The 'xXx: The Return of Xander Cage' reviews are mediocre at best.

‘xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage’ Review Round-Up — It’s About What You Would Expect From The Franchise

The first xXx: The Return of Xander Cage reviews are in, and most critics agree that the film is definitely not going for an Oscar. Of course, most Vin Diesel fans have come to expect movies that try harder to entertain than make much sense.

Look at what the original xXx was like and you will know who the audience is for the movie. It’s aimed for the extreme sports fanatics who love to see the impossible on the screen with the full Hollywood treatment. If you expect much of anything more, you will probably be as disappointed, as fans were when Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) “brought back” Ice Cube for State of the Union.

xXx: State of the Union is considered the worst movie in the franchise, meaning Xander’s return didn’t have much to rise above, earning mediocre reviews at best.

The first film arrived at a time when Tony Hawk was still making incredibly fun video games with Neversoft, so extreme sports were at their highest peak since the surfing era. Vin Diesel capitalized on this by making a movie about an extreme sports athlete who gets chosen to do what who was obviously a James Bond-type character couldn’t do. Sadly, with all of the flash incorporated in that Rammstein concert at the beginning, the rest of the movie looked almost bland when something wasn’t exploding.

'xXx' movies are known for explosions and wild stunts.
‘xXx’ movies are known for explosions and wild stunts. [Image by Paramount Pictures]

Movie Web’s Julian Roman says that’s what he went into the movie expecting, and it’s exactly what he got. It’s a hailstorm of sex, bullets, and beat-downs for action junkies. The xXx program is in danger, with a device called Pandora’s Box sending satellites crashing down to Earth. It’s your typical doomsday scenario cooked up by “tattooed, uncivilized” villains all over again, requiring the services of a tattooed, uncivilized anti-hero who just happened to fake his own death. The women in this film are treated the same as well — sexualized and exploited for a little extra visual enjoyment.

Slant Magazine says that the return of Xander Cage was not only unnecessary, but proves that Vin Diesel has lost all sense of reality. The film defies sensibilities, the laws of physics, and all logic in its attempt to put Vin Diesel back in or on a vehicle moving fast enough to do something stupid in or on. You probably saw some of them in the trailers, and if your palm hit your face, you probably noticed that every stunt he pulls off is obviously staged to work. Skiing down a radio tower was only the beginning of the suspension of disbelief required to enjoy this movie.

The Seattle Times points out in their xXx: The Return of Xander Cage review that there is a definite parallel to Fast and Furious 6. Once again, Vin Diesel and a multi-ethnic team of crazy characters who go up against a similar group of villains led by Donnie Yen. All of it is simply to search for something Soren Anderson calls an “[outsized] plastic TV clicker.”

'xXx 3' is not Donnie Yen's best film in the past year.
‘xXx 3’ is not Donnie Yen’s best film in the past year. [Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images]

It’s unfortunate that this film was the North American debut for Indian actress Deepika Padukone. She came into it expecting to prove herself as just as big a butt-kicker as the boys, but it’s all lost in a sea of almost steroid-infused testosterone.

It is probably a good idea, if you’re planning on seeing it, to lower your expectations ahead of time. You might just enjoy this second installment of the Xander Cage storyline if you are only looking for a popcorn-fodder action film with next to no story.

Otherwise, there is still Assassin’s Creed and Rogue One to see, the latter of which gave Donnie Yen a more intelligent role, according to critics.

[Featured Image by Paramount Pictures]

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