A stiff American lady announces, “We need someone who
can walk into a tornado and come out the other side like it was a gentle
The American authorities need Xander Cage. He returns
from the dead, skis down dry slopes and skates over the side of a bus. And in
what’s supposed to be kickass manly, he has one woman in bed and others hitting
on him. But the stiff American lady boss wants him for an assignment. Pandora’s
Box, a gadget that brings satellites hurtling down to earth, must be retrieved
from a lethal group that has dared to get its hands on it.
But are the American authorities the right people to
be in its possession? Or are they tyrants too, masquerading as patriots?
With that slim unsubstantial storyline, switch off as
motorbikes, guns, explosions and a pilotless plunging plane create screen
mayhem. The action is so desperate to be high adrenaline that it turns tacky.
Watch Adele, an ace shooter’s technically inferior introduction with a lion,
for proof of director DJ Caruso’s sloppy work.
And there’s no writing to speak of. Everybody’s ultimately bad except for Xander and the team he’s put
together. At the end, if he’s taken on the world to destroy the gadget that
could be misused, cocky Xander wouldn’t want it any other way.
In this kick-n-tell chaos where only Vin Diesel’s
brawn counts, where’s our very own Deepika Padukone? She’s a part of Xander’s
team, one among four or five women who’ve all got predictable little parts to
play. It’s hardly what one could call a grand Hollywood debut either in terms
of importance or her performance.
In this unintelligently assembled action film, there’s
what the writers probably thought was a great ending: Xander’s not the only one
who’s not dead. But it’s too pat and too flat to spring a surprise. There are
also lines like, “The world would be wonderful if we didn’t do bad shit.” Oh
yes, it would be wonderful if we didn’t make such lousy films either.
For a film that doesn’t add any value to the
franchise, XXX: Return of Xander Cage
gets a 2* rating.
Bharathi S Pradhan
Columnist, Critic & Author