An Overdose Of Excess

A new star is born.

Everybody thinks "XXX" is an adrenalin rush of super stunts, loud music and plenty of booty. Everybody knows right.

This is such a power packed dynamo that it convinces you that "x" is more than an elusive factor in mathematics; it's the universal crossbones of excess.

Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is a man that defies all: authority, life and gravity (in that curious order). He performs breakneck stunts that earn him a global fan club and earns his wages by selling videos of his dares. His is a life of heavy metal, rave and skulls on skin. Until the National Security Agency pinpoints him as the next undercover agent that must crack the code of a mob in Prague that goes by the name Anarchy99. Tried and tested several times by veteran agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel Jackson), he agrees to the assignment and finds himself among people who share his edge. He’s got to accumulate dope on Anarchy99 and find a way to stop the fatal experiment birthing in their castle.

A definitely routine storyline, its only saving grace is the volume of stunts and sounds that pump the winning enzymes into this package. Wry humour breaks the otherwise deadpan dialogue, and Vin Diesel has proven his mettle as an action star with a square jaw. Samuel L Jackson is unhappily below mark, with the cogency of cardboard.

You won’t see too many action films with cerebrally challenging potions, yet as long as they can entertain you for the given time, they pass muster. This does more - the action sequences are awesome, though one gets the feeling that many situations are created to accommodate the engineered action scene. Vin Diesel is hugely likeable with an attitude that balances the amusing with the high-octane. Actress Asia Argento, who plays Yelena, the gang lord’s girlfriend, pulls it off with equal measures of coldness and concern.

This article was first published on 17 Oct 2002.