Feminists Rejoice! Xander Cage Returns! (Movie Review)

XXX Return of Xander Cage Movie ReviewThat’s right.  I said it.  While I have been completely disgusted by what has been transpiring with the American public these past couple days (rioting, violence, destruction) since the Inauguration there’s no doubt about it, the women very much have the power in XXX: Return of Xander Cage.  Feminists cannot argue that.  Without the many women players in this particular outing our titular hero would not have been the smashing success he is.  You hear that feminists? Equal opportunities are everywhere in this new Paramount outing, which if you’re keeping score is the third film in this wild XXX action franchise.  So now that I have my little political rant off my chest, as I too feel like a piece of meat at times, let’s talk about the good, the bad and the ugly in XXX: Return of Xander Cage.

XXX Return of Xander Cage 5

So here we are.  The year is 2017 and it has been quite a long time since the first XXX film in 2002.  Hell it has been quite a long stretch since the second outing starring Ice Cube in 2005, XXX: State of the Union.  Even better, whether you see it this way or not, Vin Diesel is back in the titular hero role, hence the title Return of Xander Cage.  This outing is directed by D.J. Caruso off a script written by F. Scott Frazier.  In addition to Diesel it stars Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette and Samuel L. Jackson.  Now let’s chat about what all goes down.

XXX Return of Xander Cage 4

Much to my surprise this third outing is only PG-13.  It felt a little violent and I remember one F-bomb, but oh well I’ll roll with it.  It’s the action and the hot women that count anyway.  Oh wait!  I’m sorry.  That was not politically correct and very insensitive to say.  So here we are, the third explosive chapter of the blockbuster franchise.  I would say in addition to being a hardcore, testosterone driven film, the XXX pictures are very much spy thrillers too.   I guess it comes as no surprise that Vin Diesel’s character, Xander Cage, the extreme athlete turned government operative comes out of his self-imposed exile.  In other words he is not dead.  Alright let’s stop right here.  First off, this sequel has been in the works since 2006 so I’m so sure how self-imposed this exile is.  LOL.  I kid!  Second, the way they reintroduce Xander is hilarious and I love it.  Move over Marty McFly.  We have a new infamous skateboarding scene in film.  Okay, I’m sorry for that small detour.  Let’s get back to summarizing things here.

XXX Return of Xander Cage 3

So there’s this device called Pandora’s Box.  What is it you ask?  Well this box or device, which looks like a clamshell VHS case, has the ability to make satellites drop out of the sky and come crashing down to Earth.  Can you say BOOM?  Of course you can!  A satellite makes quite a carnage mess when it smashes down on our planet, at least in this movie they do.  Xander is recruited to retrieve said box from a deadly opponent known as Xiang (Yen), and I can’t believe how young he looks despite being in his 50’s.  However, before Xander agrees to go on this journey he wants his own entourage, not a bunch of generic Army mishaps.  So he assembles his small crew and they’re off to the Philippines.  Now since this is a XXX picture you just have to visualize with me how ridiculous and insane the action moments are throughout.  Yes, Cage eventually squares off with Xiang, but there’s more than meets the eyes here.  I mean it’s an action, spy thriller after all.  Let’s just say there’s a lot of double crossing and conspiracy going on here as Cage and his crew must rise to the challenge to the save the world for all of us, of course with a little help from the women in this one.

XXX Return of Xander Cage 1

The women are what make this film a smashing success for me and the stunts are second.  Now I don’t say that to be sexist.  I say that because they are more than just eye candy here.  They are also deadly, dangerous and very bad-ass throughout.  And as I made mention of up above they are very much responsible for Cage’s success in his actions and moves within the story here.  Now let’s go the extreme pacifist side and talk about my favorite leading lady here, Nina Dobrev.  I’ve always been a huge fan of her ever since I discovered her on Vampire Diaries.  She’s like the younger generation’s version of Alyssa Milano, at least to me she is.  She’s so cute, innocent and playful in here, but make no mistake she has her very devilish side too.  I wish we could have seen more of the latter in here, but I digress.  Her main purpose was to be Cage’s systems operative to keep him safe in the field, but she does a hell of a grand job when she has to go outside her comfort zone by the film’s wild end.  You’ll see what I mean, she’s an absolute doll in here.  I know because my fiancee laughed her ass off at all her onscreen cuteness.  Now let’s talk action.

XXX Return of Xander Cage 2

Let’s be honest with ourselves.  The majority of you reading this are red hotblooded Americans and are here for the action.  Is it any good?  Well, it is a XXX outing so you can expect the action and stunts to be wild, zany, over-the-top and ridiculously insane (like motorcycles in the ocean insane).  Let’s just say it was enough to keep my attention throughout despite some really bad looking effects.  Some of them felt like they were filmed ten years ago when this sequel was first being discussed, but I digress.  For me it was all the female bad-ass moments, the skateboard tricks and like in Star Wars Rogue One, the mesmerizing fight choreography that only Donnie Yen can seamlessly pull off with convincing swiftness.  His fighting style is both fast and frenzy filled, but ultra effective in takedowns.  Once again it would have been awesome to see more battling moments between his character and Cage’s, but beggars can’t be choosers.  In the end I got exactly what I wanted out of XXX: Return of Xander Cage, an escape from reality and literally a mindless, popcorn action film.  What more do you want?  It’s not La La Land and it’s still the dreaded film month of January.  So just have fun!



XXX: Return of Xander Cage


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

2 Responses to “Feminists Rejoice! Xander Cage Returns! (Movie Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    How are you surprised this is PG-13? It’s full of bloodless violence that makes everything okay for kids and follows the “one F-bomb rule”. Vin Diesel’s character is exactly what this sort of PG-13 was created for – Mountain Dew/Extreme Sports/Video Games!

  2. Brian White

    It just felt a bit bloodier than a usual Pg-13, but I’m super cool with it. It’s not like The Dark Knight where bank teller gets blown by a machine gun and no blood whatsoever 🙂