Vin Diesel has made a lot of stupid movies in his career, in both the best and worst possible fashion. Obviously, the Fast & Furious sequels deliver the sort of joyously preposterous entertainment that sends audiences across the world wild, while other star vehicles such as The Last Witch Hunter, Babylon A.D. and Bloodshot are dumb, plodding would-be franchise starters that are so concerned with laying the groundwork for an intricate mythology that they forget to be fun.
For a man that’s done some crazy things on screen during his two-decade stint as Dominic Toretto, it’s almost a badge of honor that xXx: Return of Xander Cage might just be the most preposterous blockbuster Diesel has ever appeared in. Again, that’s meant as a compliment in this instance because everyone’s in on the joke, with director D.J. Caruso wisely opting to place his tongue firmly against his cheek when helming an escalating series of action sequences that make absolutely no sense, but are a lot of fun if you leave your brain at the door.
This is a film where Vin Diesel skis through the jungle in an elaborate and lengthy pre-credits set piece for the sole purpose of letting people watch a soccer game on television, there’s an entire shot lovingly crafted around the hilariously oversized fur coat he wore in the first installment fifteen years previously as if anyone cared, and a motorbike chase takes to the ocean for reasons never made clear, yet it’s complete aware of its own ridiculousness and all the better for it.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage is ideal disposable weekend entertainment, so it’s no surprise that the film is rocketing back up the Netflix most-watched movies list, and has its sights firmly set on the Top 20 now.