Xxx

on August 09, 2002 by Tim Cogshell
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   They might say it's not your grandfather's spy movie, but don't believe them. "XXX" (pronounced 'Triple-X') is exactly your grandfather's spy movie...indeed, it's a Bond film. And it's fully stocked with all the requisite Bond movie paraphernalia. There are hot cars completely outfitted with missiles and ejection seats. There's a creepy bad guy with a bad accent and megalomaniacal inclinations. And there's a single hero who must save the world for god and country. "XXX" is every Bond film from "Thunderball" to "Die Another Day." It's a Bond film, except that Bond's name is Cage, Xander Cage (Vin Diesel), and instead of being debonair and sophisticated and British, he's uncouth and covered in tattoos. The differences aren't even all that noticeable. It's big and noisy and full of stunts and action-hero moments. And, like a Bond film, it's not all that good.

   The plot involves a Russian anarchist group led by one of those megalomaniacal bad guys (Marton Csoksa) with a bad fake accent. He wants to overthrow all governments because he's mad about something. Cage is an extreme sports anarchist who pulls high-risk stunts to prove a point. What that point is never comes up. He gets plucked out of his life and dropped into a NSA spy-finder program run by Agent Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) doing his version of Judi Dench's character in those Bond films. It's a sink-or-swim scenario, and Cage makes the grade. Eighty minutes, 15 or so major stunts and a few hundred explosions later, he's saving the world.

   As for memorable characters, captivating action and magnetic stars, "XXX" gets one out of three. Vin Diesel ("The Fast and the Furious" and "Pitch Black") is an action star. As for memorable characters and captivating action--not really. Fact is, that may not be possible as we approach the release of the 20th actual Bond film. Maybe one out of three will have to do. Starring Vin Diesel, Michael Roof, Marton Csokas, Asia Argento and Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by Rob Cohen. Written by Rich Wilkes. Produced by Neal H. Moritz. A Columbia release. Action/Thriller. Rated PG-13 for violence, non-stop action sequences, sensuality, drug content and language. Running time: 123 min

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