Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Filmmaker's commentary. VFX commentary.
Deleted scenes with optional commentary. Making of documentary.
Featurettes. Multi-angle featurette.
ICE Cube steps into the shoes vacated by Vin Diesel for this
tedious action sequel that becomes increasingly more stupid the
longer it goes on.
He stars as Darius Stone, a former Special Forces operative,
now serving time for assaulting a superior, who is called back
into action in order to thwart a plan to overthrow the US President
by the Secretary of State (Willem Dafoe).
Lining up for the good guys, therefore, are a bunch of petty
thieves and home-boys, while the men in suits around them threaten
to plunge the country into chaos.
The best thing about xXx2 is that it knows its fairly trashy,
seldom pausing to offer any logic in between the multitude of
gun battles and explosions.
But that doesn't excuse the film entirely, given the poor quality
of most of the action sequences, the unsuitability of its leading
man and the overall tediousness of proceedings.
Former James Bond director, Lee Tamahori,
proves that the bodge-job he made of the final action sequences
in Die Another Day was
no fluke by peppering xXx2 with CGI-heavy effects that simply
don't look realistic.
While his obvious use of stunt doubles does Ice Cube no favours
in cutting a credible action hero - merely serving to emphasise
his unsuitability of the role.
Cube can be a fairly charismatic performer given the right material,
but here seems content to snarl his way around the debris in between
quoting Tupac and trading poor one-liners with his superiors.
Yet none of the central performers are particularly well-served
by the material, with Samuel L Jackson simply on auto-pilot as
Stone's superior, and Dafoe content to churn out another of his
bog-standard villain roles.
Only Scott Speedman emerges with any credit, delivering the type
of performance that suggests he might have been better suited
to playing 'the new xXx'.
The film also suffers by comparison with the likes of James Bond
(to which it clearly aspires to) and The
Bourne Supremacy, which is the new standard-bearer for this
sort of thing.
Had The Next Level opted for a higher certificate, so as to emphasise
the extreme nature of proceedings, or decided to reign in the
special effects, it might have fared better.
But as things stand, xXx2 is quite simply X-cruciatingly bad.