xXx Review

Cross-Posted to LiveJournal

WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Don’t like?  Watch the movie first.

Like I can really give away spoilers of this movie.  It’s pretty much one big, mindless cliché.

That isn’t to say it’s not good.  It’s still quite entertaining.  Mostly because of Vin Diesel.

The plot revolves around this extreme action-sports stuntman who does his own internet videos, Xander Cage.  After hijacking a senator’s sports car and making an example of it, he’s recruited by the NSA for undercover work.  He only agrees because he either does this or goes to jail.  So he goes to the Czech Republic and gets into the group Anarchy 99.  He finds out that they’re building this submarine that uses a revolutionary biological weapon that will wipe out whole cities.  Dubbed “Silent Night” the compound breaks down in water so after the gas kills everyone, it silently goes away.  Oh and the chick of the group is actually an undercover FSB agent that’s been abandoned by the Russian government.

As you can tell, it’s pretty much simple and chock-full of action movie cliches.  Xander has 3 X’s tattooed on the back of his neck, hence his nickname Triple X (or just X) and the movie’s title.  There’s lots of stunts and blowing stuff up because he’s a lawbreaking extreme sports enthusiast.  If he can, he will.  Anarchy 99 makes everything look like a lot of partying and games, but they’ve got secret stuff going on in the basement (not even joking here.)  Illegal cars and clubs look like their things until you get to see what’s really going on.  They have two big muscle men (brothers of the main bad guy) and a sniper who likes to smoke and has a thing for the only girl of the group that’s not a total slutty party girl.  But of course, she’s not bad, she’s undercover too!

It’s predictable and lots of stuff gets blown up.  On the upside, they wrote some rather amusing dialogue into it, so you can be amused by some of the smaller things that happens.  The famous one is where Xander goes up to his room in Anarchy 99’s base and there’s a chick pole dancing on the ends of the bed in undies.  So he cracks out a “the things I’m gonna do for my country” before taking off his shirt and more than likely banging her.  But he gets the undercover girly in the end too, because he’s that awesome.

The settings are pretty cool though.  You get the California scenery for the first shot of Xander wrecking the Corvette, you get the gritty Czech Republic, the techno-pumping popular dance clubs, and even some of the mountainsides.  While not epically beautiful, they do have some rather nice places where the shit happens.

And the characters have a little going for them.

Samuel L. Jackson plays our tough NSA head honcho, Gibbons.  He’s scarred and he’s mean but this is Samuel L. Jackson’s acting we’re talking about.  He’s a tough talking, straight shooting hard ass and it works to get the job done.

Yelena has her share of annoying moments.  Especially when you consider the flop in personality you get after you discover that she’s not a cold-hearted gang bitch, but an undercover spy herself. It’s like she does this complete 180 from bitch to feeling woman.  However, she can still kick some ass and does a fair share of shooting and killing and it does make her a shade more endearing.

Anarchy 99 consists of Yorgi (the main boss,) Koyla (Yorgi’s younger brother and a huge fan of Xander,) Kirill (close friend of Yorgi’s, a sniper and a cigarette addict.  Also in love with Yelena) and Viktor (the big muscle man.)  Yorgi is typically evil looking, like he’s always planning something and is very underhanded.  Viktor and Koyla are big meatheads who like girls and drinking.  And Kirill is this skinny little wimpy looking boy until you get a gun in his hands and then he doesn’t miss.  Cigarettes end up being his biggest weakness.  And yes, they all die spectacularly, if you couldn’t already guess.  Hell, Yorgi doesn’t even hold out until the end of the movie.  He dies before the true climax.

Xander is of course the best character there.  He’s the most well rounded.  Despite being a lawbreaker on a regular basis, you can tell he’s smart and genuinely a good guy who doesn’t really fear much.  He’s also fantastic to look at.

Final Thoughts: It’s not really bad, per se.  Cliched?  Yep.  Mindless?  Of course.  Typical action movie?  Yeppers.  It doesn’t even have enough of a plot to have plotholes. But that doesn’t make it bad.  It’s got amusing dialogue and a decent set of characters/actors.  I give it about 4/5 because I love watching it again and again.  It probably doesn’t really deserve that high a rating, but it’s entertaining and that counts for something.  Right?

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