2Ω out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
extreme The Fast and Furious duo of Cohen and Diesel reteam for this non-stop action movie, bypassing the brain completely to go for the jugular with outrageous stunts and enough massive explosions to make Jerry Bruckheimer green with envy. The plot is a reject James Bond script, with a very slight backstory and reset in America.

The ex-con Xander Cage (Diesel) is a renegade publicity seeker, using extreme sports to make political points. (Did you spot the three X's in that sentence? Bingo!) So naturally he's recruited by NSA agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson--and yes, the name gets a laugh) to be an ultra secret spy, infiltrating the Czech hideout of a super-villain (Csokas) and his babe-a-licious sidekick Yelena (Argento).

The Bond connection is so complete that the Broccoli family could probably sue. X is a loyal agent who flouts the rules at every chance. Gibbons is the M figure--suave, calm and collected, and always appearing in the right place at the right time. Yelena is the bad girl who falls into a clinch with the hero. There are girls in bikinis all over the place. And there's even a Q character in goofy gadget expert Shavers (Roof).

The acting is as paper thin as the plot ... that is to say, it services the film by holding things together just enough to carry us to the next action set piece. And there are plenty of those, with stunt work that makes your head spin, even if it's all so contrived and unreal that we never even remotely feel a twinge of tension. Everything explodes into a massive ball of flames for no reason at all. And this overblown fakery makes it impossible to buy into the film at any level. Especially with characters and situations that are so badly underdeveloped.

The main difference is that this film lacks the sophisticated humour and absurdity that makes Agent 007's adventures so involving and visceral. All of the laughs here are unintentional; the feeble attempts at humour are thrown away. And while it's definitely watchable drivel, continuous kinetic energy without any suspense is pretty boring, really.

cert 12 themes, violence, language 12.Sep.02

dir Rob Cohen
scr Rich Wilkes
with Vin Diesel, Samuel L Jackson, Asia Argento, Marton Csokas, Michael Roof, Eve, Petr Jakl, Jan Pavel Filipensky, Danny Trejo, Tom Everett, Thomas Ian Griffith, Richy Muller
release US 9.Aug.02; UK 17.Oct.02
02/US 2h04

Buff to the max. Extreme ex-con Xander (Diesel) becomes Secret Agent XXX and saves the world. Sigh!

diesel jackson argento csokas

XXX 2 (2005) XXX 3 (2017)

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... extreme "After finally seeing The Fast and the Furious on cable, I had to see this movie. It is an interesting movie - lots of action, lots of blowing things up, shooting things up, racing an avalanche down a mountainside ... lots of action. Not a GREAT movie, it will never get an Academy Award, unless they give one for the most things blown up. But it is a fun and LOUD movie. The stunts are cool and scary looking, the plot is the typical save-the-world, Diesel is the only guy who can do it, and the good guys respect him in the end. This movie keeps you going, and the stunts are fun to watch. The plot is secondary, only barely gets in the way of all the stunt scenes. If you want to see cool stunts and lots of action, go see this movie." --Laurie T, Minneapolis 30.Aug.02
© 2002 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall