With Vin Diesel back, ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is a welcome return indeed

Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen and Deepika Padukone in ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’

Our Score:

“Patriotism is a virtue of the vicious, according to Oscar Wilde” – Sean Connery as “John Mason” in 1996’s ‘The Rock’

In the universe of the NSA’s xXx program, overseen by Agent “Augustus Gibbons” (Samuel L. Jackson), it’s been over a decade since either “Xander Cage” (Vin Diesel in the first xXx film) or “Darius Stone” (Ice Cube in the 2005 sequel) have been on the scene.  ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ opens with Agent Gibbons attempting to recruit famed soccer star Neymar Jr for the program.  A gigantic explosion kills them and others.

Turns out the explosion was caused by someone using a device known as Pandora’s Box that can control every satellite in orbit around the Earth.  A satellite was chosen and used as a weapon to cause the explosion.  A meeting of top level intelligence types is held at the CIA offices in New York, organized by “Jane Marke” (Toni Collete, A Long Way Down) but a group of highly-skilled operatives led by “Xiang” (Donnie Yen, Dragon) break in and steal Pandora’s Box.

Marke seeks out and locates Xander Cage, who had faked his own death and gone underground.  She convinces him to take on the mission of locating Pandora’s Box.  He agrees but only if he can choose his own “team” for the mission.  They include sniper “Adele Wolff” (Ruby Rose), driver “Tennyson the Torch” (Rory McCann ) and “DJ Nicks (Kris Wu).  Agent Marke also details support specialist/designated geek “Becky Clearidge (Nina Dobrev) to aid Cage and team.  He visits an old friend, “Ainsley” (Hermoine Corfield) and learns that Xiang and his unit have gone into hiding on a remote island in the Philippines.

Turns out that Xiang and his unit, “Serena” (Deepika Padukone) “Talon” (Tony Jaa, Kill Zone 2) and “Hawk” (Michael Bisping) are all part of xXX, recruited by Agent Gibbons and intent on keeping Pandora’s Box out of anyone’s hands.  In fact, Serena wants to destroy it.  And after the two teams combine to stop an attack on the island by Russian troops, she does and joins up with Xander while Xiang, Talon and Hawk escape.  But the threat is not gone as another satellite falls from the sky.  Xander and his team race against Xiang and his to try to stop the person who has the real Pandora’s Box in hand before it can be used again.

This story is coherent enough because the real purpose of the xXx movies is the extreme, over-the-top action and we get it in full measure in director D. J. Caruso’s capable hands.  Diesel and Yen are both top-notch action stars and in combination they take things to a higher level.  The final action sequence with two very tense battles going on at once in different locations with the fate of everyone in the balance is worth the price of admission all by itself.

Deepika Padukone and Ruby Rose in ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’

Another plus for xXx: Return of Xander Cage is that the women are just as capable of killing and ass-kicking as the men.  Deepika Padukone and Ruby Rose excel in their roles.  So show up, buy popcorn, bring the girl and look dope doing it.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
xXx: Return of Xander Cage poster Rating: 6.6/10 (516 votes)
Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer: F. Scott Frazier, Rich Wilkes (based on characters created by)
Stars: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu
Runtime: 107 min
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Released: 20 Jan 2017
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.

Brian Milinsky

Brian Milinsky has served in the military, been an FM D.J. and an award-winning radio news reporter/anchor/writer/editor. He is presently a screenwriter and currently lives in Los Angeles.

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