Action packed!! Guns, fighting, women, danger.. and Vin Diesel!
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Best of the summer blockbusters, to date.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 09/25/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"XXX (Rob Cohen, 2002)Here's a surprise: Rob Cohen, whose The Fast and the Furious was not only one of the biggest surprise hits of 2001 but also by far the biggest of Cohen's career, teams up again with Vin Diesel. The major lineup change here is the addition of screenwriter Rich Wilkes. Anyone familiar with the name should be ready to crawl under their seats right about now; Wilkes has been responsible in the past for such deathless cinematic fare as The Jerky Boys and The Stoned Age.Whatever Cohen did to Wilkes, though, he did it right. XXX is absolutely typical run-of-the-mill shut-your-brain-off spy movie fare, so cut from the cloth of James Bond that the opening scene of the film features a nameless tuxedoed secret agent getting shot in the middle of a Rammstein concert. Cohen and Diesel threw down the gauntlet from the get-go to Albert Broccoli and Co. (and if the trailers for the new Bond film are anything to go by, "Bond"'s death at the beginning of this film is most welcome. Actually, it probably should have come after A View to a Kill. But let's not be petty.)XXX goes right into the wonderful world of Bond starting soon after, including a scientist/weapons geek (relative newcomer Michael Roof, last seen in Black Hawk Down), a number of fabulous one-liners, and the most beautiful women in Hollywood falling at his feet, in this case Asia Argento. (Asia fans take note: you won't see nearly as much of her, in any respect, as you did in b.Monkey. Grieve now.)So what is it about XXX that makes it the best of the big-budget summer films? The movie does exactly what it promises. You go into XXX looking for a mindless action movie, and you get a mindless action movie. Diesel is one of Hollywood's hottest properties right now, Cohen is finally hitting his stride after two decades of failed attempts to be deep and meaningful, Wilkes wrote a script that actually contains some humor, and the three of them will be back together again for the sequel in 2004.Eighteen films from now, hopefully, someone will shoot Xander Cage in the middle of a Rammstein concert, and there will be a new superspy. Until then, sit back and enjoy the ride. *** ½"
Ultimate Popcorn Movie, and As Such It Works Well
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 11/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"[Actually, my rating is 3.5 though I liked it pretty much.]Contrary to many reviewers, I went to see "XXX" just to see Asia Argento, daughter of famous horror maestro Dario. Of course, I knew Vin Diesel and Sam Jackson, and a greta fan of the latter. Also, I have seen Vin's great sci-fi thriller "Pitch Black," but to me, she is the one to see.Anyway, "XXX" proved two following things; Vin Diesel is the action star of the next generation (another candidate is, probably, the Rock), and his name will be much more famous than he is now. (Actually while I was watching Serie A games, Italian football games on cable TV, his name was shown extensively in the ads on the ground.) He deserves much attention from us, and his metoric rise of career surely comes from his charisma, which can be easily seen in this otherwise OK action film. The plot of "XXX" about the instant-made spy with 'I-am-BAAAAAD' attitude is not new. Sam Jackson's role as a reluctant boss handling the most desperate case of international terrorism (and this hopeless novice spy) seems, or is, too clithed. But Vin Diesel fits so well in the key role of Xander Cage, most daredevil extreme sports expert, that no one cares many plot holes there, or the stunts and explosions obviously helped greatly by CGIs.The other thing "XXX" shows is that, like many other James Bond films, the female parts are less effectively used. Asia Argento, herself already having made a long career as an actress and even a director (this part of career she and Vin Diesel both share), plays Yelena, a mystrious girl from Russia, standing next to the mastermind of the secret organization 'Anarchy 99" which contemplates something, but you soon realize the truth about her and her identity. Like any 'Bond Girl' you pick, she is there to help and love the hero, and maybe she should be so. But I wanted more from her part, just all right as it is. Hyper-actions galore (on the rousing chase scenes on the river, on the snow-capped mountains, and even on the stairs of Prague ... the last one using some unique thing for skateboard), "XXX" delivers as much as any action flick fans expect. However, it is not the Bond-like gimmicks or action scenes that attract you most. It is Vin Diesel, whose unexpectedly soft eyes betray that this guy cannot be really evil. And the film finally proves that. That is what we call predictable, but in this case, Vin's presence barely makes you forget the fact."
Rated XXX-Not Suitable For Anyone!
M. Bartfeld | Tamarac, Fl United States | 01/01/2003
(1 out of 5 stars)
"With last year's 'Fast and The Furious' and now 'XXX' Director Rob Cohen and his team have come up with a new kind of movie franchise; take some bad acting, sophmoric dialouge, surround them with a heavy metal soundtrack, a lot of special effects and tired stunts and hope for the best.....Vin Diesel was fine in supporting roles in "Boiler Room" and "Saving Private Ryan" but he ain't no James Bond, and as an action superstar in "XXX" he displays as much charisma as yesterday's bed of lettuce.Even the great Samuel J. Jackson is crippled by the deadly screenplay..you can almost hear him saying to himself "let me get my check and get the hell out of here"...The DVD is loaded with special features, but when a movie is this bad, it's kind of like puttting a Lexus hood ornament on a Dodge Dart."
"xXx" the review and why I loved it
Tsuyoshi | 08/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let me first tell ya why I loved this movie. I really enjoy Vin's other movies. I liked him in "The Iron Giant" (HE WAS THE ROBOT!!), "Pitch Black" (supposed to be filming the sequel right now), "The Fast and the Furious" (must I explain?!?) and his dramatic role in "Boiler Room" totally made him an actor to watch. I enjoyed his really sharp witted, sarcastic humor. This is a movie that I will be owning on the day it comes out on DVD (hopefully a 2-disc DVD is in the works with 5.1 EX surround and hours of bonus footage). There's enough action to make any Arnold fan happy, but guess what, VIN IS WAY BETTER! Now for my short review:Xander "xXx" Cage is a daring, extreme athlete who is chosen by the NSA to go to Russia and find out information about some people. But what he finds out is very dangerous. I also loved Asia Argento's (she needs to be in more American movies, she is already a hit in her native Italy) performance in this movie. She added a kinda Lara Croft-type girl presence to the movie. I wish there was a PlayStation 2 game in the works so I could play every single moment of this exciting movie. But for now we have to play a GameBoy Advance game, which I'm sure is okay. This is a great movie none the less. The soundtrack is great (look out for an appearance by Rammstein in the beginning, plus look out for Tony Hawk) check this movie out!"
Vin Diesel Cannot Act, Rob Cohen Cannot Direct
Patrick A. Hayden | Arlington, VA United States | 12/30/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
""xXx" can be summed up in four words: "Joylessly Over The Top". It is easily the dumbest movie I have seen in a long career of enjoying dumb movies, and that's saying A LOT. I liked "Deep Rising", for God's sake. You all know the story: Extreme Sports maverick Xander "XXX" Cage is given a choice by the government: Work as a secret agent, or go to prison for life. He chooses option A. And so this train wreck of a movie begins. Lets start with the story. As a dumb action movie, I am inclined to ignore the gaping plot holes and let myself enjoy the action. This is allowed in most dumb movies. However, you need some convincing performances or at least some good lines to make this forgiveable. "xXx" has none of these, save a good turn by Samuel L. Jackson as Diesel's recruiter and contact in the NSA. Now, the NSA has no field agents in real life. The only people they recruit are number crunchers who can sift through encripted data and listen in on conversations. And they certainly don't have the kind of secret weapons cache like the one Diesel gets in this flick. At least Bond film have the good sense to make him MI-6, a real British spy agency that MIGHT have stuff like the gear Bond gets. Why not make the agency the CIA? I mean, at least the CIA has operatives. I don't know why this bothered me so much, but perhaps it's because I've read books on the subject and the stupidity of Hollywood is getting to me. Anyway, Back to Samuel L. He's always good, but in this movie he is only serviceable. Still, compared to Vin Diesel, Jackson turns in a performance of Shakesperean power. Diesel is that bad in these scenes. I was actually embarrassed for him when I saw him act alongside Jackson. Ah-nold would make a more convincing Hamlet than Diesel does in this role. Of course, when he's along other bad actors like Asia Argento(Generic Female Counterpart) and Marton Csokas(Generic Russian Bad Guy), he seems serviceable. The movie would have been better if they had cast, say, Eric Roberts in the Jackson role, since he can't act either. At least than Vin wouldn't look lost in his scenes with him. The plot is neo-Bond with a techno/metal soundtrack, in which a group called "Anarchy 99" plans to wipe out a whole bunch of people using toxic gas and a lame submarine. Vin has to infiltrate them and stop them. Why the US government would send an untried agent against these guys is never explained, as nothing Diesel does couldn't have been done with someone they gave a deep background to. Despite the opening scene, where a Bond-lookalike gets offed, the government actually trains operatives to infiltrate groups like this. On to the direction. Rob Cohen proved with "The Fast and the Furious" that he is a heavily incompetent action director(Forget acting. Anyone who heard Diesel perform the line "I live my life a quarter mile at a time" in that mess knows Cohen can't direct actors). The digital scenes in "Furious" looked awful, and they look awful here as well. The action is blown over the top in an attempt to make up fot the shoddy directing. With the exception of one memorable scene involving the destruction of a corvette, everything in "xXx" is uninvolving and unoriginal. Hence the tern "joyless". It's all a technical excercise. There is no sense of danger, as Diesel is apparently able to do 18 things at once and never appears at risk. Cohen should be locked away for his many crimes against cinema.All in all, I hated this movie(could you tell?). I wanted my money back. I want Vin Diesel to stick to roles like Riddick in "Pitch Black", where his dialouge is minimal. Avoid buying this one and pick up an old Bond movie or even the flawed but interesting "Minority Report". You'll thank yourself later."