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xXx
DVD disk
10.07.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
xXx order
Director:
Rob Cohen

Actors:
Vin Diesel
Asia Argento
Samuel L. Jackson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
An underground extreme sports nut (Diesel) gets forced by the National Security Agency to help investigate some potential terrorists as a secret agent. He gets into all kinds of trouble and his bad attitude gets him out of it.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This is both one of the stupidest and funnest movies that I've seen in a while. Why stupid? Because the complete detachment with all logic, reality and laws of physics begins from its opening credits and doesn't stop until your screen goes black. Why fun? Well... pretty much for the same reason. Diesel kicks his usual ass as Xander Cage, a rogue extreme athlete who videotapes his wild stunts and sells them to underground websites. He also demonstrates that it is not required of Hollywood to be a good actor in order to entertain the pants off the crowds. He's joined in his little escapades by ultra-sexy Euro-import Asia Argento, who also doesn't need to do much to entertain the pants off crowds (or me, for that matter!) Martin Csokas, who plays the main evildoer Yorgi also comes through aces with the only knock on the casting side, being yet another boring appearance by Samuel L. Jackson for whom I've never had any particular affinity.

This film is truly defined by its endless parade of wild stunts and while not one of them could be accomplished in reality (even in a weightless environment), they do make for many ooh's and aah's and since they never stop, you don't really even have time to wonder how they could even be thought of, much less completed. The flick also has some pretty good lines, most of them courtesy of Diesel and an overall look of "extreme" coolness (I'm not sure how much value the word "extreme" has anymore considering I had "extreme coffee", "extreme" chocolate bar and came home using my "extreme" train pass. If everything is extreme...isn't it really as if nothing was extreme? But I digress...). There's also a plot about some bomb or something, but I must admit it was of very little concern to me. Overall though, this is a fun flick if you're able to completely shut your brain off for a couple of hours and if you're in the mood for some wild stunts, loud music and louder gunshots.
THE EXTRAS
Lots of stuff on this to sink your teeth in although much of it is pretty lightweight.

Full-length audio commentary by director Rob Cohen: I remember enjoying Cohen's commentary on THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, but I must admit that he left me a bit dry in the mouth this time around and managed to come off as very pretentious. He kept going on and on about "re-inventing the secret-agent genre"... DUDE! You're making a film about a guy tossing hand-grenades while snowboarding down a mountain! Get real!

"xXx: A Filmmaker's Diary" (25 minutes): This is the result of the work of a documentary crew hired by Cohen to follow him around during the entire shoot in both pre-production and post. It was actually pretty insightful but again, Cohen went on about how important this project was. The man is really delusional about this film's "meaning". This film has no meaning for the pity's sake! I don't want to think about the film's meaning because if I do, I'll shut it off after two minutes! If you're going to ask me to shut my brain off, don't expect me to turn it back on when you start talking about it! Get to the explosion!!!

Featurettes (30 minutes): This was a rather regular group of four featurettes discussing more technical aspects of the film. The first two, "Building Speed: the vehicles of xXx" and "Designing the World of xXx" are run by the production design teams and talk a bit about the whole "look" of the movie. Pretty well done. The third featurette is entitled "Diesel Powered" and is pretty much all about Vin, with interviews conducted with the dude himself and the rest of the cast and crew, including the luscious Argento.

Now I mentioned there were four featurettes but that isn't entirely true... the fourth one is entitled "The GTO is back" and appears listed as a special feature on the back of the box and in the menu, but here's where it all goes wrong: it's a fucking Pontiac commercial!!!! Don't get me wrong, I love Pontiac's automobiles. I drive a Pontiac automobile myself, but when someone pays for a fucking DVD, they don't want advertising on it!! Memo to the studios: you can get your money from advertisers, or you can get money from customers but don't friggin' go double-dipping your sorry chips on my freakin' time! OUT OF LINE!

Now back to business...

Visual effects How to's (5 minutes): Not much substance here, and basically a breakdown of three CGI driven scenes with optional commentary by the visual effects supervisor. Pretty neat, if that's your huckleberry.

Deleted Scenes (25 minutes): Eleven deleted scenes appear on the DVD with optional commentary by Cohen. By this time, I was pretty much fed up with Cohen and matters didn't improve when I heard what he had to say during the deleted Sam Jackson scene. Listen to him refer to "lesser" actors... man...get off your high horse dude! They're only there because you directed them to! The scenes themselves are quite decent.

The rest is throwaway stuff such as a music video by Gavin Rossdale for a tune called "Adrenaline", filmographies and the theatrical trailer.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
This movie is made with only one purpose in mind: to give the viewer a loud, fast and chaotic adrenaline rush and at that...it succeeds! Don't expect any witty dialogue or a brilliant plot and don't expect to be able to reproduce the stunts you see on your screen. Just sit back, make some popcorn, sit on your couch and return it to the video store when you're done. You won't regret it.
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