Will Vin Diesel’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage be able to save the franchise?

 

xXx started with a bang in 2002, grossing more than US$277 million globally.

Its 2005 sequel, however, was a box office bomb. With a US$16 million loss and its protagonist killed, the xXx franchise looked set to end there – or so we thought.

But the action comedy series has been resurrected with its 3rd installment – one packed with a bigger cast and more mind-blowing extreme sports sequences. And it’s a surprisingly fun thrill ride, never mind some far-fetched plots and cringe-worthy lines.

Vin Diesel is back as Xander Cage. Photo courtesy of: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Vin Diesel is back as Xander Cage. Photo courtesy of: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Vin Diesel reprises his role as the reluctant hero Xander Cage, an extreme athlete-turned-government spy. This time, he’s pitted against Donnie Yen’s Xiang. The Hong Kong actor is best known for his hit kungfu franchise Ip Man.

The film basically centers on their chase for the “Pandora’s Box” – a potent weapon capable of messing up the earth-orbiting satellites. Not much of a story here, but the action choreography is certainly one-up its predecessor. The skateboarding scenes with Diesel leaping over trees and clinging on to speeding vehicles are among the guilty pleasures of this film.

The star power of the ethnically diverse supporting cast also increases the marketability of this installment. Besides Yen, you can count on Thai martial artist Tony Jaa to offer some serious action chops. Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone, who boasts 33 million fans on Facebook, is easy on the eye. And it’s good to have footballer Neymar Jr. and rapper-actor Ice Cube providing comic relief as cameos.

Xander Cage is very much alive and still XXX-treme. Photo courtesy of: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Xander Cage is very much alive and still XXX-treme. Photo courtesy of: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

left to right: Tony jaa, Donnie Yen, Michael Bisping, Deepika Padukone Photo courtesy of: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

left to right: Tony jaa, Donnie Yen, Michael Bisping, Deepika Padukone Photo courtesy of: PARAMOUNT PICTURES

But the film still fails in the story department, with illogical plots, cheesy lines and twists that could be seen from a mile away.

“It’s definitely better than the 2nd movie but the plot for this one is quite ridiculous and doesn’t make sense at some points,” said student Ng Yong Zhin, 20, who’s seen all 3 installments.

Donnie Yen, the Hong Kong action star who plays Xiang in the movie, also acted in other Hollywood movies like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Blade II Photo courtesy of: PARAMOUNT PICTURE.

Donnie Yen, the Hong Kong action star who plays Xiang in the movie, also acted in other Hollywood movies like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Blade II Photo courtesy of: PARAMOUNT PICTURES.

 

Overall, xXx: Return Of Xander Cage is still a fun, action-packed thrill ride if that’s what you’re looking for.

Diesel has hinted at the likelihood of a 4th installment. Would you like one?

Share your comments below.

Watch the trailer here:

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Release Date: 19 January 2017

Runtime:

Censorship Rating: PG13

Genre: Action

Director: D.J. Caruso

Main Cast: Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Ruby Rose, Toni Collette