xXx Return of Xander Cage movie review: Deepika Padukone is real winner of this Vin Diesel actioner

xXx Return of Xander Cage movie review: Deepika Padukone as Vin Diesel’s leading lady kicks butt, kisses with aplomb and still keeps her accent Indian. But, what about the film itself?

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Written by Jyoti Sharma Bawa | New Delhi | Updated: January 19, 2017 11:13 am
xXx Return of Xander Cage, xXx Return of Xander Cage film, xXx Return of Xander Cage cast xXx Return of Xander Cage movie review: Vin Diesel returns as Xander Cage in the series that’s back to its basics. Deepika Padukone leaves no fan disappointed.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage movie director: D. J. Caruso
xXx: Return of Xander Cage movie cast: Vin Diesel, Deepika Padukone, Ruby Rose, Samuel L Jackson, Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa

The review of xXx: Return of Xander Cage has to begin with Deepika Padukone in India. Vin Diesel will just have to wait. So here goes: Deepika Padukone is not an after-thought in xXx, neither is she an arm candy for Vin Diesel’s X aka Xander Cage. And mercifully, her Indian identity is not pushed down our throats even though she bravely keeps her accent desi. In fact, as far as xXx has a leading lady, it is she. Deepika matches Vin kick for kick and knife fight for knife fight. She can throw grenades with the best of them and can rescue herself, thank you very much. And she does it all while wearing leather minis (none of those horrendous fur capes that Xander Cage insists on wearing and thank God for that). There is a kiss too, but to get the details, wait for the film when it releases on Saturday.

WATCH VIDEO | xXx Premiere: Deepika, Performs ‘Lungi Dance’ With Hollywood Star Vin Diesel, Ranveer, Shahid Shower Wishes

Now with the factitious question of the importance xXx gives to Deepika out of the way, here’s moving on to the film. xXx: Return of Xander Cage continues the tradition of the past two xXx films and is run-of-the-mill action Hollywood produced so relentlessly in the 80s. It has macho men playing with fire power, happily doling out their own brand of justice and not worrying about collateral damage. Logic and script are part of that aforementioned collateral but that never stopped fans from lining up in front of theatres before and it will not stop them now. Who needs logic when you can have knife fights, bike chases, machine gun mayhem and mid-air stunts? And in this particular field, xXx and director DJ Caruso outdo themselves.

Also read | Ranveer Singh arrives to cheer for Deepika Padukone, says extremely proud of her

The film’s problems are its villains. They are such caricatures that it is hard to believe they pose threat to anyone, least of all our world. In fact, one is left wondering if it was worth bringing Xander Cage out of retirement when he was doing so well fixing TV signals and romancing leggy beauties. And then there is the Pandora’s Box that looks like those old video cassettes. But then, xXx audience knew what it is going for, an over-the top actioner that doesn’t demand you use your grey cells. Grab a bag of popcorn and see some ass being kicked.

From hand-to-hand combat to gunfights, from chases to underwater stunts, and one aboard a plane that is about to crash (oh you clichéd, clichéd scene), there is nothing that the film doesn’t try its hands at.

WATCH VIDEO | Watch Vin Diesel Enjoys Cutting Chai With Deepika Padukone

In fact, the film probably has more stunts than it has dialogues and that is a good idea. For the dialogues it does have are rather liberal in the cheesy department. The film lays it thick and it lays it often. Here is a sample: After a bevy of beauties have their way with him in exchange for info, Xander says he had gone ‘undercover’. Geddit?

Here’s taking a stab at xXx: Return of Xander Cage story: A new tech that can bring down satellites in the form of raging balls of fire on our planet has been stolen. Some of the world’s most powerful men and women are killed while discussing this piece of tech, unsubtly called Pandora’s box, by people who know their acrobatics and martial arts. The only one who can save the earth is, of course, Vin Diesel’s Xander Cage. This time, he is up against his own and a villain who gets less time than back-up dancers in a Bollywood movie.

Watch | xXx: Return of Xander Cage | Trailer

xXx doesn’t hide its genesis. With xXx in 2002, Vin Diesel tried his hand at a starring role where villains were ridiculous, dialogues were corny and action was a throwback to when ‘men were men’ (read Neanderthal). In 2017, he still dislikes too much gadgetry and is in favour of taking things in his own hands and ridiculing the establishment in the process. The third iteration of the series sees Vin Diesel back at the helm of affairs (State of Nation had Ice Cube as the film’s star). After dismissing an elite team chosen for him by the government and its reps, Vin’s Xander brings out his pail of misfits to fight. He mocks the gadgetry and tags it as a waste of money.

His villains are nameless and faceless ‘establishment’ whose reasons are never clear but they want to destroy us and our way of life. Vin’s Xander is a man’s man, one of us. He will fight the powerful guys and bring them down purely with his muscle power and derring-do. Nobody won such wars by kowtowing to rules and being politically correct. “Kick some a**, get the girl and look dope while doing it,” is Samuel L Jackson’s message to him and Vin agrees that he can do that. The fact that xXx: Return of Xander Cage is releasing in the US on the same day Donald Trump has his inauguration as the President is a pure coincidence, or is it?

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