Review by Clint Morris
If the first xXx was a bubbly coke thatd been
shaken, then the sequel is flat lemonade unmoving,
lacking in fizz and largely flavourless.
If any sequel deserved the direct-to-video treatment it was
this one, but after the bank the first film made, its
no surprise that the studio decided to roll the dice again
and hope they came upon another money-spinning winner.
But with original star Vin Diesel opting out of proceedings;
theyve definitely got their work cut out for them.
Which makes it even more astonishing to discover that there
its merely the same-old same-old, only less spectacular.
They may have changed the face, but hes wearing the
same old tattered clothes...
What was done with stunts, is now done with computers; the
splotch of plot the first film encompassed has been excised
by a transitory few lines to drive the film forward, and the
blueprint, about as non-specific as home-brand table salt.
Thankfully, theres the relatively-charismatic and cheeky
Ice Cube hogging the lens, replacing Diesel, and spliced in
between the boring bits, a couple of cool stunts. I stress
- a couple. But was that enough to warrant a sequel?
If Willem Dafoe playing a villain in a sequel where the original
star doesn't return isnt enough to tip you off (hello
Speed 2!), the straightforward synopsis is probably
enough to convince you that this is as by-the-numbers as a
kids activity page.
Here goes: the previous xXx is dead (well, they're
not going to tell you that Vin Diesel wanted a bigger payday,
are they?), and ex-jailbird Darius Stone (Cube) is in.
With the assistance of gadgets-mad Toby (Michael Roof), agent
Kyle Steele (Scott Speedman, of Felicity), and
old pal/recruiter agent Augustus Gibbons (an under-utilised
Samuel L.Jackson), Stones on the case to catch fraudulent
White House local George Deckert (Willem Dafoe, yawn...) before
he can put into practice his plan for World War IV. Yep, four.
Cubes okay as our hero, the stunts are passable (if
not less impressive the bigger they get - the finale, featuring
an out-of-control train looks awful totally created
an I-Mac by the looks) and theres enough smart quips
and slick transport to keep viewers amused, but all in all
xXx 2 is proof that Bonds newbie cousin only
deserved the one jaunt.
Bring on the next 007 at least theyre usually
worth the green.
2 out of 5
Australian release: Thursday 28th of April, 2005
Cast: Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Scott Speedman, Peter
Strauss, Sunny Mabrey.
Director: Lee Tamahori.
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