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xXx 2: The Next Level Review

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by AVForums Aug 16, 2008 at 12:00 AM

    xXx 2: The Next Level Review

    Not being a huge fan of sequels, I was somewhat surprised when xXx: The Next Level (aka The Sate Of The Union) was announced. When a sequel is made, it's normally because the first film was good enough to justify it in the first place - plus it makes sense if all the cast members come back for continuity reason. The fact the first xXx was mediocre by any stretch of the imagination was reason enough to can the idea of a sequel straight away - then when the leading man from that film states his intention not to make another, anybody in their right mind would have torn up any script, and put the idea to bed. Not so Lee Tamahori - the director that killed off James Bond as we knew it was let loose on another special agent franchise - would the results be any different? Or would Tamahori redeem himself to some extent and keep xXx on the rails...?


    As I already said, Vin Diesel made it clear that he wasn't interested in making another xXx movie so the lead character had to be replaced - step forward Ice Cube, star of some pretty poor movies in the past. However, his CV isn't all bad - it does contain Three Kings and Boyz In The Hood. But as an action movie star, Cube was pretty much untried and tested when he stepped into the Vin mans shoes...


    xXx: The Next Level sees Samuel L Jackson return as Captain Augustus Gibbons. He is a NSA agent in charge of special ops. He's top man, code name xXx, has been killed in action and their underground lair has just been attacked by terrorists. Gibbons knows just the man - Darius Stone (Cube) - an ex Lieutenant of his from back in his army days. Problem is, Stone is serving hard time for something that happened the two. So, rather than pull some NSA type strings to get him out of prison, they plan a prison break that involves helicopters and all sorts. All in the name of the action movie. Stone takes on the xXx codename and recruits all sorts of criminals from the 'hood in his fight against the terrorists. Peter Strauss plays an ageing President of The United States oblivious to the fact that his Secretary Of State For defence, Willem Dafoe is plotting to take him down big time during his State Of The Union speech (hence the US title for the film) because he wants to embrace countries seen as enemies as allies.. Believe me, I haven't given anything away telling you that Dafoe is the bad guy - if he had turned up wearing his Green Goblin costume or a T shirt with “Bad Guy within” on, it wouldn't have been more obvious.

    And then there's Ice Cube. If anybody was born not to play an action hero, it was the iceman himself. At least 20 pounds overweight, he huffs and puffs his way through stunt after stunt - each one less believable than the last. How a man his size could dive through the air, seem to defy physics by gaining momentum whilst in the air to grab the skid of a helicopter is just ludicrous - even in this type of film.


    Director Lee Tamahori is renowned in the movie world for nearly bringing to an end a 40 year franchise when he murdered the James Bond film Die Another Day. He brings with him the same visual effects team that ruined that film - and the effects are worse in this film. So bad in fact that they make the majority of the film look like a video game. The High definition picture on this disc just makes them look worse. The bullet train sequence is almost laughable in it's execution.


    So - do I actually have anything decent to report back on from my 97 minutes in the company of Mr Cube and friends? No I don't I'm afraid. To make matters worse, the film is full of rap music that just wants to take centre stage. It entwines itself with the sound effects during one of the many action scenes and makes the soundtrack almost unbearable.

    I'm sorry - but I find it hard to recommend this film to even my worst enemies. But remember - this is only my opinion...

    The Rundown


    4
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10