After almost a decade since the last xXx movie xXx: State Of The Union, the action packed xXx franchise returns with Vin Diesel back in the role of Xander Cage. If the third xXx movie The Return Of Xander Cage is as great as its trailers promise, audiences could not only see the comeback of one of Vin Diesel's early roles, but a great action franchise as a well.
Here's why xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage could be an important addition to the film genre dedicated to raging testosterone.
Old-School Is Still In
In a time of effects-heavy superhero movies, the gun-wielding action movies of yesteryear may seem like a distant memory. Thankfully, the run-away success of The Expendables, Liam Neeson's career changing Taken series, and the renewed interest in the Fast and the Furious franchise prove the action genre is alive and kicking. Despite the current popularity of superheroes, old-school action movies featuring an action star still have a loyal audience.
There's nothing wrong with the next big Marvel adventure, but with almost every new action packed blockbuster copying the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) style, there's a strong need for variety – and movies like xXx deliver.
Based the trailers, xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage appears to be a montage of death-defying stunts, car chases and gun battles - all done by actual people with the occasional help of green screen effects.
Movies like this that feature regular humans performing astonishing physical feats are needed to remind audiences where the action genre started, and they’re a refreshing break from the monotony of comic book superheroes dependent on computerized superpowers.
As epic as the fight between the Avengers and Thanos may be in the upcoming Infinity War, there’s no substitute for watching normal humans defy gravity with the help of a little movie magic and practical effects.
The Simple Things
Xander Cage's second outing had the rebellious hero trying to stop a bunch of eccentric martial artists from starting global war by assembling a team of his own. Car chases, gun fights, and car shows with scantily-clad swimming models ensued. However, it lacked originality and was basically the plot of a Fast And Furious film with an Extreme '90s vibe.
Based on this premise, the latest xXx entry won't be earning an Oscar nomination for best screenplay, but it's the perfect kind of action plot and an excellent example of popcorn entertainment.
Action movies are tributes to impressive human physical feats, and they don't require a complex plot to deliver a lot of onscreen fun.
Examples of great action films with simple plots include: John Wick (a man seeking vengeance for his dead dog) and Mad Max: Fury Road (which is basically an epic two-hour car chase).
A major problem with new action films is that they try to do too much.
The new live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers, or Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice were swamped by needless subplots that bogged down the action and fun in favor of poorly written conflicts.
Unlike the aforementioned examples, The Return Of Xander Cage has no pretensions and just wants to keep things simple, which is a good thing for audiences who just want to relax with a good old popcorn movie that is the equivalent of mental junk food.
This is beautifully summed up by Agent Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) in the film when he summarizes our hero's priorities:
Vin Diesel At His Best
Vin Diesel has a pretty diverse movie resume that includes a bit role in Saving Private Ryan, voice acting in The Iron Giant and Guardians Of The Galaxy, and child-friendly fare like The Pacifier (which is better left forgotten).
However, Diesel is at his best when he's in an action movie like Riddick or A Man Apart, and The Return Of Xander Cage gives him a chance to do what he does best by bringing him back to his gruff, street smart and adrenaline-fueled roots.
This explosive blast from the past won't just be another old-school action movie for a new generation, but a return to form for its main action star.
Watching him return to his origins in The Return Of Xander Cage is not just a great moment for nostalgic xXx fans, but for those who just enjoy the action genre as a whole.
Diesel may not be the best actor in Hollywood, but he is one hell of an action star and with the upcoming release of the next xXx installment, he has another chance remind audiences of that fact – as well as why the action movie will never die.
Check out the latest trailer for xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage below.