Film Review: xXx: Return of Xander Cage

by Evan Brown

Rated M. Starring Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette. Directed by D.J. Caruso.

With 2017 dubbed as the year of the sequel, it didn’t take long before xXx: Return of Xander Cage hit our screens. The extreme athlete turned government spy is back from the dead for the third instalment of the xXx franchise. Cage (Diesel) has his skateboard, his parachute and his guns and is ready to take down the bad guys again with his gnarly-carefree-whatever attitude (kinda like The Simpsons’ Poochie the Dog).

This time he’s got a full-on star studded team of extreme sports enthusiasts to help him recover a digital device known as ‘Pandora’s Box’ which has the ability to turn any satellite orbiting the world into a nuclear bomb. Coincidentally, it was stolen by another group of bodacious extreme sport extremists. How convenient!

This plot may sound very extreme and I am very aware that I’ve used the word extreme multiple times in this review already but that’s what it is – extreme, and this is what director D.J Caruso (Eagle Eye, I Am Number Four) wants you to feel. Xander Cage feels like a red bull short film – you know those 30 minute videos that play on loop at your local ski or skate shop? A constant bombardment of different action sports scenes one after the other and that’s cool if that is what you’re expecting. But with a name like xXx, could you be expecting anything less?

The plot is simple and the script is even simpler but there are lots of explosions and lots of extreme sport action. Remember those Steven Segal and Arnold Schwarzenegger action films back in the 80s? You knew that they weren’t going to have West Wing-esque sophistication in their script or plot line but you also knew that there would be a lot of explosions and fights. Perhaps xXx is not an homage to these 80s action films but it is reminiscent.

Although I appreciated the fact that Xander Cage didn’t try to be anything more than it suggested, the constant glorification of extreme action sports bugged me a little. It promotes the idea that life is not worth living unless it is done 100% on the edge.

The value of life shouldn’t come from living life on the edge but through Jesus. Jesus says, in John 10:10:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”

Whilst there are many Christians today that partake in extreme sports (I am one of them) this value of life is insignificant in comparison to life experienced by the Father through the Son!

The Verdict: xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a fast-paced action film with a never-ending barrage of ridiculous stunts. What you see is what you get. If you go in expecting a fast paced extreme sport action film you won’t be disappointed. 2/5

xXx: Return of Xander Cage releases in cinemas in Australia and the USA this week.

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