REVIEW: XXX

CAST

Vin Diesel (Riddick)
Asia Argento (Marie Antoinette)
Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
Marton Csokas (Sin City 2)
Michael Roof (The Dukes of Hazzard)
Richy Müller (The Poll Diaries)
Werner Daehn (Speed Racer)
Tom Everett (Die Hard 2)
Danny Trejo (Machete)
Thomas Ian Griffith (Vampires)
Eve (With This Ring)
William Hope (Slumber)

An NSA mission to collect information on Anarchy 99, a mercenary group of former Russian soldiers goes awry when the agent’s identity is discovered. Anarchy 99 has a biochemical weapon named “Silent Night,” missing since the fall of the Soviet Union, and NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons believes the only way to get close is to recruit an agent that would not have any ties to the United States government or any formal training that Anarchy 99 would recognise. He selects Xander Cage, also known as X, an extreme sports professional and host of his own television show, who was recently captured by the FBI for stealing and destroying a prominent California senator’s car as an act of protest. Gibbons puts Cage through two tests– stopping a staged diner robbery and escaping from a drug cartel’s plantation in Colombia during an army raid, each test seeing Cage demonstrate both his physical and psychological skills as he both defeats his foes and rapidly assesses the situation before him– and offers Cage the mission. Cage is convinced to accept the mission after Gibbons uses a carrot/stick technique, with a clean slate as the carrot and a prison sentence as the stick.Xander goes to Prague and meets with the NSA support team including Czech agent Milan Sova, who explains that Cage is only in Prague because Gibbons had put pressure on Sova and if he does anything wrong, he will be deported back to America. Cage flips this show of authority by saying that he doesn’t want to be there and pointing out that he’s never been under anyone’s jurisdiction. While scouting an Anarchy 99 party, Xander purposely reveals Sova’s cover, which allows him to gain the confidence of Anarchy 99’s leader, Yorgi. Through Yorgi’s brother Kolya, who is a fan of Cage’s show, Xander gains critical information on the military background of Anarchy 99’s members. Xander is attending a car deal with Yorgi at his invitation when Sova shows up and starts a firefight. Xander shoots Sova with a fake blood-splatter round to make it look like he is dead, which causes Yorgi to fully accept Xander as a member of Anarchy 99. Xander returns with Yorgi to their headquarters, a castle outside of the city, where he meets Yorgi’s girlfriend Yelena. Xander finds Yelena trying to break into Yorgi’s safe and, taking her to a nearby restaurant, tells her he is an American agent. Yelena gets a call from Kirill, a sniper working for Yorgi, who reveals they know of Xander’s true identity before he starts firing on them. Yelena and Cage work together to help each other escape by staging a fight between them, which results in Cage knocking Yelena out with a serving tray. Cage is then kidnapped by the NSA team and taken to Gibbons, who tells Xander to return home since his cover is blown, but Xander refuses as he fears for Yelena’s safety from both Yorgi and a planned attack on the castle by special forces. Xander learns that Sova purposely blew his cover.Xander sneaks back to the castle and overhears Yorgi’s plans to equip a waterborn drone named Ahab with “Silent Night” to release the biochemical in the middle of every major city, starting with Prague. Yorgi tests the weapon on his scientists, killing them. Xander rescues Yelena from Yorgi and kills Kolya. At a safehouse, Yelena explains she is an FSB agent, working undercover to get close to Yorgi two years ago, but six months after the start of the operation, her contacts abandoned her. Xander organises the rest of the NSA team in Prague for an assault on Yorgi’s castle. Xander himself jumps out of a plane and snowboards to a nearby monitoring station which Anarchy 99 uses to secure the castle and destroys it by starting an avalanche, but is captured by Yorgi’s forces. Xander is taken back to Yorgi, who reveals he has captured Yelena again and has known about her true identity all along. As the special forces attack starts, Xander and Yelena use the opportunity to escape, killing Kirill and Yorgi, who already launched Ahab towards the center of Prague. Xander alerts Gibbons, who has the Czech military prepare to destroy the Ahab via airstrikes with the unfortunate side effect of releasing some of the biochemical agent. Xander harpoons Ahab from the car, grabs the hard drive containing the priming and targeting information and flips one of the primed bio-warheads, causing the drone to sink underwater. Xander is rescued from the freezing river and Gibbons promises Yelena American citizenship. Xander and Yelena are relaxing in Bora Bora when Gibbons calls, telling him there is another mission. Xander ignores him and goes with Yelena.XXX is a good film, and is moderately entertaining, though considerably too long; trimmed to 95 minutes or so, it could have been an even more decent movie.