xXx Return Of Xander Cage: Australian Review

Image: Supplied

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is the most ridiculous, lightning-paced, borderline-unintentionally hilarious movie I've seen in as long as I can remember.

Warning: this review is spoiler free, but does contain far more pure, unabashed joy than anyone could reasonably expect from a cheesy spy film critique.

Directed by D.J Caruso (Disturbia, I Am Number Four), xXx is the kind of series you're definitely not supposed to take too seriously. Everything from the soundtrack to the dialogue and it's oh-so brilliant delivery ensures the tone is set from the outset.

In case you haven't been following the trailers as closely as I was, here's the basic rundown of what's going on plot-wise: ex-extreme athlete Xander Cage (played by Vin Diesel - side note, go play Vin Diesel Is Your DM, you won't regret it) is on a mission from Intelligence official Jane Merke, played by Toni Collete (who unfortunately seems to be the only actor not in on the joke). That mission is to save the world, of course, from a new weapon called Pandora's Box.

Along the way he encounters a new enemy and his crew in Xiang (the unstoppable Donnie Yen, who totally steals the show, because of course he does) and Cage builds himself a new xXx team to help him overcome both challenges at the same time because multi-tasking is his jam.

Deepika Padukone is brilliantly badass as Serena Unger, Nina Dobrev's hilariously geeky Becky Clearidge is basically Annie from Community meets Q from 007 (in the best possible way) and Ruby Rose is at her most watchable as sharpshooter Adele Wolff - even if her jokes are the groan-worthiest of the bunch. Oh and in case you're wondering, Return of Xander Cage smashes the bechdel test.

Now let's move on to the two main things to know before you hit the cinema:

1. Everything is so very unnecessary

I need to make it clear that this is not a criticism. In fact, it is one of xXx: Return of Xander Cage's great strengths. Far from predictable, you never have any idea what is going to happen next. Wait, I take that back - you do know what is going to happen next, and it's the most absurdly awesome option available.

Why walk when you can glide? Why jump when you can frontflip? Why run when you can ski? These are the questions xXx answers with a huge "hell yeah!" and the result is a massive number of ludicrous stunts jammed into the hour and a half of non-stop action. There a million ways every single thing in this movie could have been achieved in a less complex, simpler and not-as-flashy way, but it's like that wasn't even an option. It's genuinely glorious.

Between xXx and John Wick, stunt people are getting a resurgence in Hollywood, and I'm all for it.

2. Nothing works like that

You know when you're watching a film that is pretty spot on with technical elements, then one thing just throws it off? Like a giant "hacking" loading bar across a screen, or NCIS-style double keyboard typing?

xXx: Return Of Xander Cage avoids this being an issue simply by making everything in the movie not the way it works in real life. Scenes that would make my blood boil in any other franchise somehow gets a free pass and even elicits those deep, genuine belly laughs that happen so rarely in more traditional comedies.

Computers? Make something up. Satellites? How do you think they might work, just write that down. Bulletproof vests, motorbikes, DJ decks, government agencies, physics? Ppft.

The result is a non-stop, fast paced return for the serious that decided spy movies should never be a meticulously detailed snooze-fest. I loved this film, I really did. It won't be winning any Academy Awards, but it's not supposed to. This film is designed to entertain, and nothing more. As far as I'm concerned, and judging by the countless laugh out loud moments and genuine cheers elicited in the cinema, xXx: Return of Xander Cage achieved its goal.

I challenge you to walk out of the cinema without a smile on your face.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is in Australian cinemas from today.

Trending Stories Right Now