Rabu, 01 Februari 2017

xXx: Return of Xander Cage serves up all the expected over-the-top action

xXx: Return of Xander Cage serves up all the expected over-the-top action but it won’t win the series any new fans due to various shortcomings. Director D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, I Am Number Four) calls the shots, and his handling of the material is a mixed bag. Some of the action set pieces (in particular, the ones involving Donnie Yen) are well-constructed and deliver big screen spectacle, but others rely too heavily on quick cuts and certain sequences wander dangerously close to incomprehensible territory (and of course, viewers must suspend their disbelief in order to fully buy in). Return of Xander Cage is also extremely derivative of Suicide Squad, giving each group member their own pop song-infused introduction complete with a title graphic containing “fun” factoids about the characters. This plays into the movie’s core problem: it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table and can’t shake the feeling of being a stale rehash. It lacks its own unique style and plays as just a run-of-the-mill sequel that exists mainly so Diesel can play Xander Cage again.

Nobody goes into these movies expecting fantastic acting performances, but none of the turns here are exactly standout. Diesel is fine as Xander Cage; however, this is far from his greatest role. He tries a little too hard to channel the spirit of the old school James Bond films with witty one-liners and retorts, but his skill set isn’t exactly built to be that kind of hero. For many, Yen will probably be the most memorable part, as he unsurprisingly displays strong adeptness in his many action sequences. There frankly isn’t much to his character overall, but at the very least Yen delivers on a superficial level by giving people the necessary genre thrills via his fight scenes. He’s having fun in his role and audiences should enjoy his contributions to the series. download movies for free online

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the supporting cast. The likes of Rose, McCann, and Wu are all serviceable, but they’re just simply there to round out the team and don’t have a whole lot to do outside of action scenes. The ensemble is arguably way overstuffed, as Deepika Padukone (who is essentially the female lead), Tony Jaa, and former NFL star Tony Gonzalez all have similarly thin parts that do not amount to anything. Frazier tries to give Padukone’s Serena Unger a flirtatious romantic relationship with Xander Cage, but these beats fall flat and the payoff is unearned. By far, the weakest link in the movie is Nina Dorbev, who plays the xXx program’s tech assistant Becky. It’s difficult to tell if it’s more a fault of the writing or the performance, but Becky comes across as highly annoying and is largely one-note (read: overwhelmed/out of her element). Frazier and Caruso may have benefitted from trimming some characters out in order to tighten things up and dedicate more time to the better actors and develop a select few as a cohesive unit.

In the end, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is exactly what most moviegoers expected when they heard this film was finally reaching theaters. It’s suitably over-the-top, but the weak characterizations, poor story, and sloppy direction prevent it from truly achieving its ultimate destiny as a brainless romp of action fun. Those who have been following the series (and love it) from the beginning will be inclined to check it out, but the uninitiated can wait until The Fate of the Furious comes out in order to get their fix of Vin Diesel and company.

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