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|Index||214 reviews in total|
A film that should be retitled xXx2: Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.
Opening with an impressive first 7-8 minutes, this film moves into cookie cutter territory at a frightening speed and continues to derail any opportunity for the audience to engage in the ridiculous plot or heavily computer generated action sequences.
Ice Cube will never be thanking the academy (he at times look like he would struggle to play himself), but the Razzie committee should be on the lookout for this up and comer, this type of dribble is the cinematic equivalent of being run over repeatedly by a truck with the stereo cranked up to 11.
The first xXx was at least assure of itself, popcorn action with the acknowledgment that it was bang for buck and nothing more. State of The Union takes itself far too seriously with a plot so absurd you swear it was written by a focus group of 13 year old boys after a binge at McDonalds. Action sequences are spaced every ten minutes or so as bookends to move Cube onto the next dilemma, each new sequence becoming further and further detached from reality (the final twenty minutes is utter insanity that makes films like Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle seem like documentaries). A sequence involving a train should be parody material, not a serious plot device.
Samuel L Jackson cashes in his paycheck and plods through the movie looking as though he just read the script and realized what he has got himself involved in. Scott Speedman's looks too immature to play a senior NSA agent and is largely in the film so the white folks don't feel left out. Willem Dafoe typecasts himself as the overacting bad guy yet again and X-Zibit pops in so he can possible audition for the lead in the next sequel xXx3: Turkey Season.
Women are treated as fodder to either slap around or grind up against (sometimes at the same time) all to a soundtrack of nameless rappers inserted at appropriate moments so that the white kids can know what its like to be African American.
My only positive comment on this whole debacle are the cars used in the film, not being a car enthusiast even I had to be quietly impressed by the rides in this film. Also this film is under the 2 hour mark a sign of a film that does know when its wearing out its welcome.
Hopefully with the resoundingly negative response xXx2 has currently received another sequel looks unlikely, as films like this are about as satisfying as a having your nose broken.
I walked out after the first 40 mins. It was just too much to take. I
have a very high tolerance for "bad" films(I really dug the first xXx)
and have only walked out three time before (Dungeons and Dragons, Bad
Company, and The Musketeer). This ego driven piece of garbage was just
intolerable. Every time Ice Cube (a man I quite like) mugged for the
camera I cringed. And Willem Dafoe is SHAMELESS. After 40mins of
excruciating dialogue and NO PLOT I had to leave. I'm sure this movie
is about something and there's some cool stunts, I just wasn't about to
waste the rest of my evening in hopes that the film got better.
So to be fair I can't really give this a review but I can say that life is short and sometimes we just gotta put our foot down and not take the crap the studios are feeding us. Because this was clearly a movie made on autopilot. Boo!
"xXx2: The Next Level" (Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures
changed the subtitle from "State of the Union" for international
territories, for obvious reasons) comes from the director of "Die
Another Day," which was terrible; producer Neal H. Moritz, whose last
credited project was the dire (and thankfully now-cancelled) "Point
Pleasant"; is a sequel to the dreadful "xXx"; and comes equipped with
Samuel L. Jackson's stated dislike of making movies with rappers. On
this showing, you can't blame him.
Trading in Vin Diesel (his character is written out by someone saying that he got killed in Bora Bora) for Ice Cube is no improvement; not only is he not the most expressive actor, but he's not that convincing in action (when he's being chased by Scott Speedman you just KNOW that Speedman would catch him like that (snaps fingers) in real life). In fairness to Mr. Cube, he's far from the only thing wrong with this; Simon Kinberg's screenplay seems not only to have been aimed at emotionally and intellectually stunted 13-year-olds but written by them as well, with the plot starting idiotically and continuing from there - the villainous Secretary of Defence played by Willem Dafoe is so pantomime villainous that when he makes a speech to Jackson you're surprised he doesn't laugh maniacally.
Suspending disbelief is one thing, but when you have a movie that expects people to believe that tanks can be handled like motorbikes... and which works in such daft plot turns as characters having their deaths faked just so they can be around for the climax (why not just kill them there?)... and that has a finale which depends on a car and a Presidential bullet train being able to fit on the same track despite the car being a compact if speedy sports car... in this case it's just impossible. Admittedly it doesn't help that said scenes are incompetently executed thanks to shockingly bad special effects and shoddy direction; some of the miniatures are glaringly obvious, and I particularly hope that lead effects house Industrial Light and Magic didn't do the CGI bullet train shots. And as for the way some of the shots go from film to what looks like video and back again...
The cast isn't much good either, although it's fun to see Peter Strauss as the President (in spite or because of his not sounding like he believes a word of this); Xzibit not only helps parts of this seem like "Pimp My Ride: The Movie" but he can't act, Dafoe is Special Guest Villain level, and Jackson phones it in. As for the female characters, Nona Gaye and Sunny Mabrey are pretty much defined by their cleavage and by the fact that one's good and the other (the one who looks like a cross between Nicolette Sheridan and Rachel Bilson) isn't. (The movie can't even be laddish properly; for some reason the sexiest woman in the movie (Masuimi Max, who plays Xzibit's girlfriend and who helps out with the robbery of the artillery-carrying cheese truck) isn't listed in the credits.) And the tiresome, crowbarred-in rap numbers don't help, certainly not compared to Marco Beltrami's score. (Ironically, at one point on hearing the female string quartet Bond our hero complains about the music; they are not to blame for the aural wrongs.)
"xXx2: Whatever" is so unexciting and so absurd that despite its stabs at relevance (our hero claims Dafoe is hatching "World War IV"), the only way to get through it is as a laugher; the sight of Ice Cube in a suit and tie (with umbrella!) is funnier than his intentional attempt at comedy later in the same scene. To make it worse, the last scene leaves the door wide open for a third movie... if it does happen, why not cast Scarlett Johansson or Charlotte Church as the new Triple X? It's not like realism is a key factor here.
I had no idea what State of the Union was going to be about when I went to see it last weekend. Once inside the movie theater I was told that it is a sequel to the movie XXX. Stunned that I was about to see a Vin Diesel (have nothing personal against him but I found that odds are high that if he is in a movie I won't like it, especially after the dreaded "Man Apart") movie I almost got up to leave. I was reassured, however, that he was not in it. Sitting through the first few minutes I saw names that I liked--Ice Cube and Samuel L. Jackson--and decided to give this one a shot. I didn't see the first XXX. I wish I hadn't seen the sequel. But I did. At the end I was wishing that Vin Diesel would come and save the day by shooting the characters of Willem Dafoe, Samuel L. Jackson, Ice Cube, the College Boy and the entire biker crew. To say this movie doesn't have a plot would be insulting movies which don't have a plot but at least attempt to have one. A tyrannical Secretary of Defense who wants to kill everyone, starting with the President, in order of succession so he can lead the country? A crew of DC thugs who come to the rescue of the country so they can live in a country where they are "free to jack cars"? This movie has the same effect on a viewers intellect as does junk food on his body. It kills it slowly. And with enough Whoppers and curly fries like this one one could become brain dead. Hollywood really should put warning labels on these prepackaged cookie-cutter action movies "This movie may kill your brain cells!"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Released in the Philippines as "xXx: The Next Level", this sequel is
definitely more expensive, has more action, has similar number of
stunts and has new action lead played by an unlikely actor. But despite
the production values, this sequel is definitely not worth your time
Vin Diesel, who made people think that xXx stands for "Xander Cage is eXtremely eXplosive" being the hero of the original, is nowhere to be found which is both a good and bad thing. Diesel can deliver the action and stunts solidly but he's so annoying when it comes to dialog and comedy moments. I always hated the "Think PlayStation!" line.
In the sequel, Samuel L. Jackson's agency gets desperate and decides to hire a new action agent with "more attitude". It turned out to be Ice Cube, a prisoner in the film.
Ice Cube never fits in well with his action-packed role. Compared to Diesel, Cube is never convincing in doing action and stunts. Worse, Cube is very lousy with his dialog and certain moments that demanded comedy. I think Cube is better off with a pure-comedy or pure-hip hop role (be it lead or supporting) but as an action star? NO WAY! I'd rather watch Ice Cube in his old role in Anaconda than this movie! You will end up wishing the producers got back Diesel in the sequel.
Samuel L. Jackson this time gets more screen time although I would prefer they lessened his action scenes and added talking scenes instead. Early in the film, you'll see Jackson dual wield guns ala John Woo (to live up to his position in his agency and survive) but I find his role in the first movie better. Still it's nice to see him get more screen time this time.
Willem Dafoe, who played a Vietnam soldier and a special forces coordinator before, plays the defense secretary who plans to overthrow the government. His presence is very well felt and he delivers a good performance. You will hate him even more in this film than in Spider-Man.
Sunny Mabrey? She is very pretty and very sexy. In short a hot girl but she's nothing more than just eye candy here and she cannot be taken seriously. She should be given some roles that demand performance, not looks.
Lee Tamahori, whose most successful flick was Die Another Day, is the director this time but most noticeable is his increased use of computer graphics. Thanks to him, the film's pace is fast and something always happen on-screen to keep you awake.
xXx story this time is shallower. Conspiracies are supposed to be deep and detailed but this sequel simply skipped all the requirements just to deliver action, explosions, crappy dialog and special effects. The sequel is best viewed as a non-thinking, MTV-styled edited action flick.
Action scenes and special effects are plenty but certain scenes are just too unbelievable to see and accept. I did notice however that the action in the sequel are more military in nature when compared to that of the first film wherein its action is more related to extreme sports.
I don't recommend watching this sequel at all. You are better of skipping it. But if you really want to watch it, better wait for the DVD release instead.
I had not seen the first xXx movie when I went to watch this so I
basically had no idea what was xxx all about, except for guns and
high-speed cars of course. I really wish I hadn't gone to the movies to
see this flick, it was really terrible.
For me it was kind of hard to get a grip from the beginning because there was nothing that would have explained who were the main characters and what was their goal and so on. This left the characters really shallow and the dialogue between the characters was something out of a bum disco.
Ice-cube cannot act. Really. He is like a stiff crash test dummy on the screen provided with the fact that he can blurt out some lines. And oh yes, the one-liners. Horrible, I mean the one-liners were probably the worst that I have ever heard, almost ripped my ears off. I don't know how good a rapper Ice cube is but I think it would suit him better than acting. What I can't but wonder is that why Samuel L. Jackson ever agreed to do this film.
And then the aluminium rims. Almost every scene begins with the filming of shiny and bright rims. All in all I think the whole point of the movie was to advertise rims. This film should be buried somewhere along with such films as Battlefield: Earth and Dungeons & Dragons.
Action without brains is actually a genre i have nothing against. As
long as the action sequences are well made that is. "xXx: State of the
Union" is a fair try in the genre but ultimately falls short.
The plot is as ridiculous as in the first movie. The NSA-agent Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) is once again looking in weird places trying to find a new agent that can break the rules and succeed. This time he finds Darius Stone (Ice Cube) in a military prison. Stone is an ex Navy Seal who will help Gibbons fight off a rogue part of the US Military trying to dispose of the president.
Seriously, no one watches these movies for the plot anyway. So that the plot is ridiculous and cheesy is beside the point. No one watches this for the acting either. So that Ice Cube is not as much an actor as a walking scowl is ALSO beside the point. He does about as good a job as Vin Diesel did anyway. What is NOT beside the point though is the fact that "xXx: State of the Union" employs the same method of action filming as many other Hollywood-movies of late. You know the method: "move the camera exceptionally close and shake it like if the camera-man was a spastic". I know that this is to hide the fact that Ice Cube doesn't know how to fight. Still it's incredibly irritating! Also the lack of logic is too evident at times. Like Ice Cube driving a sports car 360km/h on a train track with his tires torn off... Seriously.
Otherwise this had some potential. The technical quality is great, the movie looks really expensive. It has a lot of fun gadgets and crappy one-liners. And the speed of this movie is absolutely insane. Right from the beginning Lee Tamahori steps on it without ever looking back. So even though i can't say i really enjoyed this movie it was never boring, there is always something happening on screen. But the flaws in mostly the action department as well as the complete lack of logic disturbs the experience. It's still a lot better than the first movie though. I found the first one to be complete garbage, while this is still at least somewhat entertaining at times.
So in the end i think this "James Bond on steroids" will probably attract a lot of 15-yearolds that like when things keep moving and lights keep flashing. People who like to see a plot and at least some traces of logic might want to stay away though. It could have been the brainless action movie of the year, but it desperately needs some better action-directing for that. I rate it 3/10.
If you're thinking of seeing this, stop just a minute. What could you do with the two hours of your life that this is likely to take up? You could write a short story, you could do a drawing, you could father some children or you could remove your own intestines with a rusty spoon. All of these activities would be a lot more worthwhile than seeing xXx 2: State of the union (or :The Next Level if you live in Blighty like me). I went to see this with high hopes that it would be another xXx... A mindless American James Bond Movie just without the class (sorry if i offend anyone by that, but thats is essentially what xXx was). But I was so wrong.The film opened promisingly, showing something that wasn't what it seemed, but despite this being a film about setups and double crosses that was possibly the best plot twist in the whole film. The film rapidly descends into cliché after cliché (the script seems to have been created by entering lots of clichéd lines into a computer and programming it to spit them out randomly). The plot is riddled with holes which leave you wondering what just happened and was it significant, then later on you find out that it wasn't. In terms of acting Ice Cube is brilliant....at saying every line in exactly the same way. The great Samuel L gives an average performance but he could have just telephoned his lines in and it wouldn't really have made much difference. Willem Dafoe give us a generic bad guy performance. Scott Speedman does quite a good job as the investigative NSA agent despite being dangled from a helicopter, but this role is unlikely to get him very far in terms of his career. Lets get down to the important part now. If its an action movie, it needs good and original action sequences right...not if you're working on xXx2. Basically, things go boom and guns go bang, but we're not given anything really new here and there aren't really enough credible action sequences to keep the audience hooked. The train sequence towards the end of the film looks terrible, like something out of a Playstation game. The CGI falls flat on its face making the films action sequences loose credibility. one thing that confused me was who this was aimed at. by having a Black main character and featuring lots of black characters I thought maybe it could be trying to get a larger black audience. But nearly every black character is a stereotype of black 'Gangsta' culture. There is a line where xXx says "I was born looking guilty" but this is lost when the rest of the black characters are portrayed as crooks and thugs... in positive light! what kind of thing is this movie trying to say? I just gave up trying to read into it as I realised, there is nothing to read into, it is a very shallow, badly written, badly acted, badly produced action yarn. So bad in fact that I was actually laughing most of the way through... Best comedy of the year.
I don't mind mindless, escapist entertainment ... in fact, that's why I
rented this DVD. Having seen the original XXX, I knew this wouldn't be
that great of a movie, but I was counting on the action sequences to
pull me through.
Well, apart from the beginning of the movie, XXX:State of the Union was a huge let down from even my small expectations. I guess the budget wasn't high enough for cool, exciting action sequences so they substituted old-school 80s style scenes for most of it, and suffice to say, there's a reason why most action movies don't do that stuff anymore -- it's boring. And since the action sequences are the only reason to watch something like this, and they suck, there's no real reason to give this movie even a moment's consideration.
The plot involves Darius Stone (Ice Cube) replacing Vin Diesel's character as the new, improved xXx and trying to foil a plot against the President of the United States. Darius proceeds to throw people around, impress the ladies, blow stuff up etc etc etc. The basic concept is a hip-hop James Bond, and while it sounds like a cool concept that you couldn't possibly mess up, no, these guys messed it up... its not Ice Cube's fault, he's no actor but I've seen him do better than this if the movie has a script and some direction.
Someone is targeting the old unit that Agent Augustus Gibbons used to
belong to under the command of George Deckert, now Secretary for
Defence. Half the unit are dead, Triple X agent Cage is dead and
Gibbons' underground base has been infiltrated by a highly trained team
from which he barely escaped. With his gadgets expert in tow, Gibbons
turns to a new Triple X agent to help him fight this threat former
comrade and now life prisoner, Darius Stone. Busting Stone out of
prison, Gibbons arms him and helps him start his new mission by
uncovering hidden information; as the danger increases, so does the
pace and all clues lead to something very sinister indeed.
The production company credits right at the start of the film proclaim this as an "Original Films Production", a claim that I thought highly ironic since it then plunges into a pre-credit sequence that is as genre-specific as they come, a title sequence that is a clear Bond rip off and a film that delivers nothing more than the genre basics. Taking the lead from the first film, the script kills off Xander Cage with barely a mention and moves on to the new agent. Discussion of the plot is pointless cause the whole affair is nonsense with logic holes so large that you could drive a souped up car through it. Those looking to this for a story that they can get into will be sorely disappointed as the film throws its energy into noise, explosions and typically OTT action scenes. To me and many viewers this will be just annoying hollow spectacle but to the target audience this is all they require and xXx2 does do it noisily enough to satisfy them.
The action is as stupid and illogical as the plot itself but it is noisy, stupid, big and bold and is enjoyable on that level; it is a shame that it lacks any actual tension or excitement but the noise will be enough for the target audience. At times it all gets a bit much and just looks plain silly but it never really stops moving that long so the next boom or bang is only ever minutes away, preventing you turning your brain on. The attempts at character and story are the worst the moments with the girls really slows things down without adding even titillation value, while the potentially brave political stance made by the drawing of the president is just lost and wasted. Ice Cube picks up the mantle and delivers a one-note performance where he basically sneers his way across the screen; he lacks any sort of charisma here and could have been any old actor (something I think those hoping to make a franchise hope will be the case). Jackson is just collecting the cash so his bad performance can be ignored but Dafoe is a terrible bad guy considering he has done it well in other films. Xzibit doesn't do much but will draw humour from the MTV teenage audience thanks to his "Pimp my Ride" personae being called on. Mabrey and Gayle are basically just eye candy, with breasts squeezed and lifted in every scene they can't act and don't have any chemistry with the basic Cube. The support cast do lots of running around with guns or diving away form bangs but nobody gets close to a performance.
Overall this is a noisy genre flick, nothing more and nothing less. Those claiming how awful it is forget that there are people who don't want art films, emotional films or engaging dramas, they just want to whoop and holler as things get blowing up in fancy-looking ways. For them, and them alone, this film will do the job as it provides effects, stunts and noise. However those looking for even the most basic characters, plot, tension, excitement or development will find themselves yawning through this noisy cross between a hip-hop video and a video game.
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