The Prague Geezer Movie Review: xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Movie Reviews

Vin Diesel is back for his second appearance in the third installment on the xXx franchise. Is it an ass-kicking movie or as lifeless as Vin’s acting?

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When I was a very young lad, I once bought a VHS at the infamous Romford market. The bloke at the stand was a Chinese fellow and didn’t speak a lot of English but I gave it a shot. I told him I wanted a Triple X movie. I had said that I wanted to see the lovable rogue, Vin Diesel, in his latest action flick, but instead I got a low-budget porn movie with a few hairy geezers and Eastern European woman who looked strangely like my next-door neighbor. In any case, my idea of xXx had changed forever and even when I finally got round to watching the Vin Diesel version, I wasn’t really interested anymore.

15 years later and Vin Diesel is back in the role that changed my childhood. For some reason he was replaced by Ice Cube in the second xXx installment in 2005 but let’s just forget about that flop. He still looks as though he has the muscles and the tattoos, and the husky voice hasn’t gone away, but is this movie a genuine action flick or are the producers just trying to gain a quick buck with a big name and some explosions?

My first qualm about this movie is that there isn’t really a difference between Vin Diesel in xXx: The Return of Xander Cage and Vin Diesel in Fast & Furious. You could pretty much swap the characters and the movies would both be the same as they were. But, I guess, Ol’ Vin’s acting isn’t the reason people will come and see this movie. I imagine that he’s probably resigned to the fact he’s never going to win an Oscar. The first xXx movie involved Vin working alone to save the day, but this time around he decided to put together a team to help him save the world from some proper nasty geezers. The team is an eclectic mix of hot birds and hunky dudes who help Vin to fight some Chinese people, whilst being incredibly outnumbered and outgunned, of course.

The fighting scenes are pretty tasty, with Donnie Yen making a surprise appearance and smashing some bad-guy heads in. British UFC Champion, Michael Bisping makes his fourth movie appearance and, well, you guessed it, he fights pretty well also. Tony Jaa from Ong Bak is also involved in the action, as is Ruby Rose from Orange is The New Black.

“I guess the first time was kind of nerve wracking, but I guess I’ve always been a natural performer and I’m very at home doing this kind of thing. And yes, at first of course, anything you do is challenging. But the more time you do it, the more time you dedicate to that craft, the easier it gets!” – Bisping talking about acting.

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The movie was interesting, I’ll give you that. It was a far cry from La La Land, the last movie I saw at the cinema. The end was so ridiculous it was actually quite sublime with a cameo that is unexpected, to say the least (no spoilers!). The action scenes are well choreographed and the sets are authentic, whilst mostly getting destroyed. It is exactly what we have come to expect from a Vin Diesel movie, bar The Pacifier, in which I actually believe he deserves more credit for. It has girls, guns, fights and bad guys dying. The cast is strong and I would pay money to see this at the movies, if I was bored and there wasn’t anything else on.

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