xXx: State of the Union (2005) Poster

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2/10
xXx2: Coma State
pkeevers30 April 2005
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.
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2/10
Much funnier than "Johnny English" - too bad it's not supposed to be a comedy.
Victor Field2 May 2005
"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.
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1/10
Best comedy of the year......for all the wrong reasons
Pyromk17 May 2005
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.
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1/10
A horrible, horrible movie
jack_thursby31 August 2005
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.
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1/10
First 40 mins SUCKED...The rest? Who knows.
mch2k28 April 2005
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!
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1/10
At least Vin Diesel wasn't in this one
techno_head8 May 2005
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!"
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3/10
Not worth watching
Sharkey36027 April 2005
Warning: 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 and money.

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.
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1/10
Boring tyrecommercial
J O2 May 2005
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.
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3/10
Needs better action-directing
Mattias Petersson19 April 2005
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.
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7/10
Action-packed!!!
Skyrus Miles16 May 2005
From the creators of "Die Another Day"! XXX: The Next Level as released on the Philippines.

Having said that, it wouldn't be a surprise that this movie was just one action scene after another. Although a lot of negative feedbacks are here about the plot and the characters this movie is sure to satisfy the typical action movie fanatic. True to the reputation of that aforementioned James Bond movie there never was a dull moment in the movie. The pace and the tension of this movie just keeps the story flowing with slight stops to help you catch your breath and ingest the movie if aren't trashing it already.

I admit that upon seeing Ice Cube as the one to play the role of the new Triple X I was skeptical about his capabilities. Having the typical role of a bad-ass, the attitude and situations really suit him. I wasn't totally disappointed. However, it was sort of a plot hole for them to consider Xander Cage as being less of a character than Darius Stone. I actually didn't like that idea. I'm still confused whether their mention of the previous Triple X being killed as a cover up or a fact. Hey, this is a gov't agency! One can never assume.

As usual for most action movies this is another marketing scheme for brand products from Ice Cube's backpack to his gadgets and, of course, the hot cars, which I admit are the top of the line.

If you're just another movie fanatic after a good rush this movie is for you - bang for your buck. But for the discriminating movie fan this will hardly satisfy you. I actually liked this movie regardless of the whole lame plot. Hey, you can't please everyone!
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Derivative, uninspired nonsense but will please the male Saturday night crowd that it is clearly aimed at
bob the moo2 May 2005
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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2/10
So bad it deserves another star
Elliott Noble6 September 2005
Whether he's in them (Chronicles of Riddick) or not (2 Fast 2 Furious, and now XXX2), sequels to Vin Diesel movies stink. Not that the original were masterpieces, but at least they showed evidence of having been put together with a modicum of thought.

Here's the shooting schedule for XXX2: scribble a bad-guy-in-the-White-House-plots-an-overthrow script on a piece of toilet paper, then blow stuff up, slap a blonde around, get Nona Gaye to show a bit of booty, wreck various vehicles and throw in as much macho posturing and 'attitude' as possible. By the way, what exactly is 'attitude'? Because it looks suspiciously like 'obnoxiousness' to me.

Since coming to international attention with his excellent contemporary Maori drama Once Were Warriors, director Lee Tamahori appears to have lost the ability to construct a coherent film. He derailed the Bond franchise with 'Dire Nother Day' and now ditches his last shred of movie-making self-respect with this brain-liquefying drivel.

Nobody expects an acting masterclass from an action movie, but this proves that actors are only as good as their dialogue. Samuel L Jackson and Willem Dafoe (who evidently didn't embarrass himself enough with Speed 2) give shamefully mercenary performances, while Cube is about as convincing an action hero as Harry Knowles.

Who'll be XXX3? The person should be different... unexpected... have their own attitude. I vote for Maggie Smith.
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4/10
cookie cutter plot
kriticalreview13 April 2005
Saw a screening of it today,...and probably wished I didn't agree to watch it,.. Anyways, I don't even know where to begin so here goes: Plot/action: The usual cliché plot line that involves government agency coverups, bad blood, and conspiracies to kill the President. I thought the first 'XXX' was OK, but the plot of 'XXX2' is so unoriginal and narrow-minded it makes the first one seem like an epic. The action and stunts aren't even imaginative,.. seems like even money can't buy a good movie because even the fight scenes are uninspiring,..kind of reminds me of Steven Seagal movies where you're even hoping that the main character gets his ass kicked Characters: Ice Cube playing his usual badass self, although the release of this movie is in such close proximity to 'are we there yet?' that it almost seems like him and Vin Diesel (The Pacifier) have teamed up secretly to harm America with such bad movies. Overall, I think that Ice Cube's character lacks the edge of Vin Diesel in the first installment. The other characters in this movie including the main badguy (Willem Dafoe) are cardboard thin leading you to wonder as the movie goes along if the plot development will be just as bad.

Overall Entertainment Value: 4/10,..I feel that the movie would have been better if they eased up on the whole government agency conspiracy aspect and focused more on stunts, which made the first one much more easy to watch
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1/10
The Worst Movie Ever
oztrailyan_guy12 May 2005
I went to the cinema last night and much to my disgust my friends wanted to watch xxx2. I had tried to talk them out of it by saying it will have no decent acting and/or a very poor storyline. THAT WAS AN UNDERSTATEMENT! This is by far the worst movie i have ever seen, It sucked and i want 2hours of my life back. The storyline (if thats what you call it) was very, very, very poor. It was a "B" no i would say "C" grade movie with an "A" grade budget. The hero was a fat African American who thought he was Lord Of The Earth and did not even fit the stereotypical action star genre that i had expected. I swear this guy has no self esteem problems, he is so much up himself i laughed my way through the entire movie. I cannot believe the extreme stupidity of this film. As i sit there in the cinema person after person was walking out, not to mention the laughing at of corny and serious lines. I would never recommend this movie and i believe that it would not even be suitable for Midday Television.
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1/10
A cinematic cock punch
nowonmai4210 May 2005
What the hell is going on in this movie? In the first ten minutes of "XXX 2," we're informed, based on a small hunk of plastic, that the villainous commando team that has laid waste to NSA agent Augustus Gibbons' (Samuel L. Jackson) underground base is "ten years ahead of anything at NSA," that a new XXX agent is needed, one with "even more attitude," and that our heroes will need to go off the grid to find him. Which naturally leads them to a maximum security military prison in order to bust out Darius Stone (Ice Cube), the only other surviving member of Gibbons'former SEAL team. How much further off the grid can you get? While the above may feel a bit rushed and convoluted, it's merely the setup for what proves to be an extraordinary experiment in incoherent nonsense. Most action movies don't make sense; we know this going in, and hopefully try to appreciate them with that in mind. Yet "XXX 2" is incomprehensible more in the sense of Dada than of, say, the first "XXX." The ostensible connecting thread through the jumble is a plot by the US Secretary of Defense (Willem Dafoe) to take over the government by assassinating all his superiors during the State of the Union address. It's easy, see, since he's in charge of PROTECTING everyone, he'll naturally have access to tanks and floor plans and assault teams. Donald Rumsfeld is surely slapping his forehead, wondering why he never thought of this.

Action flicks traditionally use their plots, however brainless, to get their heroes from one big kablooey to another. "XXX 2," though, instead presents a series of sort-of connected sequences, finally realizing that they should, in theory, culminate in something, in this case a firefight in the Capitol rotunda. Along the way, we're treated to pearls like "growing up in Washington politics is like being raised in a snake pit. Everyone's fighting for territory." Do snakes do that? Amidst jumping boats onto bridges, dumping tanks off of piers, and assaulting the Capitol with his unstereotypical hip hop street crew, Ice Cube even manages to worm a line of Tupac into a presidential speech. Cube's Stone is clearly acquainted with gangsta rap's icons; why not just quote himself? Another movie could have some sly fun with such a conceit, though trying to force Charlie Kaufman on this enterprise would be harder than convincing Jerry Falwell to dress in drag. the absurdity leads to the Presidential Bullet Train - is there really a bullet train beneath the White House? - where speeds of 200mph plus do nothing to deter the expected vehicle jumps and fisticuffs, to say nothing of the teeny helicopter that's somehow able to keep up with it all. The formlessness of "XXX 2" signals a new level of contempt for the movie-going public, though anyone going into this movie under any contrary illusions will get exactly what he deserves; a cinematic cock punch.
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8/10
Deserves much more credit then it has been getting
bubba146 May 2005
I know that this movie may have disappointed many and I too was kind of cautious in the way i approached it but I was all in all quite satisfied, there is a lot of action and explosions and at times the plot may loose some people but I encourage everyone to give this movie a chance especially if you like action packed films. The only thing I could have seen better is a little more of a beginning to explain what is going on it got into the action a little to fast for me. I think that the writers took a tough course with the story line that they choose and it did show in the less then amazing unfolding plot. I think that the actors did what they could to save the movie and even though Willem Dafoe has the great look of an evil villain in this movie I think he was almost making the movie for a completely different audience then the rest of the cast I think he makes a great evil character but the role in this movie did not quite fit him. All others did very well in making this movie into what it was and they all seemed to be on the same page as to what they wanted the final project to look like.

I give this movie a mark of about 80-84% (sorry the stars shown is a little misleading mistake and it wouldn't fix it for me) and encourage anyone who enjoys the 007 movies and the original XXX to give it a try it deserves more credit then it has been getting.
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The Tank Fight On The Aircraft Carrier Was Simply Awesome!
BigHardcoreRed29 April 2005
XXX: State Of The Union was a great action movie. I do not think it was as good as the first but still, very good. This movie was full of awesome action sequences. Some would say implausible but what action movie is realistic? I also kind of got the vibe that the producers of this movie were a bit mad at Vin Diesel but all that could be just part of the storyline, which I like. I guess the XXX will always be someone new, even more the opposite of James Bond.

Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) seems to be the main recurring character. We learn a little bit about his past, his scarred face in particular. He chooses an old military acquaintance named Darius Stone (Ice Cube) as the new, badder and meaner XXX. This time, they have to stop an evil Secretary of Defense, Gen. George Octavius Deckert (Willem Dafoe) from having all those in the chain of command above him assassinated. As Stone says, "the cleanest revolution in history". I kept expecting The Green Goblin to emerge somewhere. I guess there is a similarity between his two characters.

XXX boasts some of the greatest action scenes I have had the pleasure of seeing. The tank fight on the aircraft carrier was simply awesome. Sure, I understand this probably could not and will not ever come close to happening, but it is still fun to watch. No one in their right mind could argue that.

I knew well ahead of time that many, many people would put this movie down, much of them without even seeing it. While I do think that it does not have the same rebellious feel as the first XXX, it was a great movie in it's own right. Highly recommended if you liked the first one. If you did not, then why are you bothering?
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7/10
Better than expected
Josh Hewitt21 May 2005
I went in to watch this after reading how terribly brainless and low brow everybody said it was. Well, I got what I expected but strangely that wasn't that bad after all. Yes, the action is cartoonish, the one-liners are cheesy but I already switched to James Bond mode so it didn't bother me the least. In fact, compared to some James Bond movies the plot does make a little sense. I don't say that it's L.A. Confidental, but way better than Die Another Day, for example. As for Ice Cube: I think he was cool. I don't know why everybody complains about he not being able to act. What's there to act? He's a Navy Seal. He likes to act tough and cool. It looks ridiculous? Sure, but it's at least entertaining. I don't mind the women being bombshells, cars being beautiful, explosions over that top, I mean what's wrong with these in a James Bond style movie? The ending is bit of a let down, but the rest is worth the buck.
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2/10
Almost the worst movie i've seen, but not bad enough to leave early
tdaily26 April 2005
Warning: Spoilers
corny; storyline, characters, one liners, EVERYTHING. and waaay too much CGI. did they promote this as fantasy/sci-fi? because last time i checked, driving along a rail road in a car and at 200+ mph wasn't close to plausible. there was also too much "oh thats an exception for the main character" stuff.... eg. some windows bullet proof, and what do you know, the one mr XXX wants to use isn't!

normally i would enter into a zen state when watching a movie because i am so engrossed. this one just s me to tears and prompted constants *groans* at things like the dorky character's explanation of the sercurity into some computer system, for which he cracks in some minute amount of time. and don't even ask me about making some car missile launchers into hand weapons complete with stickers!!! sure it's a movie but come on, this was just pure rubbish. it didn't even make me believe half of the things are possible.

don't waste your money. lucky i saw it free ;-)

btw you don't need to see xxx 1 because the only reference to it is the "oh xx1 dude died, we need someone new, more extreme, more blah blah blah"
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2/10
Make it Triple B (bad, banal and bogus).
ric_pineda7 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Didn't catch the original when released but saw it on DVD. A matter of hype, if you ask me. Not a fan of Vin Diesel. Rob Cohen? Let me see... Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Daylight and The Fast And The Furious among his repertoire... I don't think so. Didn't matter they weren't coming back for the sequel.

Bringing Lee Tamahori (007's Die Another Day) was an odd move. It feels like a setback, actually. From the real deal to this franchise imitation? Oops. Ice Cube repeats himself with just movie attitude, no acting really, which is an honest gimmick when bringing a new agent to the latest assignment. Having Samuel L. Jackson back is always a bonus and Willem Dafoe as the baddie adds a certain, albeit familiar, flavor. But what was the outcome, boys and girls?

No Hollywood executive remembered this lesson: Don't make an action sequel with Dafoe as a baddie (Speed 2, anyone?). Never green-light a follow-up without its original hero (Speed 2, anyone?). The Pacifier proved to be a slick hit at the box-office. See Vin. See Vin run.

Besides the first 5 minutes or so (better than the entire xXx of 2002), there isn't anything nice to comment about State Of The Union. This movie is a total flop, it fails miserably in storytelling, casting and production values. It is a shame that a fairly-looking ride like this gets wasted pretty bad. Too much of the same (although "the same" is not a problem for me in the action genre), and overloaded with CGI on every testosterone-implanted sequences. Ice Cube was OK until delivering on-liners nonstop all the way to the end credits. And shamelessly, I must add. Scott Speedman is a total miscast here, beauty Sunny Mabrey was a bore and Peter Strauss gave us the worst movie President in recent memory. It hurts that heavies like Jackson and Dafoe are involved in this crap.

Oh, and Diesel's Xander Cage dies because the agency was ambushed worldwide. Characters only comment about it, like no big deal. No pictures or anything. He survived all the explosions and stunts in the original and gets poor treatment in this next level. Way low!

Finally, the blame goes to Joe Roth and his Revolution Studios. The sub-plot that was dealt here (of a fictitious American president who plans a detour on diplomatic relations with rouge governments, in order to become potential allies of the nation) was plain stupid. Is this a Hollywood company of the politically idiotic? Produce something decent for a change!
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forgettable but not altogether disposable
Special-K882 May 2005
Unnecessary sequel about ex-Navy SEAL-turned-imprisoned convict Darius Stone (Cube)—court-martialed years earlier for attempting to overthrow a four-star general (Dafoe) during a black bag operation—who's recruited by NSA agent Jackson to become the new XXX and thwart that same general—now the Secretary of Defense with his own agenda. Obvious and by the numbers the film manages to throw out enough loud action scenes and cheesy one-liners to be some fun, but it's awfully derivative and fails to distinguish itself from the standard action genre. Works fine if you're just looking for a rush, and can accept a hackneyed plot with a cardboard Cube in the lead. **
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10/10
Guilty Pleasure of the highest order
dbborroughs22 May 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Sue me I loved this movie.

In the opening moments I went "oh this is one of those leave your brain at home movies" so I politely turned my mind off and enjoyed a hour and a half or so of mindless action. What great fun this was.

The plot has Ice Cube, who is quite good, being recruited as the new XXX to help stop a villainous plot that begins with an attack on Samuel L Jackson's base and leads to a possible coup by a military group. The movie begins on a high note and just runs all the way to the end barely pausing long enough to take a breath.

This is great popcorn film making thats never really believable but which hooks you and drags you along.I loved this movie. Its so mindless and entertaining and doesn't try to be anything beyond that. Its great.I don't know if its because the movie just hits me right or because earlier in the day I suffered through the wildly uneven new Star Wars, but there is something about this film thats wonderful.

I have no idea why so many people dislike this film, certainly its no worse than the first XXX film, which was a guilty pleasure itself. Perhaps people can't buy Ice Cube as an action hero. What ever the reason this film is sorely under rated.

Turn off your mind and don't think about anything, just let the movie tell its story and you'll have a good time.

I know I'm looking forward to future viewings of this new addition to my guilty pleasure list.
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1/10
crap
menace2society12326 May 2005
this film is totally s**t not just the first 40 minutes but the whole thing ice cube is a good actor and i like him in the Friday series and other films he has done but he is crap in this and they should not have gotten ridden of Vin diesel who would of thought it a African American xxx. i have to say though there was one good part in the film that i like and that is the credits i mean who can dodge a rocket launcher from twenty feet away in a tank the film proper slipped out reality and into the xander zone.you know the story Samuel Jackson hires some guy that is a master in everything and can stay alive even when the whole country is after him.
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7/10
A Nutshell Review: xXx2
DICK STEEL28 April 2005
Watching this film is like being with your current beau and yet constantly reminded of your ex. We all know that Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is not the xXx in this show, and he's being replaced by Darius Stone (Ice Cube). Heck, I think the producers make the mistake of killing Xander Cage - mentioned in the movie as being killed in action in Bora Bora, Afghanistan, because in my opinion his character makes an excellent action hero.

That's reminiscence number one - being reminded of what could have been if the charismatic Vin Diesel continued for this film. Throughout the film, we see some similarities with Xanda or scenes from the original xXx. Like a scene in a diner with Gibbons (good IL mo-fo Samuel L Jackson, who's given more screen time this time around), a sea-craft ride down a river, wisecracks on the moniker xXx ("I sound like a porn star"), the reluctance of being drawn into the game of cloak and daggers, and (mis)quoting one of my favourite lines in the original - "The things I would do for my country"!

But while Xander Cage's an extreme sports person, Darius Stone is more "in your face", given his military background in covert ops, with a penchant for some fries and a shake. The original film's delivery is more subtle, more elegant, while this one's more direct and in a way, nothing different from another action flick.

The action is standard Hollywood-blow-em-up fest, right from the beginning and never lets up throughout the film. Everything's bigger (M1 Abrams Tank, Aircraft Carrier, Choppers), noisier (guns and explosions everywhere) and faster (modified cars and humongous wheels). No doubt the movie looks good given that the action pieces looks expensive, and effects well done by Industrial Light and Magic.

Did I mention the girls? We get 2 in this one, but their roles are merely decorative, unlike Asia Argento's meatier and eye-"candier" chick role in xXx1. And the villains are your good old one-dimensional foes who tend to lapse into monologues, and I feel that Willem Dafoe is a bit underutilized.

My only gripe with this film is that xXx has to rely on his boyz n the hood - it's actually quite hilarious to see street gangs take on military might, "carjacking" a tank and actually winning. Not too credible, but hey, it's only a movie.

Did you know this film is called "xXx: State of the Union" in the US (referring to the President's State of the Union Address, which forms the finale), but I guess for those outside who don't care less about US politics, we're pretty OK with the dumbed-down title of "xXx2: The Next Level" - makes it sound like some arcade game.

So buckle up and enjoy the ride, and if this is proved as popular as the original, we might see xXx3 (given the setting up of a sequel at the end), and the possibility of seeing a new face as the new xXx. Now if the producers just stop killing them, I'd think it's pretty cool to see a couple of xXxs teaming up. Ooh... the potential for more mayhem!

"Wars come and go, but my soldiers are eternal" - 2Pac
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7/10
Decent action Flick
seantheman25 April 2005
Seen this today at a staff screening, All round good action movie with loads of cool effects. Nice CG and some great fight scenes.Ice Cube isn't bad as the main man and brings a new dimension to the character , quite different to the one portrayed by VIn Diesel in the original. Not a man for car chases to be honest, but this one had some good moments. However thats about as good as it got for me. Lacked a decent story and many scenes...although it was XXX and an action movie...were quite fantastical .However if you take it for what its trying to be, a good action movie with great effects, then you wont be disappointed Don't go expecting intricate plots and romance Highly enjoyable all the same
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