xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)

xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Director: D.J. Caruso
Writer: F. Scott Frazier
Sequel to: xXx, xXx: State of the Union
Cast: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann, Toni Collette, Samuel L. Jackson, Ice Cube
Seen on: 24.1.2017

Plot:
When a new weapon called Pandora’s Box is used to crash a satellite with enough precision to kill Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) and stolen from CIA headquarters by Xiang (Donnie Yen) and his people, high-ranking CIA operative Jane Marke (Toni Collette) knows she needs extra help. She finds Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) who has been living a quiet life of retirement. After hearing about Gibbons, Cage aggrees to track down Xiang and Pandora’s Box.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage absolutely delivers what it promises: it’s one of the most satisfying, fun action movies in a very long time.

I remember when I saw the first xXx film many, many years ago and I remember loving it. I never saw the second one but I heard it wasn’t all that good (I wanted to watch both before seeing this, but I didn’t have the time). I’m happy to say that this third installment totally lived up to my very fond memories of the first film.

That is not to say that the film didn’t have its problematic moments. It’s full of the male gaze. Cage is the ultimate fantasy of hegemonic masculinity with all the trappings that come with that – and a lot of that is treating women – and everybody wants to fuck Xander Cage – like interchangeable shit.

There is a bit of a counterbalance in Adele (Ruby Rose), an out queer action heroine who flirts with practically every woman around her. It would have been even better if they had dared to go all the way and have made the romance with Becky (Nina Dobrev) (that would have been absolute sweetness) a reality and not something I mostly imagined (thanks to Dobrev who goes along with it enough to make it a strong possibility that Becky is bi).

But the best thing about the film – and that’s just as it should be – are the action scenes. They are absolutely delightful. As things get more and more unlikely and more and more high-staked, I grew more and more excited. At the end, I just wanted to clap, like a small kid who gets present after present at their birthday party. And if that isn’t wonderful, I don’t know what is.

Summarizing: My face during the film:

If that’s a face, you want to make, watch it.

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