xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage (2017) Movie Review

By: Felix Felicis (A Toast) –

Dear Vin Diesel, you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies (and pre-apocalyptic “presidential” inaugurations) are gray, if you only know dear, how much I love you, please don’t take my Vin Diesel (and/or reproductive rights) awayyyyyy. That’s right, Boozers, the unthinkable happened and we as a country officially have a Cheeto-In-Chief literally the very same weekend one of the most highly anticipated (by me and very probably Hawk Ripjaw) rebootquel franchise flicks of 2017 made its triumphant return! The universe, and irony, both giveth and taketh away. Join me as I wax *poetic (*very very drunkly) about the *masterpiece (*absolutely breathtakingly ridiculous shitshow) that is xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage. Is it too late to elect Vin Diesel Badass-In-Chief? Asking for a *friend (*almost everyone on planet earth).

Pretty much my state of mind all of Friday, January 20th for two very, very different reasons.

xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage marks Vin Diesel’s second film franchise resurrected from the ashes Ocean’s Eleven, ensemble rebootquel-style (the other being the Fast franchise) and given new life at the box office. If you’ve never seen the original xXx, no it’s not porn (four inexplicable nipples and one tasteful…ish bedroom pole dance aside) but rather a kind of daredevil James Bond who saves the world from terrorists whilst performing every adrenaline-inducing stunt ever. This includes but is not limited to: flying though a gap in razor wire fencing on a dirt bike simultaneously kicking a gold-toothed mustachioed drug lord in the face, skydiving, rock-climbing, outrunning an avalanche while snowboarding, and managing to pull off wearing a massive fur coat in style. The original xXx was made in 2002 and the fashion is nothing short of amaaaazing(ly bad).

Also this.

There was also a sequel, xXx: State of the Union starring Ice Cube in 2005 (this was back when Vin Diesel wasn’t doing sequels) that was the cinematic equivalent of leaving narcoleptic butter out on the counter. It’s only worth mentioning because The Return Of Xander Cage  is pretty much a direct sequel from the first xXx but has a magnificent cameo from State of the Union that had my entire row enthusiastically slow clapping and the payoff tips the balance over into “watch State of the Union for maximum Return of Xander Cage awesomeness”. xXx 3 rounds up our bald BAMF (and Co. this time) for another go-round saving the world from international espionage and rogue satellite mayhem. It’s dumber. It’s action-ier.

And it’s 1000% Vin Diesel-ier.

A Toast

I would like to state, for the record, that the xXx franchise is not good, it is un-good, it is, in fact, very very bad… IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE. Vin Diesel as xXx is quite possibly genius in that his portrayal of this thrill-seeking anti-hero hero manages to transcend a paint-by-numbers cookie-cutter plot, dialogue so obnoxiously rank the Kardashians called and wanna copyright it, and an absence of logic that defies the laws of the universe so hard it ripped a hole in the space-time continuum and caused Interstellar to fall out. Watching these movies may in fact make you dumber and I could not love them more than if they were another eight years of Obama. Or literally anybody else. But I digress. I love xXx and Return of Xander Cage the same way I love Jupiter Ascending, not in spite of their flaws but BECAUSE of them. I can’t explain it. This franchise flies in the face of quality cinema basically waving both middle fingers in the air whilst lighting radioactive kittens on fire.

It simply must be seen to be believed.

Major kudos to Toni Collette for absolutely CHEWING UP her role and spitting it out with such glee it was an absolute joy to behold and also to Vampire Diaries’ Nina Dobrev for winning the Most Sexual Tension With Vin Diesel Using The Least Amount Of Screentime award. The ensemble cast was absolutely MAGIC (considering the xXx crew was paddling around in shallower character-depth waters than I would’ve liked even using the especially low bar by which I judge this franchise) though Vin Diesel carries The Return Of Xander Cage on his well-muscled shoulders from beginning to end. I will *fight anybody who doesn’t love this movie (*reply to any combat inquiries with upside-down smiley face emojis) as it embodies the best and worst of popcorn cinema happening now.

Please find this .gif from The Return Of Xander Cage in the dictionary under LIT AF.

Verdict

xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage is escapism at it’s finest so pop on that extra-small tee you bought at the Baby Gap and tell the hamster running your brain he has a couple hours off. You’re going to go see xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage today.

xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage (2017) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: for every xXx callback to the original.

Take a Drink: for each team-up and/or side-switch.

Take a Sip: for any extreme stunt and/or bio page.

Shotgun your Beer: when they dial “9”.

About Felix Felicis

Filled with smart-assed sass and armed with the expletives to prove it, Felix Felicis is a critic adrift in a sea of dirty thoughts and tawdry humor. If you see her float by, toss Felix some beef jerky and a taser. She'll take it from there.

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