Vin Diesel’s “xXx:The Return of Xander Cage” is the movie equivalent of cotton candy: all empty calories. Excessive consumption of this product is likely to give a body the queasies.
And believe me, “xXx” is all about excess. As in: excess of crazed stunts — watch Diesel ski through a jungle, watch him plummet from a plane without a parachute and live — automatic weaponry and massive explosions, and slim young beauties in skimpy outfits undulating sinuously to rave-club music.
Lots and lots of tattoos. The majority of them adorning the epidermis of Diesel. The guy’s carrying more ink than the Magna Carta.
Coming in close second in the movie’s equal-opportunity-ink-for-all ethos is a green-haired sniper lady played by Ruby Rose, who’s a member of the Diesel character’s extreme sports/secret agent/multinational (for the all-important international market, don’t you know) kick-butt commando squad who fly around the world kicking, ah, butt.
Diesel & Co. are hunting high and low for a super-duper high-tech gizmo with the power to crash satellites into select targets. The thing looks like a outsize plastic TV clicker. Lame.
A mirror-image squad of extreme sports evildoers led by Donnie Yen battle Diesel’s people until alliances shift and everyone winds up shooting it out with armies of extras in military uniforms who obligingly present themselves for obliteration in massive firefights, including one in which everyone is floating around in zero gravity.
It all makes less than no sense.
xXx: The Return of Xander Cage
☆ out of 5
Cast: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette, Tony Jaa.
Director: D.J. Caruso.
Running time: 1:47.
Rated: PG-13, for extended sequences of gunplay and violent action, and for sexual material and language.