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xXx: Return of Xander Cage (3D)


Stars: Vin Diesel, Toni Collette, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann, Kris Wu, Samuel L Jackson, Ice Cube

Director: D J Caruso

Whatever else you might say about this movie, it certainly isn't slow. 107 minutes flash by like 70, as our heroes dispatch innumerable bad guys with foot, fist or good old-fashioned bullet. Director Caruso knows his mighty martial arts cast can't act for toffee, so he just lets them do what they do best - fly through the air and clobber the villains.

A rogue xXx group has been hired to snatch the film's McGuffin, a device that can bring satellites down to earth in fiery fury. With former xXx director Jackson blown to oblivion by one such explosion, new boss Collette sends out agents to bring back top ex-xXx operative Cage (Diesel) from retirement (well, actually the dead, but we'll let that pass).

Getting rid of her proffered goons and assembling his own team, Xander and his group are soon amalgamated with the renegades and moving in on the McGuffin prototype.

No nominations in the major Oscar categories are likely here, but the action is fast, furious and often ingenious, especially a pursuit through surfer-defying waves on motor-bikes that sprout water-skis to run on.

Diesel, whose removal of his shirt is, like much of the action here, distinctly tongue in cheek, is actually quite likeable in this one. And no prizes for guessing who the bad guy turns out to be.

TV viewers may recognise Hermione Corfield, (the hotel manager's daughter from The Halcyon) as a gal who puts a whole harem at Cage's disposal.

David Quinlan

Canada/Australia/USA 2016. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
107 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 Jan 2017