xXx

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We all have gaps in our film education; xXx was one of mine. Despite being a huge fan of Diesel’s work starting with Pitch Black (I’d missed Saving Private Ryan) and solidified with The Iron Giant, I had missed this bit of action fare.

As a game attempt to take take on modernizing the Bond epic, it is interesting. Clearly there was a hunger there to grab a younger and new audience while keeping the secret agent + gadgets, girls, and guns approach. Amusingly, Casino Royal, just a few years later, realized that the gadgets were actually just getting in the way and what really mattered was the story. Had xXx had the writing to go with the ideas, this may have been much better than it delivered and even established the franchise it had hoped to rule.

As it is, we get a popcorn flick with just enough going for it to make it entertaining. Huge stunts and big plots keep it rolling along past the rather insipid dialogue. The cinematography is also a bit weak, particularly on the longer shots, but it is sufficient. As an unintended plus, we also get to see Jackson in what could be considered a first cut at his Nick Fury character several years before the Avengers series kicked off.

There is a reason that this wasn’t the first stake in the sand for a series (which they completely killed off with xXx: State of the Union), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some redeeming entertainment value.

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