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xXx Return of Xander Cage Review (2017) | He Shouldn’t Have Returned

Mindless action! xXx Return of Xander Cage bends laws of physics, banks on cliched action at times to deliberately showcase what its director thinks “would look cool” stunts. It has cheesy lines galore, and a really insipid plot in its baggage. The worst however remains, that instantly piercing and bothering demeanour that Vin Diesel wears throughout the flick. His smugness is the worst. It makes you go, “Is this guy for real?” Overlook Vin and you see how hollow, cliched, stupid and pointless the whole movie is.

Plot of xXx Return of Xander Cage (Spoilers)

Presumably dead the legend, Xander Cage (the one who gets on your nerves avatar of Vin Diesel) from the first one, is hunted down by CIA to bring a stolen device called Pandora’s Box back. It is a device that can ensue destruction on a massive scale, since it holds the reins of military satellites. To successfully complete the mission he hires his own team, deliberately throwing an unprepared bunch of soldiers out of a moving plane. Whaaaat?

Wait, that’s nothing. He breaks a gun, yes! a frigging gun with his knees just to prove a point! He brags a lot about himself, or let others go on and on about him, which gets on your nerves.

To make matters further indigestible, he goes on a bike chase in the sea. I repeat, in the sea! When that’s going on, you wonder if they plan on ever stopping. A water station maybe? To get some gas? They appear as if they were planning on crossing the ocean on their bikes.

The Competition

His competition is Xiang portrayed by Donnie Yen who is the guy Cage is supposed to race to get the Pandora’s box before he does. Xiang has plans of his own and a team too. Eventually both the teams end up joining hands to fight the double crossing government instead. In words of Sebastian from La La Land:

“It is all very very exciting.”

All seemingly cool frames seem very deliberately created just to prove a scene. There is one bit that shows Cage playing with grenades with Xiang and Serena (Deepika Padukone). What a way to make a conversation! *Facepalm* It is hands down one of the most forced scenes in the movie, and makes it very laughable. You know, spoofs get made because of such absurdity!

image of Vin Diesel Deepika Padukone and Donnie Yen in xXx Return of Xander Cage movie

Oh wait! Cage gets shot too. You know when in a movie hero would get shot, a voice in your head would always go, “he must be wearing a bulletproof vest? Or the bullet might have been stopped by an impenetrable object? Well the former’s your answer.

Yes, the story is as if a kid wrote it. I remember thinking all that stuff when I was five.

All the Shooting

Then there is that cliched gun fight scene too, where two badass chicks come out in the open and then shoot at random army of villains who somehow never stop coming. Yes the one where they are leaning against each other’s backs to look dope. Yeah! It’s all in there.

Just then to break the monotony, everyone’s bullets run out, and you predict the director has something up his sleeve, in comes the protagonist from the second part, which was an even shittier movie. Ice Cube comes with a grenade launcher reprising his role as Darius Stone and the music in the background turns into a rap. It is supposed to mean the “Lord is here!”

Tony Jaa gets a role of a psychotic fighter who looks like he has been on a strict Red Bull diet all his life. Nina Dobrev plays the one fun character that we have seen in so many movies before that it should actually cease to exist. But no! Every movie has it.

Deepika Padukone doesn’t cause any ripples either. She seems weirdly out of place whenever she comes to do her bit. Her icky walk to meet Xiang would make you wonder what the director must have been expecting to see, and what came out as a result. And he chose to include it too.

And what’s with the tats? The director D.J. Caruso seems like he must have been saying: We should not leave the tattoo! Let him wear a Capri so that the tattoos show!

Worthy Bits

If you still expect something cool to happen, then it is Donnie Yen’s fight bits that takes off the heat for a while. You watch him go full Ip Man on rogue soldiers and you get your money’s worth then and there with his badass action moves. Inclusion of known faces from the past, like Darius Stone too at one point makes you smile.

Amongst other worthy scenes, okay, now I am drawing a blank.

If you are a huge Vin Diesel fan, you can still watch it.

You can buy xXx Return of Xander Cage from here:

The Final Verdict

xXx Return of Xander Cage is nothing but a fully flawed flick. If you are a diehard Vin Diesel fan, and are ready to accept him in every avatar he portrays, this movie might make you happy.

To be honest, nobody remembers the first XXX movie. Now when did that happen? 15 years ago! I was a kid back then and might have mistakenly considered Xander Cage to be cool.

So far Vin has been mighty successful in the Fast and Furious series. He should stick to that. Because at least the direction and story there weaves up something worth watching. It lets us digest all the nonsensical stunts.

You can check out the trailer of xXx Return of Xander Cage here:

Furious 7 Review (2015)

“For Paul”

Furious 7 is all about flying Lykan, shattered skyscrapers, mammoth bullets, Gatling rounds, super-amped destruction, relentless drone syndrome, Jaa’s Parkour, badass rides, skimpily clad models, exquisite close calls, death defying moments, Herculean jobs, mind numbing head-ons and badass action. This movie is an action-pack adrenaline pumping madness just like its predecessor. But does it have a great story? My answer would be a big No to that.

Wan unfortunately doesn’t have a good story in his baggage. What he still has is some dope action to exploit, and he manages to create insanity with that! Watch out for that insane car-dive and the skyscraper stunt! Most memorable ones! Humour shines fine by Tyrese Gibson’s presence, and he occasionally takes off the heat.

Furious 7 is thrilling throughout. Adrenaline keeps on pumping constantly. Destruction doesn’t stop. Cars keep getting totaled. Bullets fly in the air like flies. The flick has pretty great one-liners that are downright bad ass. Snappy and witty comebacks make the screenplay quite clever in a way. Dramatic bits are kind of average, but make a dash for awesomeness to pay some quality Pablo homage in the end.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

Statham makes a badass entry as Deckard Shaw into the lives of Furious guys with a dope fight with Hobbs. It is here we get to see that eye candy Rock Bottom that we have been waiting forever. Unfortunately he gets sidelined by an unconvincing side-story.

We already knew from the prequel, Shaw’s brother would be lurking in the shadows waiting to drop the chaotic bomb at Team Furious anytime. So he promised Dom via a phone call. And Bam! goes the ‘home’ in splinters with a sustained visual of 5-6 blasts occurring simultaneously that engulf the entire house. The predator calls for it and Dom gears up like a Daddy to teach him a lesson.

The entrance of Kurt Russell was so pathetic that it made us instantly hate him. I swear I saw perplexed people in the theatre wondering “Why?” out loud. Mr. Nobody’s addition to the tale was simply to weave two jobs that Dom could have lived without. Just so that he could find the hunter, he agrees to lick the candy Mr. Nobody was selling. But boy does it unroll into mind-numbing stunts! Skyscrapers hyperjump by the exotic Lykan hypersport would make your teeth turn into a nail clipper. Another pretty dope bit is the car sky-diving bit. Stunts like these ensure that the franchise isn’t dead yet. It will continue to flabbergast you, compel you to jump on your seat.

Unfortunately the screen time of Deckard Shaw is quite less, and he fails to create a villainy charm in the movie. He does pop up hither and thither to overthrow Dom’s plans but passes out weak as a very average forgettable villain. He looked puny compared to Dom fury.

The best thing however remains the show stopper – a perfect adieu to Paul. Final bits show Vin in pain, and you could almost read the tears that got masked by his acting. You could instantly comprehend and empathize with his loss. A series of flashbacks of Paul show up with Vin’s narration in the backdrop and your heart falls in a heavy pit. Such a big chunk tore away! You are left to ponder in tears. It was a great decision not to kill Pablo’s character. Giving him a respectful farewell from the franchise was really thoughtful.

In an action franchise like Fast and Furious, just remember you have to overlook everything. Logics are defied, Physics taps out to action, gravity stops working and time takes a hiatus for the protagonists. Just sit back and enjoy the action packed fun this movie promises to be and is. Be super-psyched and never forget Paul!