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Review xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017): Bad for sure but more fun than given credit for!

genre: action, adventure, espionage







This third entry in the franchise does what it is supposed to do and deliver the same action goodness it always has done. It is therefore mystifying that people were expecting something different. Of course this film was going to be bad. The entire xXx franchise is. 

But that is what gave these films their charm. Return of Xander Cage combines the best of the original and State of Union and added some things of their own. And it looks like that they are aiming to go the Fast and Furious route where they up the ante with each sequel that will follow. I read that a sequel to this part is in the works. If Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa are included then I welcome that very much. While they were underused a little they did showcase what they are about and did give this film that something extra for me. Same goes for Indian actress Deepika Padukone. She was more than window dressing and actually provided some nice dynamics between her and Vin Diesel. Much better than Vin did in the original with Asia Argento. Rory McCann best known for his role as The Hound in Game of Thrones served as comic relief and yes he was brilliant. Perhaps because it was such a contrast to his Hound character. Nina Dobrev as the tech geek also provided some laughs but I wished they had her character tied to Agent Toby Lee Shavers from the first two xXx films. The actor named Michael Roof who portrayed the role unfortunately has committed suicide in 2009 otherwise I am sure they would have included him in this outing if he wanted to do it of course. Mind you I wasn't that fond of the inclusion of some other names who I am not that familiar with but they grew on me. 

Biggest flaw of this film however is the plot. It's very average and messy. What this film needed was a designated villain and there wasn't one. I guess they wanted to surprise you with who the bad guys were without actually backing that up with a decent build up or narrative. With a little effort they could have genuinely surprised the viewer. As it is now you just know how the plot unfolds. Is that such a bad thing? Seeing how all of the xXx films were more about the action and never about the story I don't mind as much. Apparently a lot of people did. And yes if you truly were unaware what this franchise stood for then maybe I can understand that this film will be disappointing. The pacing is uneven and does emphasize how empty the film without the spectacle. But when the action is in full force it's entertaining through and through. On top of this they even managed to add some surprises here and there which is nice especially for the fans of this franchise. 

I would take this over Suicide Squad any day. Actually this is what Suicide Squad should have been like. Now I think about it Return of Xander Cage introduces it's characters with title cards like they did in Suicide Squad. And here you have members delivering on the skills they are marketed on. Almost like they were poking fun at DC. Ladies and gentlemen this film should not be taken seriously. It is supposed to be bad and cheesy. If you don't have the stomach for that kind of thing then avoid this. But if you are like me who once in a while just wants mindless fun then this is definitely for you. 



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