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.
Continue reading: XXX: State Of The Union Review
More wow-worthy than an afternoon at the X-Games, more feebly-scripted than a gunfire-filled X-Box action game rated "M" for mature, "XXX" is cool, cool, cool until director Rob Cohen gets to the last act and has to make room between stunts to resolve the knuckleheaded plot.
Billed as a tattooed, testosterone-injected, street-smart, 21st Century usurper to James Bond's explosions-and-espionage glory, the flick is a custom-designed career vehicle for Vin Diesel, Hollywood's fastest-rising bald-and-bulging bad-ass. Considered a hot property after stealing all the thunder in "The Fast and the Furious," Diesel has re-teamed with Cohen, that film's director, for this picture about an extreme sports daredevil and social activist hoodlum recruited by the National Security Agency to go undercover where their Bond-ish, well-bred, erudite agents can't fit in.
The movie begins with Xander Cage (Diesel) -- known as Triple X because of a tattoo on the back of his neck -- swiping the new Corvette of a politician who wants to censor rock music and video games. He straps cameras to the car, then gives a live web-cast diatribe about the First Amendment while driving off a bridge into a gorge and parachuting to safety as the car blows up.
Continue reading: Xxx Review
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.