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xXx: State of the Union More at IMDbPro »

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Author: jose_antonio-37454 from Lima, Peru
9 March 2017

"xXx: State of Union" is like "Terminator" without Arnold Schwarzenegger or "The Mask" without Jim Carrey.

In light of the cinematic abomination that is "XXX: State Of The Union," Vin Diesel made the right decision by refusing to do another "xXx" movie unless Rob Cohen ("Fast & Furious") continued to direct the franchise. Where the initial "xXx" (2002) showed promise in developing a all-American James Bond-styled action hero, this sequel fails at every turn. Non-action-hero Ice Cube plays Darius Stone, a convict with a bad attitude who is extricated from prison by National Security boss Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) to take arms against a military-led coup attempt on the White House. Yawn. Although the storyline is ripe for social satire, given the current occupation of the presidential chair by an usurping party, screenwriters Rich Wilkes ("xXx") and Simon Kinberg ("Mr. And Mrs. Smith") keep everything on a second-grade reading level. Big explosions of big trucks by big guys with little brains usher in nearly every scene in a self- indulgent exercise in futility.

The charm that the original "xXx" had going for it was an allegiance to extreme sports that put its adrenaline-charged action sequences into a raw punk context of outlaw intensity. Vin Diesel delivered his signature soft-spoken eye-of-the-tornado charisma with a lust for danger that let the audience know that he really did. Diesel's Xander Cage instantly became a new kind of 007's figure without having to resort to the old model. Here was a new prototype of athletic progress and mental strength who could go from wetsuit to tux among a bunch of crazy Eastern European criminals and master every social atmosphere believably while still making time for a little seduction. There was an electric charge to "xXx" as an intelligent homage to the spy- thriller genre because it had the right guy to back it up.

Ice Cube is an actor with a very narrow range. He's fine in low-key comic roles, like the one he played in "Barbershop", but he's a lazy actor who depends on mugging expressions to sell his defeated temper that ostensibly simmers beneath the surface of his monotone line delivery. In a scene where Samuel L. Jackson's returning character from the first movie visits Darius in his prison cell to inform him of his imminent breakout to serve his country, Ice Cube drains the energy out of Jackson's performance with his stubborn line delivery. It's one of the rare occasions when you can watch an amateur actor dragging down the efforts of a more experienced actor. As for Ice Cube's over-the- top attempts at being a romancer, the actor is sadly unequipped for the job.

Still, the blame for the failure of "SOTU" must be laid at the feet of the writers, and director Lee Tamahori. Tamahori ("Die Another Day") has no excuse for not parlaying this film's enormous budget into being at least a passable spectacle film given his work on an actual James Bond movie. "SOTU" begs the question of whether Tamahori hid behind the work of his second, third, and fourth unit directors to achieve the visual success of "Die Another Day." For all of the CGI close-calls of flying metal shards in "SOTU," none of it generates a visceral buzz of excitement.

The awesome music from the first film was gone and replaced with a horrible rap/hip-hop score.

Willem Dafoe phones in his role as a Machiavellian Secretary of Defense, responsible for organizing a ridiculous raid on the capital by US military forces. Meanwhile, Peter Strauss forces his performance as a compassionate American President attempting to mend diplomatic fences with kindness. To his credit, Strauss exhibits as much of a weightless core as you'd expect in a movie where the pay- off scene involves a car driving at 160 miles p/h on its rims, chasing a bullet train down the track. "XXX: State Of The Union" is worse than a common Hollywood big budget flop because it at least had a running start.

P.S.: To this reviewers who thought that this movie was good for its music (one reviewed a CD of string quartet "Bond" on IMDb as if it were a music forum, and other who liked the whole music), hey men, you're like the Mexicans, because you can't live without it.

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Solid But Superficial "xXx" Sequel

Author: zardoz-13 from United States
29 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Day Another Day" director Lee Tamahori's "xXx: State of the Union" amounts to a solid but superficial sequel to Rob Cohen's sensational "xXx" (2002) starring Vin Diesel with few surprises and revelations. Scenarist Simon Kinberg would graduate to better, more prestigious projects, such as "X-Men: The Last Stand," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," "Sherlock Holmes," and "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Nevertheless, like his standard-issue screenplay for "xXx: State of the Union," Kinberg has penned some deplorable potboilers, such as "Fantastic Four," "Jumper," and "This Means War." Reportedly, both Vin Diesel and Cohen walked off this movie, and producer Neal Moritz had to scramble to keep the franchise going. Despite Tamahori's fast-paced direction and some excellent special effects, "xXx: State of the Union" doesn't really resemble a genuine Triple-X adventure. Instead, this movie looks like a James Bond adventure as well as a homage to John Frankenheimer's brilliant paranoid government thriller "Seven Days in May" where the Chairman of the Joints Chiefs (Burt Lancaster) sought to wrest power from a liberal-minded U.S. President (Frederic March). Similarly, a hardline Secretary of Defense, General George Deckert (Willem Dafoe of "Spider-man"), chafes at the bit to commit treason against the current liberal President James Sanford (Robert Strauss of "Nick of Time") who wants to win their hearts and minds of our enemies. Eventually, Deckert does take Sanford hostage before the new xXx puts his foot into his plan. Aside from Samuel L. Jackson, the only "xXx" character returning to the fold—or perhaps I should say—surviving the initial massacre is armaments expertise Agent Toby Lee Shavers (Michael Roof of "Black Hawk Down") with his knack for dreaming up new weapons for our hero. Conspicuous by its absence are the set-up, training scenes in the two Vin Diesel "xXx" movies.

"xXx: State of the Union" gets off to a fast and furious start. Deckert's dastards breach a clandestine underground CIA station in Virginia beneath a horse ranch and shoot anybody that moves with terminal efficiency. Later, we learn that Xander Cage was killed in faraway Bora Bora. Essentially, this revelation occurs during little more than an off-the-cuff exchange of expository dialogue between two agents as they survey the destruction done to the facility. Of course, now, we know better because Xander has reappeared in "xXx: Return of Xander Cage." After making a hair-raising escape from that subterranean facility, Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson of "Pulp Fiction") recruits Cage's replacement from a nearby military prison. As it turns out, the new xXx, Darius Stone (Ice Cube of "Ghosts of Mars"), is pugnacious fellow with a criminal background until he become a top-notch Navy SEAL. Darius must beat up his armed guards with his elbows while his wrists remain cuffed, scramble frantically across a rooftop, and improbably enough hurl himself into the air to snag the skid of a helicopter in a rendition of the old Charles Bronson chopper escape thriller "Breakout." Unlike Xander, Darius is no extreme sports fanatic, and he conducts his maneuvers without the fanfare of a skateboard, snowboard, skis, or parachute. Of course, our heroes thwart Deckert and his killers, even when they are speeding away from the capitol on a bullet-train designed especially for the president. Darius pursues Deckert and Sanford in a sleek Shelby coupe roadster that he launches onto the rails behind the bullet-train.

Tamahori keeps everything churning at delirious breakneck speed in this sequel. There are plenty of explosive fireworks, but this is strictly a slick, superficial thriller that will eventually look dull in another decade. During a final quarter hour finale, Darius is stabbed in the forearm so he has something else to contend with aside from the obnoxious villains. Augustus is temporarily taken out of the action when Deckert's men abduct him and then plan to use him as the fall guy when they have the Chief Executive executed. Of course, Deckert's grand plan doesn't pan out. Incidentally, Dafoe makes a nasty foe as the chief villain. Scott Speedman is appropriately athletic in his suit and tie as another CIA agent after Deckert, while Alabama-born actress Sunny Mabrey doesn't cut it as a lethal wench with an attitude. British lenser David Tattersall, who shot "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999) and "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" (2005) gives this lackluster actioneer a sense of magnitude with his splendid widescreen cinematography. Solid but second-rate from fade-in to, fadeout, "xXx: State of the Union" gets by on bits and pieces.

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A sequel that killed the franchise for a decade but still sort of fun

Author: swilliky from United States
21 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The action spy sequel returned without its leading man as Xander Cage was reportedly killed. The NSA is under attack and Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) is a prime target as men from his old team are being murdered. He recruits a new member to the xXx program, Darius Stone (Ice Cube), a marine lieutenant from Gibbons old team that was imprisoned. After arranging an escape, Gibbons informs Stone of the new scheme. Stone uses his training and ability at extreme transportation to steal information and elude the authorities.

Agent Kyle Steel (Scott Speedman) is on his tale as Stone finds himself quickly on the wrong side of the law and questioning of authority. A plot is revealed that the Secretary of Defense George Deckert (Willem Dafoe) is eliminated the team members and changing the direction of the country. These movies are never about the plot but State of the Union spends a significant amount of time on the political intrigue and Ice Cube's espionage.

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Not as bad as everyone makes it sound like..

Author: adonis98-743-186503 from Greece
19 January 2017

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Darius Stone, a new agent in the XXX program, is sent to Washington, DC to defuse a power struggle amongst national leaders. Although Vin Diesel doesn't return for the sequel his replacement Mr. Ice Cube actually surprised me a lot, Willem Dafoe, Samuel L. Jackson and Scott Speedman were actually good and overall this isn't as bad as i thought it was it's actually a pretty good decent action movie and i think that it had way more action than the first but i still like Xander Cage more than Darius Stone. Guys in the end XXX: State of the Union is not a masterpiece but it's not a horrible movie either it does have some pretty bad cgi here and there and some over the top moments but it's an action movie so what did you expect? So just buy lots of pop corn and enjoy this movie for what it is.

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Action sequel swaps integrity for excitement

Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
6 December 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I wasn't the world's biggest fan of the original xXx, mainly because I can't stand Vin Diesel, the biggest plank of wood to grace a modern cinema screen. When I heard he wouldn't be returning for this sequel, I was overjoyed; however, this film is much the same as the last one, and not in a good way. It's cheesy, preposterous and frequently unbelievable; if you don't mind these things you'll probably enjoy it. I know I did.

Ice Cube is the miscast anti-hero of the film, and to be honest he's not a very interesting character; then again, his scripted lines are all cheesy. His only real outstanding scene is the bit where he breaks out of prison, where you get the feeling he's a real powerhouse. He kind of fades away after that. The rest of the film follows a pseudo James Bond-style plot, with lots of chases and stormings of buildings; there's a neat speedboat bit, some cool car chases and more. The flimsy plot involves a corrupt Secretary of Defence attempting to take over the White House with his own private army, and Willem Dafoe pops up, typecast once again as the sneering villain – but then he is good at it.

This film's action pushes the boundaries of the low certificate, and there are some really brutal fight sequences with cracking sound effects – the kind you hear in a violent Jet Li flick. Samuel L. Jackson has always been good value for money, and he's given a slightly bigger role in this sequel, although he's still not in it much; still, he makes his character imposing and cool, as always. The ending, with the kidnapped president on the bullet train, is even cheesier than the ending of UNDER SIEGE 2! The CGI effects of the train and car make this look like a computer game, similar to weak moments in I, ROBOT. It's still fun, though; just disengage your brain, as, like TRANSPORTER 2, this is a modern Hollywood blockbuster that swaps integrity for excitement.

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Political Thriller

Author: Hollywood_Yoda from Outside Hollywood
20 August 2016

True, it's nothing at all like the first installment starring Vin Diesel. However, viewed on its own, the film isn't at all that bad.

It's actually a gritty political thriller about a deranged Secretary of Defense trying to become president of the United States through a coup d'état. Willem Dafoe plays the part of the Secretary of Defense mightily well. I have my thoughts and reservations about Ice Cube playing the new XXX. And Samuel L. Jackson as Gibbons was not his best role.

Not the best political thriller around, and nowhere near the popularity of a Jerry Bruckheimer film, but if Plan 9 from Outer Space has a fan base, there's hope.

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I actually liked this movie (more than the first one)

Author: sully-woodley from Birmingham, England
19 July 2016

It was okay. Nothing special. I'm not going to defend it's faults by any means, but I thought there was less of them than the first movie. I prefer Ice Cube to Vintage Diesel also and thought his ex navy seal character was better than vins adrenaline junkie. The action was watchable too. It's one of the guilty pleasure movies. There direction was pretty good and the soundtrack fits.I think, to be honest maybe I like it because nobody else does but there ya go. Maybe some of the other reviewers were expecting too much? Who knows. I can think of a couple of movies worse than this, for example Die Another Day. So yeah I do have the DVD and yeah I stick it on once a year or so.

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High budget crap

Author: Wolfgangalexander-s from Belgium
19 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is the exact definition of what i hate about American cinema. 113 million dollars (wich is the exact budget of this movie) for making a movie about.. stuff..and explosions.. and black rappers (or actors in that case) saying the most black things ever in a movie without any content or originality. The movie wants to be an awesome an cool action genre roller-coaster.. but it fails miserably to give that feeling to the audience.. with the most flat/cliché dialogues and the most absurd situations and scenes i've ever seen (Blowing up the white house at the end). Maybe it sounded all awesome and cool on paper.. but the scenario has no consistency and doesn't build a believable climax... everything feels random. I guess this is another movie part of the enormous 'vague' of shitty American movies of the 2000's. Movies that are a copy (or sequels) of other movies you saw once on a Sunday night ... but a lot worse .

And why the f**ck is Willem Defoe in that movie ? You're a good actor don't embarrass yourself. And Samuel Jackson.. well were used to seeing him in bad movie Only good point : the fights are OK and very enjoyable when you're high.


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xXx-cruciatingly bad. This sequel crashes into a brick wall and burns.

Author: The Grand Master from Australia
24 January 2015

The first xXx was very ordinary and far fetched with Vin Diesel. The sequel xXx 2: The Next Level is no better, in fact it is worse than the first movie. xXx 2 takes the series to a new level, that ends any chance of any further sequels. Despite the fact Vin Diesel (wisely) does not return, instead Ice Cube is the replacement lead. Though Vin Diesel has some charisma about him, Ice Cube is very unconvincing in the lead action role. He is better in supporting roles, and his character is repulsive and with an attitude problem. He spends the entire movie looking angry. Perhaps he was thinking what was he doing in this rubbish.

Samuel L. Jackson and Willem Dafoe can't redeem this movie at all. Samuel L. Jackson seemed wasted in the first movie and although he gets more screen time in the sequel, he still appears to be useless. Willem Dafoe came across as an evil tyrant who is missing his trademark villainous laugh. It also looks as if they did this movie purely for the money.

Although the first movie was meant to be nonsensical eye candy the doesn't bother with the story, the sequel was purely aimed for teenagers who get a thrill out of seeing stunts and explosions galore and to hell with the story and all logic.

I was very glad when the movie ended, unfortunately that was a waste of 101 minutes. Looks like all hopes for a further franchise ended with this dud of a sequel.


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wrong way to build a franchise

Author: SnoopyStyle
3 January 2015

A secret underground NSA bunker is attacked and Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) barely escapes. Sixteen agents are killed. Gibbons selects prison inmate Darius Stone (Ice Cube) as the new XXX agent. Stone escapes from prison with Gibbons' help and meets up with his crime partner Zeke (Xzibit) and ex-girlfriend Lola Jackson (Nona Gaye). Stone has to go back to the NSA bunker to retrieve a computer drive while being guarded by agent Kyle Steele (Scott Speedman). General Deckert (Willem Dafoe) is behind the scheme to heighten the threat to the nation. Stone was in prison for hitting him and now he's the Secretary of Defense.

Simply put, this franchise misses Vin Diesel. This is no way to build a new franchise. The plot never really matters in these. The first one wasn't a work of genius. It was Vin Diesel playing around in ridiculous Bond plus adventures. The plot is as overblown and incoherent as the first one. I don't have any major problems with Ice Cube. He brings a completely different vibe. That's not really the important point. The important point is he's different. Anyways, he's not better by any means.

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