Review – xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

The opening scene of this film is Samuel L. Jackson giving an impassioned speech about why pro footballer superstar Neymar Jr. – playing himself – should join his badass xXx program to save the world. In this speech, Samuel L. Jackson references the Stacy Peralta documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys and rhymes “ayatollahs” with “dollas”. The scene ends with somebody trying to stick up the chinese place the pair are at, which Neymar Jr. thwarts by kicking a napkin dispenser into the guy’s head. If that doesn’t excite you, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Vin Diesel’s introduction into this film has him climbing up a cable tower in the Dominican Republic, taking a device from it, then he straps on skis and dives off the tower, finding the strength to flip off the authorities as he flies past them. He then skis through a jungle like it’s the slopes in Park City, pulling off several spins and tricks just for show. He then ditches the skis for a skateboard that local youths have ready for him because Vin Diesel is the great racial unifier and skateboards at high speeds down a steep curvy hill, holding on to a guy’s truck at one point because when Vin Diesel wants to hold on to your truck it’s all good, because Vin Diesel is the great racial unifier. The device is used to give cable to all the townsfolk so they can watch the soccer game, because Vin Diesel is a man of the people. If this sequence does nothing for you, then I don’t know what to tell you.

There is a part in this film where the great Tony Jaa decides to run at a guy on a motorcycle coming straight for him. The guy on the motorcycle pulls out a pistol and begins firing, no problem for Tony Jaa as he dodges them with an innumerable amount of flips, then in one swift motion kicks the guy off the oncoming, full-speed motorcycle and lands on it in perfect driving position. If watching Tony Jaa do that does nothing for you, I don’t know what to tell you.

There is a part of the film where Vin Diesel, in order to get crucial intel from a source, has to have sex with what I counted were at least 7 women because apparently Vin Diesel is also the peak of sexuality. Afterwards, in a call back to the original, he remarks “The things I do for my country.” If that happening on screen in a film does nothing for you, I don’t know what to tell you.

There is a part of the film where Vin Diesel is chasing the great Donnie Yen, and that foot chase turns to a motorcycle chase. They eventually approach a body of water, and Donnie Yen flips a switch on his bike that produces ski attachments, effectively making it a motorcycle jet ski combo. He sails off. Vin Diesel, in close pursuit, flips the same switch on his bike to the same effect. Note that in this sequence, this is just a random bike Vin Diesel hopped on to chase Donnie Yen, there’s no indication he would have known it was equipped for water, he just pulled up from 40 and shot and swished it. The pair then literally surf waves on motorcycles. If something as incredible as that happening in cinema does nothing to ignite your passion for film, I don’t know what to tell you.

When meeting his tech person Becky for the first time, she is overcome by the undeniable pheromones of Vin Diesel, and tells him her safeword is “cumquat.” His response is “I don’t have a safe word in my vocabulary.” I applauded. If that exchange of dialogue does nothing for you, I don’t know what to tell you.

At one crucial moment of the film, Ice Cube reprises his role from xXx: State of the Union, a sequel that nobody has revisited since it was released, and start blowing away scores of henchmen with a grenade launcher. His first line, of only eight in his brief appearance, is “Wassup……Rock. Paper. Scissors. Grenade Launcher.” Boom. Paycheck. If you don’t start tearing up at the mere thought of something like this happening in a film, I don’t know what to tell you.

At one part of the film while on a plane, Vin Diesel tells a military guy he doesn’t like that he’s going to flush him down the airplane toilet, jettisoning the guy into open air thousands of miles up without a parachute. Later in the climax, Vin Diesel does just that to the guy. The clincher? He caps it off with the one-liner “Gonna need two flushes.” I got up, saluted and cheered at the screen. If the mere thought of Vin Diesel doing this in a film does nothing for you, I don’t know what to tell you. It did plenty for me.

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