The Critical Optimist

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xXx

“A new breed of secret agent” reads xXx’s tagline.  This statement is not necessarily false, but it is misleading.  Though xXx is nothing if not creative, it is a lot more cumbersome than a movie about extreme sports ought to be.  Its plot is typical, and the little addends here and there aren’t really enough to make it enjoyable.

The movie is fun, near the beginning.  Xander Cage is an extreme sports activist of some sort.  He does things like stealing politicians’ cars and driving them off bridges; to prove that video games are good for kids?  It is more or less imperative to turn one’s brain off to enjoy the movie.

The story is really quite boring.  Xander is recruited by the government to go undercover on a radical terror organization.  He does, and even earns the trust of the organization’s head honcho, until he makes a point of trying to tell everyone and anyone, with no explanation whatsoever, that he is, in fact, a spy.

The action scene’s which are supposed to pick up the slack in a movie like this, but they are surprisingly few and far between.  The expected fluidity is nowhere to be found.  The film has a habit of showing a cool jump or bike landing from three different angles, every time.  Seeing the same thing repeatedly isn’t slick, it’s tedious.

I’d be lying if I said that I had high hopes for xXx, but It was on TV, and in light of the sequel’s release I thought I’d give it a shot.  I was hoping for something amusing; not an oscar worthy dramatic feature, but something that could be enjoyed with some suspension of disbelief.  No such luck, xXx really isn’t worth the energy it took me to keep my eyes open.  Weak acting, clunky cinematography, and a finale that is about as tense as an old rubber band, make xXx into the epitome of mediocrity.

 


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