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With Jim Sabatini


XXX Return of Xander Cage

XXX Return of Xander Cage
Starring:
Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padrone and Samuel L. Jackson


Rated: PG-13 for extended sequences of gunplay and violent action, and for sexual material and language.
Reviewed by: Matt  
Release date: January 20, 2017 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation

XXX: The Return of Xander Cage is the third installment of the XXX franchise.  The film follows, as the title so clearly states, the return of Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) after he was presumed dead in the second film (off screen).  The Film also stars Donnie Yen as Xiang and Deepika Padrone as Serena Unger.  The film is all about Xander Cage being called back into duty after the director/recruiter of the XXX program, Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson), is killed by a crashed satellite.  It is discovered though that the satellite was hacked and was used like a missile and now it is up to Xander and his crew to go after Xiang, who now possesses the device after stealing it, and retrieve the device.  

This is a sequel I can honestly say I never wanted.  In fact, when this film was announced I had forgotten that this was even the third film in its franchise.  All of that saying, I didn't really have high expectations for this film.  And despite this low bar the film never even came close.  The characters are poorly written especially the titular character Xander Cage.  He was bland and despite trying to act charismatic he never actually was.  The only standout in the film was Samuel L. Jackson, who always plays a fun character, but he was in the film for all of 3 minutes so he's barely worth mentioning.  But all of these things could've been overlooked if the movie gave me some good action, something you come to expect from a film staring Vin Diesel.  However, this is not the case.  The action was so over the top and cliched that it was actually boring to watch.  It felt like the film was trying to impress but after the 5th death defying stunt I grew completely numb to it.  The action choreography was borderline laughable at times as they pulled nearly every cliche out of the books in order to create their scenes.

For what it is worth though this movie felt like it was trying to be a throw back to the older 80's action films but it just falls flat.  You only need to look at how The Expendables did it and realize that this film never really could stack up.  But, to give the film some credit, it did match the tone from the original but at this point that wasn't good enough.  Fans of the series will probably like it but everyone else will just be bored with it.  This is one you can definitely skip at the theaters.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Nina Matt Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
XXX Return of Xander Cage  C      D+   C+      C-            C 

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