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Big, dumb times call for big, dumb movies, and they don’t come much bigger or dumber than “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.”

That’s not necessarily a slight. “xXx” is big and dumb and proud of it, and it’s a total goof through and through. There’s a little bit of “Deadpool’s” self-awareness in its DNA, and it’s filtered through the lens of every action movie ever made.

The result is a winking, preening action extravaganza starring that most lovable of big, dumb lugs, Vin Diesel, and an international cast of cronies (including Toni Collette!) built to appeal to as many foreign box office markets as possible. The mission, as put so well by squad leader Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson): kick some (rear end), get the girl and try to look dope while doing it. (If the message sounds familiar, it will probably be America’s new slogan in a matter of days.)

Diesel returns as Xander Cage, a super specimen from the xXx program, which turns extreme athletes into special agents. He’s after an all-powerful device called Pandora’s Box (Action Movie Law says all-powerful devices must be called Pandora’s Box) and is in a race against another group of agents to get it, and they end up in Detroit. (The film was shot in Toronto, with Detroit exteriors zapped in.)

The stunts are ludicrous — come for Xander skiing through the jungle, stay for him surfing big waves on his motorcycle — and the film’s breathless pacing turns exhausting. But darned if it isn’t a whole lot of stupid fun that feels incredibly timely. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

@grahamorama

‘xXx:

The Return of Xander Cage’

GRADE: B

Rated PG-13: for extended sequences of gunplay and violent action, and for sexual material and language

Running time: 107 minutes

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