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  • 15
  • Action, Adventure
  • 2002
  • 121 mins

xXx

xXx

Synopsis

21st century action hero Vin Diesel stars in this over-the-top spy movie about an extreme sports fanatic recruited by American National Security Agency man Samuel L Jackson to take on rogue Russian terrorists

About

If you thought Bond movies were daft, you'll gape in astonishment at this second teaming of Vin Diesel and Rob Cohen (star and director, respectively, of The Fast And The Furious). xXx takes the 007 formula and blends in muscles, tattoos and an array of "action sports" set pieces.

Vin Diesel is Triple-Ex. You can almost hear the growling trailer voice-over just thinking about it. Actually, he's simply Xander Cage, extreme sports fanatic and anti-establishment prankster. We're introduced to Xander as he steals the sports car of a rightwing senator. Driving it off a bridge at high speed, he both makes a point about the senator's reactionary legislation and gets his adrenaline kicks. Woo-hoo! But as soon as he's back hanging out with his adoring Pepsi Max buddies, the government kidnaps him and soon scar-faced National Security Agency agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) is coercing Xander into working for the US government. The agency needs extreme sports fanatics to infiltrate a rogue Russian terrorist organisation in Prague, you see. Of course. Absolutely.

After a series of tests (riding a motorbike around a Colombian drug-farm for example, jumping a massive fence in a fun homage to The Great Escape, that kind of thing), Xander - dubbed Triple-Ex now, after a tattoo on his neck - heads for Prague and gets involved with the villain of the piece, Yorgi (Csokas) and his moll, Yelena (Asia Argento, daughter of Dario).

Despite the extreme sports and 80s-style action movie trappings (the film is replete with enormous explosions), xXx pretty much follows the formula of the Bond films.

Cohen's film is superficially trying to up the ante of the Bond films and supercede them - it begins by having a Bond-esque, tuxedo-clad agent bumped off. However, considering the Bond films are self-parodies that attempt to outdo the earlier films in the franchise with each instalment, the action isn't that dissimilar. Car chases. Snowy chases (X skydives, snowboards down a mountain, sets off an avalanche and outruns some skiddoos in one scene). Explosions. The other elements of xXx all follow Bond: the megalomaniac with a ludicrous plans for world domination (involving a solar-powered sub that looks like a radio-controlled Thunderbird); the ostensible villainess who falls for the hero; the eastern European stereotypes. There's even an M in the form of Gibbons, and a Q in the form of the geeky Agent Shavers (Roof).

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Tom Everett, Asia Argento, Michael Roof, Vin Diesel, Samuel L Jackson, Danny Trejo, Marton Csokas
  • Director: Rob Cohen
  • Writer: Rich Wilkes
  • Producer: Neal H Moritz
  • Photographer: Dean Semler
  • Composer: Randy Edelman

In a nutshell

Bond, with a dose of 80s action hero muscularity, a skate-punk wardrobe, crude product placement and a nu-metal soundtrack - ie tailored for 14-year-old boys. Be warned, there's nothing here for an adult brain to engage with. Fun but deeply, ridiculously silly.

by Daniel Etherington

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