Worth A Look: 13.25%
Pretty Bad: 15.66%
Total Crap: 50%
5 reviews, 136 user ratings
by Chris Parry
There are two time honored rules in Hollywood that never ever fail. The first is, if you're on a good thing, don't just stick to it, beat the audience over the head with it until they bleed from the ears - see the PG-13 teen horror trend that came after Scream, or the M.Night Shyamalan imitators after Sixth Sense, for examples. The second rule is, no matter how bad the movie, if someone is considered 'cool' this month, it'll be a smash. See Spiceworld, any Adam Sandler movie since Happy Gilmore, and the excruciating Hardball. XXX buys right into both these rules and makes no effort to disguise the fact. This is a movie that could have had a PG-14-YR-OLD-BOYS-ONLY rating and probably not have lost more than a few million bucks of box office, as having come off the ridiculous success of the Fast and The Furious, Vin Diesel could have been an ice cream store salesman with attitude and the little Timmy's of this world would have forked over to see it happen. As it turns out, he's a secret agent who digs extreme sports - kind of a James Bond who stars on a Jackass, if that makes any sense. And it doesn't.So XXX is a career criminal who backs his action with an anarchist bent, he wants to make a difference by making a splash with high profile crimes captured on video tape, so that we can all go, "right on, XXX!" But one day Uncle Sam comes calling and tells him... well, let's let you figure it out.
"Big, dumb, stupid, showy and ridiculous. And that's just Vin Diesel."
A) Unless he becomes an agent he'll go to jail forever.
B) He's a bad boy, and thus is going to jail forever.
C) He looks ridiculous in those fat fur coats.
Yes, that's right, they go for the age old Rambo set-up, that unless XXX plays for the Government, the Government will lock him up. Plot theft #1.
So, seemingly having put all his anarchist "we must change the way things work" ways behind him, XXX becomes the Man, working for the establishment to save his ass from prison. How noble, X! Way to put yourself before... oh... you took the easy way out? Great.
Next comes the sex, the use of women as party playthings, the drinking, the being a male and all touchy feely with the lads while women dance for you and blow you. Plot theft #2, straight from College Girls Gone Wild: Tape 2. And yes, that's the standard of performance on display here.
Next comes the ridiculous action sequences. Director Cohen, who hit in big with Diesel in the Fast and the Furious about, oh, four seconds ago, throws action sequences in that have no real need to be there, as 'tests' for XXX, to see if he has what it takes. This is kind of like taking Rambo to a Six Flags shooting gallery and saying "if you don't win a teddy bear, you can't be in our gang." But for the movie's sake, it avoids that big empty action-free section between the beginning and the point. Way to pad out a half hour.
Then we have the set-up of the 'point'. Tedious and ridiculous, with dialogue that you'd quickly forget if it wasn't so cheesy, we begin to see that some European guys are building some biological weapons and they must be stopped. They could just as easily have set the premise up as XXX is in a big stunt contest and if he doesn't win it, he won't be able to save the orphange. It would matter about the same to the audience, and be just as cliche.
Sure, it's fun at times and we're seldom given time to yawn (though we would, often) between rolling our eyes and giggling to ourselves at how dumb it all is, but if you're going to spend so much on slo-mo action equences, why not spend a little money (or time) on the script? Oh, right, because they had to capitalize on the success of Fast and the Furious while they were writing the Fast and Furious sequel. Gotcha.
For me, the big question here is why does XXX need to go to such elaborate means of getting things done? For example, in an attempt to destroy a building belonging to the bad guys, XXX parachutes out of a plane onto a mountain side, snowboards to a cliff face, drops a few grenades and proceeds to outrun an avalanche that will destroy the building. But why? Why not just fly over the mountains and drop the grenades out of the plane, thus saving yourself from nearly dying under a million tons of snow? In fact, why not have the Air Force fly over it and drop the bombs directly on the building, since the armed forces seem to show up anywhere they want, at any time, anyway?
No, we have to see XXX risk his ass every time. In fact, if this guy had to go down to the store to pick up a carton of milk, he'd undoubtedly do so wearing a rocket pack with a lit stick of dyanamite wedged up his arse.
Vin Diesel's performance gives a whole new layer to this character. In script stage, the only layer it had was dumb. Diesel makes him big and dumb. Damn, that boy is multilayered, ain't he? Asia Argento, who has been around the indie scene for years but never made it big, shows why by being as vanilla as ice. Sam Jackson... well, who would have guessed that Sam has gambling debts and thus picks his roles based purely on financial gain these days? If you'd just call, Sam, maybe we could pass the hat around.Essentially, anyone that thinks they've seen the last of XXX is kidding themselves. There's enough teenage retards out there with eight bucks to spend to make sure that this hokey garbage is continued every summer for the next four, after which time they'll probably have Joel Schumacher make one and wonder why the fourteen year old boys don't dig the homoerotic imagery, and the whole thing will collapse to be replaced by the next 'cool for an hour' guy on the block. Can't wait.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6056&reviewer=1
originally posted: 09/06/02 05:36:06
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