women that can only be her fellow operatives. The two hint into their past to remind the audience that this guy fucks. Our ghost tracker humors Xander’s advance as he delves into their past and gets within inches of kissing our newfound friend before she merely says not like an internet troll after a bad joke. The tracker then follows it up with the fact that her friends would all love to have sex with Xander so do they wait around all day for her to pimp them out to random dudes wanting information? Just to ensure the audience doesn’t forget, six gorgeous women enter the room with their eyes on him, removing his coat while approaching him and you guessed it, this guy fucks. The only saving grace was a unique song featuring Post Malone

All the sex ensues and we are transported to the next morning with all the females passed out still from the night before. Since Xander is an insane human he proceeds to say to himself, “the things I do for my country” before leaving the group of women of which he most definitely satisfied the night before. Luckily for the movie’s run time and our characters, the ghost tracker has already tracked down our CIA assailants because you can be sexy and an effective worker simultaneously! 
The movie tries to develop the mysterious gang of thieves that stole Pandora’s Box but fails completely, wasting a good five minutes of our time.

The camera then cuts to Xander and his blonde counterpart in the back of what we can only presume is a sleek black SUV that every villain uses. The female CIA agent spews out some exposition about xXx backstory, informing Cage of their endless checkbook because Murica’. The camera then cuts to the enormous plane that is utilized in every action movie, fitting every bit of exposition needed inside it’s steel walls but most importantly we are introduced to Becky Clearidge.

She then spews out constant jargon about how much she admires xXx after being surprised by his presence as though she was not informed of his arrival. As with every woman he encounters, Xander quickly steps up to the plate with flirty banter, informing her that “I know mouth to mouth if necessary” as she continues her escapade. The film is obviously attempting to depict her as the quirky/nerdy yet sexy character of the film by having her include anecdotes about how she doesn’t prefer the main Terminator, but the one that comes to kill him. This paired along with the thick brimmed glasses convey how Becky’s character would be haphazardly thrown into the film only there to make awkward banter with Xander, informing him of the max weight of her sex swing and her safe word; just in case these need it later because even SHE can tell, this guy fucks. At this point I figured it would be used later in the film as a code word for some intense situation but to my dismay, it was not. 

Becky can also source anything he needs within the hour, “except for illegal drugs, those I’ll have in 15 minutes.” Now that that situation has finally ended after an eternity, Xander moves towards the cargo end of the plane to meet some new friends.

The audience is then introduced what we can only guess is the true enemy of our protagonist, soldiers working for the government. Introductions are made and Xander clearly does not like them as he throws insults like children throw rocks, mostly harmless except directly aimed at the brain of a bystander. (He casually almost murders them by ejecting them out of the airplane, these highly trained soldiers don’t seem to be very keen on paying attention to their surroundings)

 (The film continues to introduce new characters as though the audience accidentally attended an early version of Suicide Squad. (Introduces his team after she asks who he’d actually work with Adele Wolff, Driver, Asian Guy. Suddenly they appear at the airplane.)

Some foreshadowing is done in what I hope is an attempt to move the film forward and xXx’s new government counterpart explains what is at stake along with some flimsy reasons why the United States cannot handle the retrieval of Pandora’s Box on its own without some professional BMX all stars. The Pandora’s Box is important because the device can easily utilize any satellite as a weapon, sending satellites into the stratosphere and eventually into an impact zone on Earth. There is little context to how this device manages to pull this grandiose scheme off, leaving the audience on their own to interpret the plot device. 

Becky begins to equip the squad with all the gear they need, foreshadowing some elements of the remaining movie while attempting to extract some sort of personality from the newcomers on the plane. Instead we find ourselves the only witnesses to an awkward exchange between Becky and Xander as she personally ensures that Xander’s body armor fits him properly.

Of course the russians get involed and magically there is a dirt bike laying around. Everyone kicks some ass and yada yada yada, they’re all defeated after some time. Oh I almost forgot, the three main characters threw around some grenades at a table together in the middle of a party and no one bats an eye. 

There is an insane bike chase through the fucking ocean. Yeah, you read that correctly, through the ocean in which Xander eventually comes out on top. Xander’s new boo destroys Pandora’s Box and joins the ragtag group people who have spent too much time in Urban Outfitters. 

You thought the movie was over? Damn, I’d hoped so but there’s a second Pandora’s Box that can control multiple satellites at once! Sexy Becky makes quick work of the new foes technology (do they not have VPN’s in this universe?) and tracks down their location via Instagram post geotag or something. 

Totally not evil blonde leader lady demands that Xander and his group go find the second Pandora’s box with the support of her spec ops squad. I wish I could inform you of her name but unfortunately I cannot remember it for the life of me, great introduction movie! The movie manufactures some reason for Becky having to leave her lady cave and she attends the op shoulder to shoulder with Xander.

Xander’s group chat tours the city in Tennyson Torch’s ragged white van while their opposition is equipped with only the most high-tech of transportation. With grit and heart, Tennyson maintains a short distance behind the bad guys until each group is forced into impromptu BMX competition of attempting to proceed through the traffic to the location of the individual with Pandora’s Box.

After what was meant to be a huge reveal, that fell flat of course, the audience finds out that a member of the good guys is using the Pandora’s Box for his own agenda! Anderson’s evil plan also happens to be in Detroit, because ha Detroit! No other context is given about the location except for that Anderson in hold up in an abandoned building which lots of cities having I might add. 

A series of quick cuts transport the audience between all groups as Becky utilizes her wits to dismantle Anderson’s Pandora Box for a short time all the while Xander and Xiang decide to team up for some reason and infiltrate Anderson’s complex. Anderson lures them in but no worries, they have external support but wait, Anderson knew this would happen! Anderson had the vision to fill his room with heaters to prevent any long distance sniper from using thermal through the windows. 

Some cheap tensions is crafted through Xander’s interaction with Anderson as he monologues his ass off as Xander attempts to find a hole in his plan. I guess we are all just meant to ignore the fact that there is an enormous amount of technology in the room with dozens of heaters, definitely wouldn’t have any overheating problems. After some questionable dialogue the audience is then tricked into thinking that this is a “cool” movie because crazy shit happens. Just as you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Xander places his hands over his head then creates a small gap in between his fingers for his sniper friend to shoot through. Sick bruh.

Yadda yadda, they locate the Pandora’s Box and the United States Government turns on Xander Cage and his group of allies, wanting the Pandora’s Box to themselves. Xander and Xiang give in to the boring special ops soldiers as they remove the Pandora’s Box from their possession. Xander and the team is split up and he attempts to support the idea that xXx is a brotherhood that never fails its own. Xander tries convincing the totally not evil CIA boss lady that Xiang is not a threat, and to let him go. She continues to ignore him and leads them back to the enormous plane while the rest of the squad hangs out in some abandoned building I guess. 

Once on the plane she receives a phone call from her superior, informing them that xXx’s performance was excellent yet the person on the other line informs her of bad news as she has an angry look on her face. The CIA operatives all pull their weapons on xXx and the big reveal takes place as she proclaims that the xXx program is deceased after dying in the retrieval of Pandora’s Box. The CIA lady puts her training to good use and puts three rounds in Xander’s chest. For some reason Xiang decides that he is emotionally distraught after witnessing his death even though they were enemies prior to this moment. 

Gunfights presume for the group of misfits and they engage in a firefight with the Government operatives. Becky is thrown into fieldwork which she explained earlier that she is not fit for yet she murders a man with her own two hands. (and a gun of course) Becky then miraculously hacks into the Pandora’s Box to prevent the evil lady from using it. 

Xander and Xiang then begin their descent upon those on the plane. With little to no effort, the two of them dismantle most soldiers on the plane until the leader appears. Xander and the squad leader fight for who’s more badass, using the tiny corridor of the plane as a fighting platform. The bad guy is equipped with the robotic gloves from earlier, making him a true match to Xander Cage! The tables turn on Xander and the pilot of the plane is killed, this throws the cockpit into zero g, allowing some insane stunts to be pulled off by Xiang and Xander all while the plane is plummeting towards the ground. 

Becky continues to save the day as two armed men approach her friends. She takes hold of the MP5 and holds the trigger down which forces her to drop the weapon, incidentally killing both of the soldiers in front of her as Becky’s gun misfires on the ground. The audience is transported back to the plane where Xander and the lead CIA bad guy are fighting on another in the largest airplane bathroom ever made. WHen push comes to shove Xander tricks him into punching the toilet with his exo-suit, sending him plummeting out of the plane after a giant hole is created in the side of the airplane. Physics bro!

Xander follows that intense battle with “That’s going to take two flushes!” The rest of the squad has fought the good fought and is running out of ammo, only knives to save the day. Each individual character that we are meant to care about at this point of the movie looks at one another which much sadness as they are surely about to die. 

Perhaps in the only cool part of the movie, Ice Cube bursts onto the scene high above their foes with a grenade launcher in hand! Ice Cube makes quick work of these fools and kills everyone, a musical ensemble marks the explosive montage with Cube’s signature style. Xander had told them earlier in the movie to use the phone and call a particular number if they were in trouble, then help would arrive. This help was Ice Cub because xXx always comes through for each other! Some cheesy dialogue ensues about X takes care of its own and we are introduced by character sheet that he has “been waiting 11 years for someone to dial 9.” 

At this point and time the crew has been saved except for Xiang and Xander. Xiang is still doing front flips while gunning fools down just as Xander puts the plane back into its upright position. Xiang runs out of ammo after murdering the last person on the plane and blonde CIA lady emerges with a weapon drawn. Through a phone call, Xander is warned that the Pandora’s Box had been activated and a satellite was falling from the sky right at his new boo and friends! In reaction to this information, Xander informs the audience that he’ll just have to “kamikaze” the satellite with the plane, pretty chill. Xiang sends the Blonde CIA Leader out the back of a plane along with a xingy one liner.  Xander effortlessly turns the plane towards the satellite and exclaims “I live for this shit” as we are supposed to believe that Xander can reach the back of the plane before the airplane collides with a falling satellite. Xander straight up jumps from the inner cockpit of the plane to the back of the cargo dock, sending him flying in free fall from the plane. Miraculously there is a cargo container close by for Xander to grab onto with its chute still in tow. Xander extends the parachute while falling through the sky, making an easy landing as the entire crate explodes beneath him. Luckily for everyone the product placement camera was used to capture the epic moment for the internet to marvel over. Xander has some exposition about information so that the audience can understand there will be a sequel sometime because he is now on the run. Xander and his new boo embrace, each of them imagine their lives with one another now that they’ve defeated evil in this world, how they will appreciate each other until: when suddenly Ice Cub pulls up to ruin the moment between the two characters but it’s alright, we all know that this guy fucks.

Whew that was a long one my friends! Thanks for hanging in there and reading through this article. This movie was definitely a hoot and I would not recommend it to anyone. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: