Review: XXX: State of the Union

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Ice Cube fans will melt for this action flick, but the rest of us will be just left with our proverbial mouths on the floor.

Why they had to make a sequel to the "roid-pumped" spy flick XXX is beyond me. And further more, why make it at all without Vin Diesel? He was the only reason it made over $200 million the last time.

Early on in the sequel we learn that Diesel's character has been killed off and that a new XXX has been sanctioned by Diesel's old boss, Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson). This time it is an inmate named Darius Stone (Ice Cube), who has a past connected to Gibbons.

It seems that there is a rampant General (Willem Dafoe) who is after the presidency and will stop at nothing to get what he wants, including assassination. Gibbons and Stone have to go off the "grid" and find a way to stop him. When Gibbons is killed, Stone is left on his own. Who will he turn to for support, or will he let the criminal element inside him make him run?

I can safely say that XXX 2 is one of the worst action flicks I have seen in a very long time. Directed by Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day), you really, really know that this director directed a Bond film. The music, action sequences, production design, and overly silent love scenes are all vintage Bond. The insane thing is that the actors, chemistry, plot, and script are all out of films that should star C-grade action stars like Dolph Lundgren, Olivier Gruner, or Michael Dudikoff. Add a couple cheesy kung-fu sequences and this film would have been utterly perfect for Dudikoff.

I couldn't finish this review without talking about the love scenes in this film. Sure, there are love scenes, but they are all just really awful dialogue sequences and maybe if we are lucky there might be a kiss. It's like porn without the, well, porn. They were so bad I just couldn't contain my laughter. At least if Dudikoff was on screen, I could have expected it to be this bad.

I really felt sorry for the great actors like Samuel L. Jackson and Willem Dafoe, who are forced to play roles like these. They reduce poor Jackson to playing this film's version of Col. Trautman (Richard Crenna) from the Rambo flicks. I hope that they don't rope poor Jackson into another one of these.

The only actor I liked in the film was Michael Roof, who plays this franchise's version of Q. The guy is hilarious and eats up dialogue in all his sequences.

When it comes to this sequel, I just have to say that only see it if you are a die-hard Ice Cube fan, but skip it if you're not. (1 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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