Back in 2002, not too long after Vin Diesel was flipping cars and girls in the first entry in his most profitable and obnoxiously never ending franchise ever (Fast and the Furious), Diesel starred in a generic, average action flick of the week called “xXx.” It featured Samuel L. Jackson hiring Diesel’s Xander Cage as a sort of supped up criminal rehabilitation program; using the worst of the worst to do the CIA’s down and dirty work. Diesel didn’t stick around long enough for a sequel, so the company went ahead and made “xXx: State of the Union” without him; starring Ice Cube in his place. It was a sequel no one asked for and no one bothered to see or remember existing. That seemed like the final nail in this C grade action hero franchise; that is until a new movie was released…12 freaking years later.

Returning from his apparent exile/death, Xander Cage (Diesel) gets called back into duty by new xXx program director Mark (Toni Collette) when a deadly weapon is unleashed that can drop satellites down onto the planet with the push of a button. Cage and his crack team of ass kickers and bad ass babes aren’t the only ones after it though; uber warrior master Xiang (Donnie Yen) is also after the gadget. Now it’s a race between two teams of crazed crooks, adrenaline junkies and crack shots; all mixed in with a government conspiracy that puts every xXx agent in jeopardy. Despite the fact that “Fast and the Furious” came out before the original “xXx”, if someone had told me that “Return of Xander Cage” was actually “Fast and the Furious 9”, I doubt I would have not been able to tell the difference. This film was brain dead on arrival.

“xXx” was never setting any new standards for realistic action movies, but it certainly wasn’t as utterly pointless and meaningless as this film. Diesel’s so called “return” hardly feels like it’s any different or worthwhile than anything else he’s done in literally EVERY OTHER “Furious” film he’s been crapping out like cinematic diarrhea. “Return” is just an over extended MTV music video; flashing half naked girls, flipping cars, gun toting celebrities and force feeding you enough action down your throat that you’ll choke, pass out and die before you even realize there is absolutely no plot amongst all this testosterone flavored garbage.

This is all bangs without a single bullet; just flash and smoke and disappointment from beginning to end. No effort was put into the story or the characters, and actually, it’s quite laughable to even call this walking-talking clichés characters. The film is full of people who have stereotypical gimmicks (crazy getaway driver, hot computer expert, obviously shady government agent who-is-so-obviously-the-villain-anyone-with-functioning-eyes-and-ears-can-tell). Lots of sequels get made unnecessarily but I always usually find something interesting or enjoyable about them to make their long awaited arrival at least somewhat worth it (Zoolander 2, Bad Santa 2 etc.) But no one asked for the xXx sequel back in 2005 and after 12 years, nothing’s changed. This looks, feels and sounds like it was made as a cheap means of duplicating the success Diesel has had with the “Furious” franchise.

Even worst, the film brings in these absurdly, cartoonish Bond-esque sci-fi gadgets to make the film’s truck load of action scenes even more outlandish and eye grabbing. The only upside to this film is that it’s definitely not boring. The assault of action sequences keeps you stunned for so long, before you know it, the movie’s already over and you can finally plug your brain back in to fully contemplate how insufferably stupid every frame and line of this movie was. “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” acts like this is the family reunion, big comeback everyone was waiting for. But no one asked for this, no one wanted it except studio executives and the actors. It’s a party everyone was sick of 15 years ago and exclusively appeals to the lowest entertainment denominator imaginable. This is basically “Fast and Furious 9.0”, if you love that franchise or Vin Diesel in general than this is the film for you, but if not, no affordable ticket price is worth experiencing the insultingly low IQ this movie proudly displays.

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