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xXx: State of the Union Review

Published May 3, 2005 in Movie Review
By Vince Palomarez | Images property of Columbia Pictures
XXX: State of the Union Ice Cube is the new XXX... and that girl is hot.
I love 80's action films. For some reason back then people used to think that one man, whether it was Schwarzenegger or Stallone, could be dropped in a war zone and they would take care of business. Yeah, sure it seems really corny and unbelievable, but when I started looking at these movies as comedies a whole new world opened up to me. What's funnier than Schwarzenegger talking his rival in to a knife fight when his enemy has a gun pointed at him from point blank range? Or when Stallone comes home from work after taking care of business the first thing he decides to do is polish his gun. For awhile though these films fell out of popularity and they slowly began to disappear. The day of the Van Damme's, Schwarzenegger's and Stallone's was over and action films started to get more serious and deal with average Joes saving the day.

xXx: State of the Union Review

I had pretty much given up hope on seeing these corny action films until 2002 when the first XXX was released. This film had it all crazy unrealistic stunts, really bad acting and a super terrorist group bent on world domination. It was a film written and directed by men in their late 30's and 40's who were trying to make a film appeal to a teen audience. You can tell how good they did in the opening scene as xXx steals a corvette owned by a senator who is opposed to "rap music and video games", jumps it off a bridge only to have his friends (and "xtreme" sports superstars) Tony Hawk and Matt Hoffman waiting to pick him up. It was this kind of corniness that made this film one of the funniest films I had seen in awhile. So when I heard that they were making a sequel of xXx, my eyes lit up at the potential comedy a sequel had to offer. And after seeing xXx: State of the Union I'm sad to say I will still be waiting.

XXX: State of the Union Sameul L Jackson [window] is one of the few who return from the original.
Bringing back only 2 characters from the original xXx(Samuel L. Jackson as Agent Gibbons and Michael Roof as Toby Shavers the "tech guy"), State of the Union really separates itself from the original right off the bat with Samuel L. proclaiming in the opening scene, "We need a new XXX. No surfers/skaters/snowboarders, we need someone with more attitude." Well they do get the attitude covered, but they fail on pretty much everything else. By trying to separate itself from the original it becomes nothing more than a generic action film.

It seemed like they just got the generic action film template: "Person A" must reconcile his differences with his former friend "Person B" so they can stop a presidential assassination masterminded by their former superior who they have a grudge against. If you've seen this story line before odds are you'll know exactly what happens in this sequel.

XXX: State of the Union Samuel L and Ice Cube take out the bad guys and blow shit up.
While the action scenes are very fast paced and quite funny (one scene in particular has xXx (Ice Cube) jumping a boat off a ramp in the water and onto a bridge crushing a cop car that's after his friend) this film drags badly when xXx isn't beating up people or racing a tank like it's sports car. The writers do nothing to spice up the generic story they are writing and instead rely on stereotypical racial jokes.

Final Judgment: By distancing itself from the original, XXX: State of the Union can't seem to find its identity and in the end becomes just another action film. Ice Cube puts in a lot of effort, but just doesn't have the star power to carry this all by himself. He doesn't get a lot of help from Jackson or Scott Speedman who both seem like they just want the paycheck. If you walk into XXX: State of the Union with no expectations and try to look at it for the comedy it truly is you won't curse yourself for paying money for it. But if you're looking for a good action film go rent something from the 80's, you're better off.

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Vince Palomarez
Sources: Images property of Columbia Pictures

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