A paper-doll sequel with paper-thin performances and avideo-game plot -- a ridiculously implausible presidential coup plannedby an arch-conservative Secretary of Defense (teeth-gritting Willem Dafoe)-- this is nothing but a sorry attempt to ride the explosion-shredded coattailsof 2002's "XXX"without bringing back its star. Vin Diesel apparently got a big head fromhaving the first picture custom-tailored for him, and was booted afterasking for $25 million to reprise his role as an extreme-sports-jock spy.
So instead, Cube plays a Navy SEAL imprisoned for insubordinationwho is busted out by loose-cannon National Security Agency honcho SamuelL. Jackson (tough-guying his way to an easy paycheck) and deputized asthe new Agent Triple-X after Jackson's underground headquarters is raidedby gadget-laden baddies in black body armor. Who these thugs are and whatthey were doing there is barely explained, and no reason is offered forwhy, with all its agents, intelligence and firepower, the NSA must relyon a lone prison escapee to investigate and thwart a takeover of the U.S.government.
But director Lee Tamahori (who helped dumb down the lastJames Bond movie) doesn't really care as long as the next 5,000-round shoot-out,five-story fireball or $500,000 sports-car chase is just around the corner.This is the kind of brain-dead action movie in which window-rattling, wind-generatinghelicopters inexplicably sneak up on people, characters "lie low"by squealing around street corners in Washington D.C. while driving tricked-out,iridescent pimp-mobiles, and federal agents have to be certifiable moronsin order for the plot to advance.
The actors seem largely embarrassed and apathetic (especiallythe already lackluster Scott Speedman, playing one of those obtuse feds)and the actresses (I use the word loosely) are cast for their cheap siliconecleavage, and not for their ability to, say, deliver a credible line ofdialogue or even convincingly walk across a room and smile.
What's worse, in the non-stop pageant of overblown actionset pieces, each is so routine that they quickly become boring. "XXX2"has one exciting scene -- Ice Cube's prison break -- which nonethelessrequires enough suspension of disbelief for a whole movie all by itself.The lack of security is laughable, although it's nothing compared to theease with which Cube and a HumVee convoy of homeboys breach the defensesaround the Capitol during the State of the Union address in the picture'sclimax.
Through the sheer photogenic ferocity of his trademarkscowl, Ice Cube manages to cruise through this hailstorm of garbage withoutgetting any on him. But now he's off the hook because this sequel establishesthat there will be a different Triple-X in each "XXX" movie,so if "State of the Union" turns a profit, just imagine how badthe next one could be.
Run time: 101 mins
In Theaters: Friday 29th April 2005
Box Office USA: $26.1M
Box Office Worldwide: $71.1M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures
Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Corporation, Revolution Studios, Original Film
Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 22 Rotten: 113
IMDB: 4.2 / 10
Director: Lee Tamahori
Starring: Ice Cube as Darius Stone / XXX, Willem Dafoe as Gen. George Octavius Deckert, Samuel L. Jackson as Agent Augustus Gibbons, Scott Speedman as Agent Kyle Steele, Xzibit as Zeke, Peter Strauss as President Sandford, Michael Roof as Toby Lee Shavers, Sunny Mabrey as Charlie Mayweather, Nona Gaye as Lola, John G. Connolly as Lt. Alabama 'Bama' Cobb, Ramon De Ocampo as Agent Meadows, Barry Sigismondi as Bull, Michael Don Evans as Conductor, David Rountree as Agent, Ned Schmidtke as General Jack Pettibone