I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage teaser

Okay, I didn’t actually like xXx very much at the time, and I kind of condescendingly liked-did-not-love xXx: STATE OF THE UNION. But somehow I’m really fucking excited for this one. All those years ago Vin Diesel turned down the sequels to THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and xXx, but when he came back to the former he helped grow it into a series greater than even early adopters could’ve imagined. He’s taken his sweet time getting back to Xander Cage, and I kinda doubt they were begging him, so this is something he’s passionate about. And I believe this time he can live up to the absurd premise.

This trailer is very promising. Lots of knowingly ludicrous dialogue. The script is by F. Scott Frazier (THE NUMBERS STATION) and Chad St. John (LONDON HAS FALLEN). I thought they might try to back away from the “extreme sports” aspect, but no, they have Vin skateboarding and… I don’t know… jungle skiing? And Donnie Yen is there and I had to use pausing to find Tony Jaa (blond guy flips onto motorcycle) but his Twitter account made it seem like he was filming longer than on FURIOUS 7.

Didn’t Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) used to have a burnt up face? Also, didn’t Xander’s neck tattoo get ripped off his neck when he got blown up in Bora Bora according to the short film DVD extra starring Diesel’s stunt double? Only Wikipedia will have the answers.

The director this time is D.J. Caruso – not the David Caruso themed turntablist, but the director of TAKING LIVES.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

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6 Responses to “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage teaser”

  1. Kinda excited-ish about this too, despite not being a huge fan of the first two. Just the director really curbs my enthusiasm.

  2. Perfect opportunity to team up Vin with the Don Dada Ice Cube and they didn’t take it. Nevertheless here’s a 3rd entry in a Sony franchise that indeed does have my attention. Like Vern I just hope they finally really cut loose and go nuts with the premise. The first one never went past occassionally tipping the iceberg.

  3. I have a strange relationship with the first film. In some ways I still maintain a love/hate relationship with the first film because despite all of its impressive stunts and action shots, I found a lot of the film to be an attempt to be hip. While director Rob Cohen said that the film was to pay homage to James Bond, there were sad attempts to make it feel like xXx was the better alternative with Xander Cage being this badass who has a disregard for authority. Let’s not forget the marketing with its “New Breed of Secret Agent” tagline. The odd thing is that this came out around the time “The Bourne Identity” came out, with “Die Another Day” having come out months after. Let’s not forget “The Sum of All Fears” coming out that same year. I still enjoy the film, but there are things about that kind of annoy me.

    As for the second, I may be in the minority of those who actually liked it, despite its problems. In some ways I enjoy it in a guilty-pleasure-sort-of-way. I didn’t mind the CGI and a lot of the errors in the film. Plus, looking back Ice Cube was not that convincing as an action star, but I didn’t think it was that bad. I do laugh about him jumping towards the helicopter, though. Eh, I still like it in the end.

  4. I saw the first two. Didn’t much care for them. I remember being in Toronto when the first one came out, and there were billboards for it everywhere. The marketing and advertising around the film had a forced, engineered quality to it, like everyone was trying too hard to make Vin Diesel the next (last?) big “It guy” action hero in the mold of a Schwarzenegger or Stallone. It all just felt too in love with itself and its own unearned pseduo-mythology in terms of the xXx Diesel character being the ultimate badass. I’ve never liked Diesel, as that seems like his whole Steez is being self-serious and overly confident in his own importance and awesomeness. Contrast him with a Statham. Something about Statham that is more in that humble,quiet, flying under the radar thing, while Diesel just always has this shit-eating “How f’ing awesome am I, right? I mean, it’s crazy!” So transparently trying to project as hard and cool that it smacks of overcompensation. Anyway, I didn’t hate the first one, just thought it was pretty forgettable especially in light of its pretensions of grandeur.

    With this one, minus what I expect will be a glorified cameo from Sam Jackson, it’s got that “Transporter” meets an early-aughts music video thing going on. All sheen, lots of pretty, unfamiliar, completely forgettable faces and a lot of cartoonish goofball action. I know Vern can find the neat angles in all kinds of stuff I can’t, but to me this just looks like some straight laughable cheeseball shit. I don’t say this purely to be snarky or too cool for school, it’s just my immediate reaction, which is a kind of full body eye roll. Did I mention I like Universal: Reckoning and Commando. Don’t hate me, Verne-verse. :)

    True confessions: Vin Diesel is solid in the very underappreciated Boiler Room. He could be a good actor, but ever since FF1 and Pitch Black, I don’t know what happened to the guy.

  5. Gibbons got his face fixed before State of the Union. I imagine Jackson said “fuck this makeup.”

    I suspect Xander got the tattoo on a cadaver as part of faking his death and leaving definitive evidence behind.

  6. I’m just gonna go and leave the link right here while I watch this shit for the third time.

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