XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

"Superspy Returns but Jesus Saves"

Quality:
Content: -2 Discretion advised for adults.
NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

What You Need To Know:

TRIPLE X: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE [aka “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”] stars Vin Diesel as the title character, a former superspy. A big ladies man, ala James Bond, Mr. Cage is called back into action when some super-thieves steal a computer device that can take over other computers to create havoc and murder people. Cage assembles his special team of Triple X spies to find the thieves and retrieve the device, nicknamed Pandora’s Box. What ensues is a series of surprising twists and lots of gunfights, fistfights and derring-do.

Except for several action scenes and some fighting, Triple X: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE is a bit clunky in the beginning. It has some smug dialogue and lacks a solid villain until the first couple plot twists. Once the plot twists start, the movie becomes more entertaining and leads to a nice finish. Overall, RETURN OF XANDER CAGE has a light moral worldview, some shots against big government, and positive references to Jesus. However, it’s marred by pagan elements, including plenty of foul language, brief innuendo and some very strong, intense violence.

Content:

(B, Pa, FR, PC, Acap, ACAC, CC, Ho, LLL, VVV, S, N, A, MM) Light moral worldview from what seems to be a libertarian perspective that’s marred by some immoral, hedonistic pagan antinomianism (for instance, the title hero is shown to be a “ladies man” like a mixed race, multicultural James Bond), mixed with some politics of envy against billionaires but which focuses mostly, however, on the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely so the movie opposes big government and large surveillance systems of citizens, and strong Christian content in one scene during the happy ending during a funeral in a large church where a choir vigorously sings “Oh Happy Day,” the song about Jesus washing our sins away, and several of the hero’s compadres (especially one man) are shown really getting into and celebrating the Christological sentiment in the song, plus a crude homosexual innuendo; about 58 obscenities (including one “f” word), three GD profanities and four light exclamatory profanities (such as OMG); lots of very strong, strong and light violence, but only slightly bloody, includes a high body count, many people are shot dead in gunfights, a sniper shoots a villain in the head, and the slightly bloody bullet hole is shown, a grenade explodes in front of one man, some other explosions include a couple satellites are taken over and aimed toward Earth to explode and kill some human target(s), many martial arts kicks and punches during several fight scenes, people struggle over objects such as guns and pipes, and a special gadget that’s the movie’s “MacGuffin,” man pushes button on a huge army cargo plane, and people fly out the back along with other things, but they later appear again so somehow they survived, people toss three grenades back and forth in a game of “chicken” they call “hot potato,” two or three other people fly out of a plane during another action sequence, hero climbs a high Cable TV tower to steal the controls so some poor people can see a major soccer match, hero uses skis to go down a mountain after he steals the Cable TV controls, hero switches to a skateboard on a mountain highway as he races perilously down to the coast to deliver the Cable TV device to “the people,” and man uses grenade launcher to kill henchmen from a villain, who are trying to kill the hero’s team and blame them for a big crime; scenes of implied fornication as hero is shown to be a ladies man (one scene shows hero getting information from a woman, who’s a computer hacker, but who’s been banned from touching a computer so she runs a high class brothel in London, and shortly later a bunch of the scantily clad women come to the hero’s room, but the movie then cuts away to the next morning with the hero leaving, and the women all asleep in the same room), plus woman makes a crude lesbian double entendre that indicates she engages in lesbian behavior; upper male nudity, and some images of scantily clad women, including a couple women in skimpy bikinis during a party scene, and scantily sleeping women are in a room, and two or three of the women have their tops off, but they are lying face down, so nothing explicit is shown (beware of the future uncut DVD version); alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, man steals Cable TV controls so poor people can have Cable access to a major soccer match, good guys are betrayed and ordered to be eliminated, government officials want to control computer device to increase their power in one case or to terrorize the world’s nations into stopping their spying programs in another case.

More Detail:

XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE stars Vin Diesel as the title character, a former superspy and ladies man, who’s called back into action when his former boss is killed by a terrorist using a new computer device that can take over a satellite in the sky to aim it toward Earth to kill one person or multiple people. The movie’s clunky first half, including some smug dialogue written for Mr. Diesel, is saved by unexpected plot twists and some fancy extreme stunts and fighting, but RETURN OF XANDER CAGE also contains plenty of foul language, extreme violence in places, and some sexual innuendo. These negative elements are mixed with some moral elements and a scene with positive overt references to Jesus and the salvation he brings.

The movie opens with the scene where Xander Cage’s old boss, Gibbons, is killed by an exploding satellite deliberately aimed toward him using the new computer device. Then, a white woman, a white man and an Asian man, led by another Asian man, invade CIA headquarters in New York City. They kill a bunch of top spies and steal the computer device, called Pandora’s Box, which the CIA was able to retrieve. The remaining CIA leader, a blonde woman named Jane Marke played by Toni Collette, says they need someone to stop these thieves, “someone who can move like them, fight like them.”

Cut to Xander Cage, who’s been hiding out in the Dominican Republic after being declared dead. Previously, Xander worked with Gibbons, who created the Triple X spy program to stop special threats to the world that Gibbons uncovers or encounters. Marke comes to Xander in the Dominican to recruit his help in finding the thieves and retrieving Pandora’s Box.

“It’s time to be a patriot,” she says.

“There are no more patriots,” Xander replies. “Just rebels and tyrants.”

“Which are you?” she asks.

“I’m Triple X,” he says.

So, Xander answers Marke’s call and assembles his own special team of Triple X spies to find the thieves and retrieve the Pandora’s Box device, which can also control other computer systems, not just satellite systems. What ensues is a series of surprising twists and lots of gunfights, fistfights and other derring-do.

Except for a couple action scenes and some fighting, XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE is a bit clunky in the beginning. Vin Diesel is given a smug attitude with some smug lines of dialogue often meant to be comical or satirical. RETURN OF XANDER CAGE also suffers from having no clear, identifiable villain. For instance, the motive of the thieves who take the Pandora’s Box device is unclear until the first two major plot twists, which create a new villain. After that, another plot twist changes the villain once again.

Now, it may be said that these plot twists are also a bit clunky. However, when they start emerging, the movie becomes more enjoyable, and the action scenes take on more gravitas. Also, Vin Diesel’s lines stop seeming so clunky because they appear more integrated into the movie’s story development. Ultimately, RETURN OF XANDER CAGE has some pretty incredible, fun stunts. Also, Donnie Yen, as the leader of the apparent thieves, throws in some pretty nifty, entertaining moves during the hand-to-hand combat and the gunfight scenes, as do some of the other actors.

Looking at the movie overall, RETURN OF XANDER CAGE has a light moral worldview. Despite the hero’s implied, hedonistic antics as a “ladies man,” a la James Bond, the hero and his team are fighting bad guys, including a couple villains in the government who want to use the Pandora’s Box device for nefarious means. In that sense, the movie seems to reflect a libertarian ideology that opposes big government and that argues the old adage, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Despite this, the movie also contains some politically correct, anti-capitalist elements, especially when the hero steals some Cable TV controls to give some poor people Cable access to a big soccer match. During that sequence, the hero makes a snarky comment against the rich people sitting on the board of the Cable TV company.

Surprisingly, however, the movie’s happy ending includes a Christian funeral scene for the hero’s former boss, set in a large Christian church. In that scene, a fairly large choir vigorously sings the popular song, “Oh Happy Day,” including the lyrics, “Oh happy day, oh happy day, when Jesus washed, when Jesus washed, he washed my sins away.” As this performance continues, one of the hero’s team members really gets excited by the song and sings along happily and loudly. His actions inspire a couple other team members to become emotionally involved too.

That said, XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE does contain plenty of foul language and some extreme, but fairly unbloody, action violence, which includes a high body count. So, with the addition of the movie’s celebration of the hero’s antics as a ladies man, this movie’s negative content warrants extreme caution.

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