xXx Return of Xander Cage review: They do grapple in zero gravity and amidst heavy Detroit traffic, though, all in the name of keeping this super-secretive super-surveillance government tool under the radar.




xXx Return of Xander Cage cast: Vin Diesel, Toni Collette, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann


xXx Return of Xander Cage director: D J Caruso



xXx Return of Xander Cage rating: 0.5


Nothing good ever came out of a hair style as severe as Toni Collette’s super-secretive, something-something US spy official Jane Marke. However, every actress, and especially one as talented as Collette, deserves a chance to rock some leather and swing a gun in a Hollywood masala.




Certainly Deepika Padukone seems to be holding her own in that department. For, if leather and guns are the prerequisites of Return of Xander Cage, the Bollywood actor stands heads, shoulders and smouldering lips above them all.


Even for Deepika, that’s not as easy as it sounds. Return of Xander Cage comes 12 years after the last xXx, and it takes 12 minutes to show it is coasting on little b u t Diesel’s not-inconsiderable charm. To get in a few bullets, kicks, and some seconds staring at a computer with a chance to save the world, like Deepika does, is an achievement.



The explanation for the 12-year gap is that Cage (Diesel), an extreme sports enthusiast-turned-reluctant spy for the National Security Agency, finally had enough and dropped out of the XXX programme, and was presumed dead. Given how Marke says it’s almost impossible for anyone to stay hidden in the world now, it’s inconceivable how Cage goes unnoticed doing stuff such as rigging cable networks to earn himself filmstar-like adulation and gorgeous women in the Dominican Republic — not to say while sporting that big xXx tattoo.



When she decides to, Marke quickly traces Cage there, and as easily convinces him to fly away with her. A gang, including Deepika’s Serena, has stolen from the super-secretive government agency that Marke works for, a super-superveillance tool that controls satellites and what not — enough for a “global paradigm shift” — and looks exactly like your average set-top box (what are the chances this unfortunate resemblance was pointed out to the filmmakers?). It is called ‘Pandora’s Box’, and it is not a box.





While recruiting Cage, Marke does call out to his patriotism. To which he replies that patriotism is dead now, and there are just “tyrants” and “rebels” — before going on to demand that the giant government aircraft at their disposal halt at London for him to, among other things, pick up his fur coat.



This and that happens, along the course of which Cage assembles a team that includes a woman saving a lion somewhere in Africa from arrow-shooting rich Western tourists (yes, Cedric, xXx is there for you too), and a DJ “who dated Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga in one night”. After the Dominican Republican, women in London and the Philippines (where Cage’s and Serena’s paths cross) fall for Cage’s charms. Soon after Cage, Serena and her bum chum Xiang (Yen) have played a game of ‘pass around a grenade’, a group of surprise attackers is subdued by Cage, who dubs them, for no reason at all, Leningrad, Igor, Ivan and the “other Ivan” — for who needs to think of a fourth Russian name?




It’s clear where all this is headed, and Cage hurtles his xXx gang towards the inevitable conclusion sans any surprises (even the celeb footballer makes a cameo right at the start) and sans any jaw-dropping fights. They do grapple in zero gravity and amidst heavy Detroit traffic, though, all in the name of keeping this super-secretive super-surveillance government tool under the radar.




There is some talk of civil liberties and super governments, but since the solution of the guy who is doing it is crashing satellites from space into unsuspecting people, it is hard to say who they are — patriots, tyrants or rebels.




Talking of talk, Deepika strikes a few jarring notes with her accent. However, who else will get to speak to Diesel in that South Indian twang before going on to plant a confident kiss on his lips? A good enough patriot?











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