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A staggeringly senseless sequel leaves its brain at the door of streaming supremacy

Big, loud, very stupid, but kinda fun.

xxx return of xander cage
via Paramount

When it comes to movies that are so unrelentingly stupid they actually turn out to be kinda fun, there are few better examples to come along in the last few years than xXx: Return of Xander Cage.

15 years after first throwing on the fake tattoos and oversized fur coat of the title hero in the spy blockbuster created exclusively for the nu-metal generation, Vin Diesel returned to try and rehabilitate a franchise that was effectively nuked by Ice Cube taking over for sequel State of the Union, which flopped disastrously with both critics and at the box office.

Return of Xander Cage is hardly elite-tier cinema, but at least director D.J. Caruso knows what he’s gotten himself into. After all, this is a film that opens with soccer superstar Neymar being recruited by Samuel L. Jackson, features Diesel skiing down and around a Brazilian rainforest so that the locals can watch the big game, and there’s even a motorcycle chase that takes place on the ocean. Oh, and all of this happens before the halfway point.

It’s incredibly loud, exceedingly dumb, but highly entertaining in a guilty pleasure sort of way. Ignore the reviews, then, because Return of Xander Cage is the ideal pick-me-up if you’ve had a bad day and want nothing more to watch things go boom without having to think about it.

As it transpires, plenty of streaming subscribers are feeling that way this week, evidenced by the xXx threequel riding high on the charts of both Prime Video and iTunes, per FlixPatrol. A fourth installment remains mired in developmental and contractual hell, so the third installment will have to do for the foreseeable future.

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Scott Campbell

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