xXx [Unrated, Uncensored Director’s Cut] (2002): Breakdown by Rantbo
What if James Bond was a self-righteous, extreme sports junkie douche-bag? Wait, allow me to rephrase the question—What if James Bond was an American?
There is another dimension of action, beyond that which is known to grown men. It is a dimension as empty as space and as inconceivable as infinity. It is the middle ground between acceptable and unwatchable, between suspension of disbelief and utter lunacy, and it lies between the pit of a movie goers’ fears and the summit of their pop culture knowledge. This is the dimension of mediocrity. It is an area which we call—The Xander Zone.
When the death toll of American spies reaches an unacceptable high (one), NSA agent Samuel L. Scarface decides it’s time for a new approach to our national security: Douche Bags.
Yes, thrill-seeking, adrenaline addicted, criminal douche bags. An educated, rational, sure fire answer. And Vin Diesel is the head of the class and natural choice to save the world from the threat of an international terrorist ring of Eurotrash anarchists.
And yes, I do realize how frequently I have and will use the term “douche”, and all it’s numerous variations. But I do so for good reason, which is: xXx is a Rob Cohen joint, starring Vin Diesel. And personally, I can think of no better word to describe this movie, it’s characters, the director, and headline actor. I mean, just look at him…
What a fuckin’ douchebag! And I like Diesel! Or, at least I used to—once. Back in 2000 when PITCH BLACK came out. Since then though, I can’t seem to think of a single reason to continue any semblance of respect. OK, so CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK wasn’t completely awful (the Director’s cut) and he did do a pretty good job in FIND ME GUILTY, but COME ON! Wasn’t this guy supposed to be the next big action hero!? What happened? I’ll tell you—xXx, THE PACIFIER and BABYLON A.D.—three strikes you’re out, Vinny.
Back to the topic of strike one: xXx. A film so ridiculously stupid, it borders on ludicrous. An action film made purely for 12 year old boys. And as I am not one, nor was I when this was originally released, I have to say I’m not a fan. Though, to it’s credit, xXx is everything a young impressionable American youth could ask for—now with tits. With a cool (to a 12 yr-old) lead character, references to video games, rebellious anti-authority hijinks, extreme sports makeover, TRL-esque guest appearances and loud obnoxious—everything, what kid wouldn’t like this movie? You could argue one with taste, but I’m not going there.
This film is the definition of “product of the times” and while it was mildly entertaining back in ‘02, it borders on unwatchable now that many of the fads have moved on and I have matured past a teenage mindset. Well, mostly… I do retain the right to achieve a cheap thrill upon seeing titties in bad action movies. However fun, the brief added nudity didn’t even come close to justifying my purchase of the “Director’s Cut” dvd, as Cohen also opted to put back a scene of X on a commercial airliner talking to a fat kid about his mission under the guise of videogame allegories. Yeah, that’s WAY better than more, better action. Man, fuck Rob Cohen AND this movie. I’d recommend it only for Diesel completists, douche-bag r-tards and cinematic masochists. If this isn’t you, you’re gonna have a bad time. You’ve been warned.
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
Vin Diesel is Xander Cage
Dangerous, dirty, tattooed, uncivilized.
Xander Cage, or “X” as his friends, the likes of which include Tony Hawk AND Matt Hoffman, choose to call him, is the bane of conservative white men across the nation. What with his penchant for extreme sports, fps video games and rap music all harbored within his large tattooed muscles, Hot Topic décor and10 lbs of bling… X is simply a giant walking, talking middle finger to the man.
And it’s really quite pathetic. Self awareness of his faux badassness goes painfully unnoticed by both character and actor, which I attribute to the fact that any ‘to his face’ ridicule would surely be met with a gorilla punch to the messenger’s human sized face. And fuck that noise. There are much safer assholes to openly mock. And thus the continued glorious fail that are Vin Diesel and his characters.
Though physically impressive and intimidating, Cage just can’t seem to resist from fucking it all up by opening his massive mouth and spewing from it non-stop goofy insults, douchie wisdom and general parental approved lingo most public school kids stop using once puberty hits. And while his CG/green-screen stunts with parachutes, dirt bikes and snowboards are somewhat amusing, it’s only in an unintentionally comedic way and the same could be said for his “skills” with the ladies. In short, he’s simply embarrassing.
[THE BODY COUNT: 60+ HUMANS and 10 RODENTS]
X gonna give it to ya! Well, kinda. During the course of the overlong film, Cage manages to take out a just OK, 12 Russian pig-dogs with his various shootings, explosions and avalanches. His main sexual interest takes out three of her own and Team Scarface rack up around 14. As for the baddies, Anarchy 99 leader Yorgi snuffs out 20 humans and 10 mice with some poison gas and his cronies rack up another 10 or so police officers in a lair-raid late in the third act. Plus there are untold dozens that may or may not have perished in the ridiculous and explosively gratuitous drug cartel explosion-fest in act one. So, all-in-all, it’s more than I remembered and expected.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
The Superman Shootout
This scene was runner-up for Epic moment, but since xXx wastes some fucking rando in the process of such horrifying stupidity, I knew I could have my cake and eat it too. Really, the picture says it all. I have no need to explain the choice.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Aside from his obvious sexually suggestive moniker, xXx is one impressive slab of beef with his rippling inked pectorals, fully loaded biceps and a large, thick sweaty round—head. BUT, it’s also heavily insinuated that he sleeps with two different and attractive women. So what little there was is negated.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
After getting in good with the anarchist d-bags, X is given a gift in the form of a high priced whore, which he greedily excepts by paying homage to Bond with the line, “The things I’m going to do for my country.” That’s right, the “things”. If that’s not objectification, I don’t know what is. Sure, one could argue the point that by saying “things” X means acts of sexual degradation and not the women he’ll all but force himself upon as his stint as a secret agent. But really, even if that’s the case, is that much better?
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
[flashvideo filename=videos/xXx.avi.FLV /]
Yeah—OK… I think I should point out that that clip wasn’t re-edited. That’s exactly the way it appears in the film. X is riding the bike, he pulls up on the handlebars and next thing you know—he’s 50+ feet in the air. No ramp necessary. Take THAT cognitive filmmaking!
Ivan: Stop! He [a sniper] has us pinned down.
xXx: You have a bazooka! Dude, stop thinking Prague police and start thinking PlayStation…
“Blow shit up!”
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
“If you’re going to send someone to save the world, make sure they like it the way it is.” Also, if you’re going to send someone to “jumpstart” the action-spy genre, best not pick the guy that made DAYLIGHT and THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS.
[THE CHECKLIST: 19 outta 25]
[ ] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor”
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[ ] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[X] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel*
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[X] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[X] Manly Embrace(s)
[ ] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[X] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[X] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[X] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[ ] Torture Sequence(s)
[X] Unnecessary Sequel [xXx: State Of The Union]
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
xXx (2002) © Revolution Studios and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment