XXX (2002) 

Alan:

Ebert:1/2 Rolling Stone: TV Guide:


Warning, major plot points revealed!

I know I should have seen this film months ago but I couldn't get Holly to go with me.  Finally it came to the cinema draft house so I spent Sunday afternoon drinking beer, smoking, eating fancy nachos and watching the ultimate guy movie.  It was cool.  

I went into this movie with the highest expectations you could have for a pg-13 film and I was not disappointed.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  The way it was pitched to the Columbia Pictures guys probably went something like this: "You know those Mt. Dew guys in the TV ads?  I like them.  What if we turned one of them into James Bond!"  

And Extreme James Bond is exactly what it is.  Every detail of the Bond archetype is present.  Nerdy guy who provides the spy with cool gadgets, hot sexy Russian ex-KGB girl who starts off bad but comes to love the hero, crazy insane villain trying to take over the world from inside his hollowed out mountain/castle lair, stunts, stunts, chases, explosions, stunts, and it all ends with XXX and the Russian girl on a tropical beach getting the call to return to action.  I'm not listing this stuff because I was upset about it.  I would actually have been really disappointed if it all wasn't there.

The story, as if it matters, goes like this...  There's a bad guy in Prague who's planning something bad.  Conventional American spies have all been killed trying to penetrate his evil organization, Anarchy 99.  Xander Cage aka XXX is a cocky underground extreme sports hero who gets pinched by the Feds.  They agree to wipe his record if he does this spy mission.  He finally agrees, quickly infiltrates the syndicate, figures out what's going on, stops the plan, saves the girl, kills the bad guy and goes to Bora Bora.

I like Vin Diesel.  He's a great action hero.  I've liked every movie I've ever seen him in.  Asia Argento (The Russian Girl), daughter of Italian Horror Master Dario Argento, is both hot and cool at the same time. Samuel L. Jackson is fine as XXX's boss but he not in much of the movie.

The special effects are excellent and a few of them are amazing to behold.  There's one scene where XXX is snowboarding in front of an avalanche.  It's a grand scale special effect that will be worth repeated viewings on DVD.  There's a great battle scene in a Colombian drug camp that will actually require repeated viewings cause there's so much crazy stuff going on.  

If your summer's over and you're starting to feel that tired and lazy winter despair then XXX (if it's still playing anywhere near your house) is the adrenalin rush you've been looking for.   At least until the new James Bond movie comes out on November 22nd.