Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Features an addtional 8 minutes
of new content not seen in Theatrical version; "The Final
Chapter: The Death of Xander Cage" with Khristian Lupo as
Xander Cage; Exclusive behind-the-scenes sneak peak at 'xXx2 :
The Next Level'; Clip Compilation: The End Credit Sequence - Raw
and Uncut; Director's Commentary; All new exclusive scene from
'xXx2 : The Next Level'; Making of featurette: 'Starz! On the
Set - The Making of xXx'; Agent Shaver's Gadgets Presentation
featurette; Multi-Angle Stunt View - The Bridge Jump and Exploding
Barn Jump; Music Video 'I Will Be Heard' by Hatebreed
THE names Cage, Xander Cage, but it doesnt quite
have the same ring to it, does it? xXx (or triple X) is billed
as a new breed of secret agent, offering a more contemporary
approach to the super-spy genre capable of taking action to new
Yet while the movie is undeniably fun in places, and boasts some
suitably over-the-top set pieces, its pre-occupation with attempting
to out-Bond 007 invites some fairly obvious comparisons, to which
it pales into insignificance.
Vin Diesel (the moody muscle-man of Pitch Black and The
Fast and the Furious fame) stars as the secret agent in question,
a three-time loser and extreme sports enthusiast whose
only shot of staying out of prison is to serve his country by
working as an expendable agent for the NSA.
Enlisted by Samuel L Jacksons heavily-scarred NSA veteran,
Cage must travel to Prague to infiltrate a gang of adrenalin-junkie
thugs, named Anarchy 99, and thwart their plans for world domination,
by using his questionable reputation to get close to the groups
leader, Yorgi (Marton Csokas), an ex-Russian army commander.
In so doing, he attracts the eye of Yorgis beautiful but
streetwise girlfriend, Yelena (Asia Argento), while generally
butting heads with everyone from the Czech police to Yorgis
The difference between xXx and 007,
however, is that while Bond is committed to serving Queen and
country and conducts his business with a stiff-upper lip and a
smattering of charm, Cages rugged alternative couldnt
give a damn about saving the world and has all the finesse of
a rapper at the opera.
Yet while all the components are in place for a rollicking adventure
(from gadgets and babes, to quips and explosions), xXx simply
doesnt cut it quite as spectacularly as it should.
Diesel, in particular, may have bags of charisma when playing
the anti-hero, yet the moment he starts to care, he loses his
edge, while his inability to deliver a really decent quip places
him among the Stallone and Schwarzenegger wannabes, rather than
the Connery or Brosnan heroes he clearly aspires to.
A lack of a genuinely great villain with which to trade blows
(both physical and verbal) does him no favours, either, while
Michael Roofs Q equivalent, Toby Lee Shavers, lacks any
of the qualities which made Desmond Llewellyn so endearing - even
his gadgets (rocket-firing cars, binoculars which allow Diesel
to see through walls, or beneath clothes) seem borrowed from any
Which leaves us with the babes and the action, where director
Rob Cohens movie really delivers. Argento, in particular,
smoulders as the feisty Yelena (her attitude-laden performance
actually gives Diesel a run for his money), while the action is
Highlights include the opening stunt involving a car and a bridge,
a motorcycle chase through a Colombian drugs field and Cage attempting
to out-snowboard an avalanche, and they just about make-up for
the gaping lapses in logic (audiences are expected to believe
that Cage can dismantle bombs and fire all manner of weapons with
less than a weeks training).
Yet even they lack the sophistication to poke fun at the genre
in the way that the likes of True Lies did, so here's hoping that
future films in the series live up to the expectations set for
them by director, Cohen, who wants to rip up the Bond template.
Triple X is clearly intended to deliver a secret agent capable
of appealing to the X-box generation and goes about delivering
its thrills with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer cracking a
Its fast, furious and incredibly dumb, yet while its success
in America has already helped to spawn a sequel and should appeal
to die-hard action fans here, viewers will still be left with
the opinion than nobody does it better than a certain Mr Bond.