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<Movie Details
Review
28 February 2013

You can imagine the pitch meeting - how do we make a movie for a teenage male audience?

Extreme sports? Check. Spies? Check. Guns and explosions? Check. An anti-authoritarian hero? Check. Nu metal soundtrack? Check. Car chases? Check. And, of course, scantily-clad eye candy?

All present and correct. Yes, it's a 13-year-old boy's wet dream.

Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is the extreme sports nut who is introduced to us when he steals a senator's car and makes the ultimate base-jump using said car.

The authorities eventually catch up and he's facing a lengthy prison term until spy guru Samuel L Jackson offers him a way out - infiltrate a terrorist group called Anarchy 99 who operate out of Prague and recently offed one of Jackson's agents.

Their leader, Yorgi (Csokas) - who looks like a cross between Ricky Gervais from TV's The Office and perma-tanned Riverdancer Michael Flatley - has been swotting up on his book of James Bond villainy, and plans to wipe out various capitals across the globe using a mini-submarine armed with biological weapons.

 

Anyway, after an unorthodox series of tests, Cage (aka Agent xXx) arrives in Prague and, with the plot now out of the way, the action begins.

If it moves it can be blown up. If it doesn't move, it can be blown up anyway.

This is a real foot-to-the-floor ride and the film lays down a serious challenge to Mr Bond with a series of ever more outlandish stunts.

Witness the best ever use of a tea tray as a vehicle, and this year's most exhilarating action sequence when (as shown in the trailers) xXx snowboards away from an avalanche.

It's the first action sequence that I've seen an audience applaud since the fight scenes in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

xXx somehow manages to have its cake and eat it - mocking the Bond films while at the same time paying homage.

Another reason for xXx's success is the casting. Vin Diesel struts his way through the movie, pausing only to offer a one-liner as required, while Samuel L Jackson does the mentor expositionary role.

Special mention, though, must go to the casting of Asia "Daughter of Dario" Argento.

With the possible exception of Diesel's The Fast And The Furious co-star, Michelle Rodriguez, it's impossible to imagine another actress capable of this amount of sneering and sexiness - creating a mix of lust and sheer unadulterated fear in the male members of the audience.

At the end of the day, xXx is a big, dumb movie with a big, bald, buffed hero - switch off your brain and you'll have a wonderful ride.

Of course the ball is now in James Bond's court...

Adrian Zak