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xXx returns to screen, gives long-time fans ‘wild ride’

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By Reggie Santini, Spotlight Editor

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Vin Diesel is back with more of the same tried and true formula that can be expected from his movies in a ludicrous sequel to an old franchise.

“xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” is directed by D.J. Caruso and is pure dumb fun. It’s the type of movie that people can shut their brain off and just enjoy the wild ride with friends. The simple plot is easy enough to follow. Vin Diesel’s character, Xander Cage, is tasked with retrieving a stolen remote control that can knock down satellites. With the death of his old handler as the diesel powering his engine, Cage sets out looking for the group of thieves. To help him achieve his mission, Cage enlists the help of some of his friends. The movie plays out as a stream of explosive, over the top set pieces with some exposition dialogue on the consequences of not retrieving the stolen remote.

The cast features a wide array of actors and actresses with varied acting abilities. Vin Diesel delivers a more charismatic and fun performance than that of his character in the “Fast and Furious” franchise. He behaves more like a wise cracking punk than a hardened criminal or spy.

The supporting cast a diverse group of actors. Ruby Rose, Kris Wu, Nina Dobrev, and most surprising of all, “Game of Thrones” cast member Rory McCann. Each actor brings their own bag of goodies to this unending party of set pieces. The actors do what they can with the hackneyed writing that often feels like they are reading from a list of Chuck Norris’ bests one-liners. Despite the shaky dialogue each actor does a fantastic job portraying their characters in a convincing manner.

The movie opens up with Cage living in the Dominican Republic skateboarding down a massive hill. Switch that skateboard for a Pontiac GTO and it’s remarkably similar to what would be seen in “Fast and Furious.” The similarities are not a bad thing for fans of the franchise, however the similarity is noteworthy.

Diesel knows his audience. As one of the film’s producers, he made sure to include some hilarious and entertaining cameos for those who have watched the other movies in this long forgotten franchise.

The soundtrack is a mixture of alternative rock, hip-hop, dubstep and reggaeton. The music was put together by Robert Lydecker and Brian Tyler who have worked on a number of Marvel Studio’s movies as wells as the “Fast and Furious” franchise.

For those that are not familiar with Diesel’s usual style of movies, they are easily summed up by this quote from Samuel L. Jackson’s character, “Kick some ass, get the girl and look dope doing it.” For those that are old fans of Diesel’s movies or a first timer to his testosterone filled escapades, this is an entertaining and fun movie to watch.

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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.
xXx returns to screen, gives long-time fans ‘wild ride’