xXx: Return of Xander Cage (4k Ultra HD + Blu-Ray)

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6.2

Fair

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (4k Ultra HD + Blu-Ray)
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (4k Ultra HD + Blu-Ray)

Vin Diesel returns to the xXx franchise to provide some explosive, mindless entertainment.

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“VIN DIESEL returns in the most x-treme, x-plosive, and x-hilarating xXx yet! When a group of lethal mercenaries steal a high-tech weapon that poses a global threat, the world needs superspy XANDER CAGE (DIESEL). Recruited back into action, Xander leads a team of death-defying adrenaline junkies on a mission to kick some ass, save the day, and look dope while doing it. Prepare for the high-octane thrill ride critics are calling “A CRAZY STUNT-FILLED ACTION SPECTACULAR!”.”

The film opens as Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) attempts to recruit another member into the team. As he closes the deal, a satellite plummets from Earth’s orbit, devastating the entire area, incinerating everyone caught in the blast. In a secret government meeting, we learn that the cause of the satellite crash was due to a new weapon called Pandora’s Box, which can bypass any security defense and spy on anyone. As the device is discussed in the meeting, an elite team infiltrates the building and steals the box. The team is unlike anything they’ve ever seen, and only one man could possibly track them down and recover such a dangerous piece of technology.

Xander Cage, who has been living off the grid for years, is approached by Jane Marke (Toni Collette) who informs him that Gibbons has been killed and his country needs him. Xander assembles his own team of xXx members who track down the team of mercenaries, only to learn they have more in common with them than they ever would have thought.

Alliances shift while the team continues to search for Pandora’s Box, while struggling to stay alive when things go south in the explosive third act.

xXx: Return of Xander Cage revives a dead franchise for one last shot. With the insane popularity of the Fast and the Furious franchise, you can’t fault the studio for hoping this one catches on with audiences now that Vin Diesel has returned. Although it didn’t perform that well in the United States, the casting of these international superstars definitely gave it legs overseas.

Speaking of the rest of the cast, the inclusion of Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, Khris Wu, Ruby Rose, and Deepika Padukone is the one thing they were sure to get right in the third installment. All of these characters are different enough and have unique backgrounds that make them interesting additions to the team. The introduction of Ruby Rose’s character is, by far, one of my favorite character introductions I’ve seen. Donnie Yen has been one of my favorite action starts since I saw Ip Man, and he is, without a doubt, the best thing about this film. He steals every scene he is in, vastly out-performing everyone else. While Vin Diesel pops a wheelie and hits you with a tire, Donnie Yen will land thirty punches before you can blink. He is a welcomed inclusion in the franchise that I honestly would prefer to have a larger role.

While xXx: Return of Xander Cage doesn’t skimp on the action, it leaves a bit to be desired in terms of writing. It’s a simple premise, and it’s clear that the attention is focused solely on the action, which gets a little out of hand at times. I’m all about seeing something new, but watching motorcycles ride across ocean waves is a bit out there. The target audience is clear, however, and if you are an adrenaline junkie, Red Bull drinking fan of mindless action, this is right up your alley.

There is a fun element to the film with all the tongue in cheek introductions and use of graphics and still frame shots that break the fourth wall. With all the mindless action that is out there these days, this new installment of the xXx franchise has some fun while doing it. If you go in knowing not to expect more than you should, this can be an entertaining film.

Video

The 4k version of xXx: Return of Xander Cage is presented in 2160p Ultra High Definition 2.40:1. With the High Dynamic Range, colors and brightness are exceptional. With a vast array of different settings and locations, colors are really deep and look good contrasted in the different scenes. The picture is exceptionally clear, with no defects noticed in the transfer.

The Blu-Ray version included in this set is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen.

Audio

The audio is presented in Dolby Atmos. Being a pure action film, this track sounds phenomenal. It is well balanced, with huge sound coming from the surrounds in the more action intense scenes, but never drowns out the center channel for dialogue. This is one you’re going to want to turn up a couple notches louder.

Special Features

This set includes both the 4k version and Blu-Ray, with special features located on the latter. There are a couple short featurettes that, despite the short running time, really dive deep into behind the scenes on the making of the film and bringing back Xander Cage into this franchise. On this set you’re going to see:

  • Third Time’s the Charm: Xander Returns
  • Rebels, Tyrants & Ghosts: The Cast
  • Opening Pandora’s Box: On Location
  • I Live for This Sh#t!: Stunts
  • Gag Reel

xXx: Return of Xander Cage revisits a franchise no one thought would ever see the light of day again, or may not have even asked for. Regardless, it bridges the first two films together and adds some great new talent to it. If you’re looking for some mindless entertainment with some great fight scenes, look no further.

Good

  • Cool action.
  • Donnie Yen.

Bad

  • Large focus on action instead of story.
6.2

Fair