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xXx: Return of Xander Cage was never going to be a critically acclaimed film, that’s for sure. The franchise has never been known for producing great films but they are known for making good action films. This is essentially what this film is, a good action film but nothing more than that.

Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage after sitting the last film out (in which Ice Cube took his place), he’s still tatted up and extreme as ever as he is introduced to us in a daring skiing and skateboarding montage. We are being sent a clear message: xXx is back. Cage is recruited by Jane Marke (Toni Collette), a pouty and mannequin like agent whose every line comes out in a bored, monotone voice. She enlists him and a team of his choosing (much to her chagrin) to retrieve ‘Pandora’s Box’, a device that controls the world’s satellites, if the box is activated, satellites drop from the sky and hit earth. It’s not the best plot in the world, but what were we expecting here?

Serena (Deepika Padukone) and Xander (Vin Diesel) re-enacting a scene from Macklemore's 'Thrift Shop' video

Serena (Deepika Padukone) and Xander (Vin Diesel) re-enacting a scene from Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ video

Cage’s team consists of Adele (Ruby Rose) who essentially operates as his personal sniper, Rose is perfect for a movie like this and I look forward to seeing her in John Wick: Chapter 2 this February. The rest of his team include tech geek, Becky who is played by The Vampire Diaries star, Nina Dobrev. Becky acts as the comic relief and often has the best lines in the film. There are two other team members but they were extremely forgettable so I’m simply not going to list them.

Their opposing team consists of Xiang (Donnie Yen), Serena (Deepika Padukone) and Talon (Tony Jaa). Xiang and Serena were my favourite characters from the film as they both had such screen appeal. Donnie Yen’s fighting style is impeccable (he trained at the same academy as Jet Li) and he may be familiar to audiences as the star of Ip Man, another martial arts film.

Xiang, Xander and Serena have an exceptional game of 'hot grenade'

Xiang, Xander and Serena have an exceptional game of ‘hot grenade’

This is essentially the selling point of the film, the fighting. Many of the stunts seem beyond the realm of reality as most of the jumps, kicks and other explosions would have broken legs ten times over and rendered the characters useless. However, Xander is an extreme sports athlete so we have to take these scenes with a pinch of salt even though the absurdity of it all does take away the magic of a screen fight. I knew that the film would be entertaining and it was, I wasn’t checking the clock every 20 minutes and I could sit through it and enjoy it for what it was.

Overall, xXx: Return of Xander Cage is an entertaining action film with some hyper stylized fight sequences and fun quips that tops its predecessors. However, Vin Diesel should stick to his tried and tested formula in Fast and Furious.

5/10

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Posted by Abigail Remmer

I'm Abigail, I am currently studying Film and English and managing the Entertainment section at The Demon. I specialise in World Cinema and Film Economics but I am often to be found writing about superheroes and sci-fi nonsense.

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