Fast cars, lots of guns, hand-on-hand combat, huge explosions and little dialogue are all part of the mindless entertainment that is the new movie from Columbia Pictures, XXX: State of the Union.
Included in the cast of characters are rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube as the new XXX, Darius Stone, Samuel L. Jackson as the always-mysterious Gibbs and Willem Dafoe as Secretary of State Deckert.
The movie opens with action as an enemy force kills almost everyone before Gibbs and techno-wizard Toby escape in a souped-up Pontiac GTO, to every car lover’s delight. It is eventually mentioned that the original XXX, Zander Cage — Vin Diesel’s character from the last movie — was killed while on assignment in Bora Bora. No surprise there. So, Gibbs wants a replacement that is more dangerous than the first one.
Cue Ice Cube in a maximum-security military prison, hand and foot-cuffed, being escorted by military police. This XXX is, obviously, more dangerous than the previous one. As it turns out, Stone was a former Navy SEAL special operations lieutenant who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for going rogue and attacking Deckert.
The movie is full of exciting special effects. On top of all this, Stone is joined by other butt-kicking allies such as Xzibit.
Although the movie is definitely all action (no sex scenes here), the one failure that would have made this movie at least receive a solid “A” is the way director Lee Tamahori captures the fight scenes and action sequences. The characters appear blurred as they punch, kick, stab and slap each other. At times, it’s not even discernible who punched whom or how someone got knocked out, because the camera pans out of the scene so fast, important action can be missed just by blinking.
As much as I support the arts, I do not think that an action movie is the best medium for creativity. Yet I must admit that, despite the nausea caused from the unnecessary camera tricks, XXX: State of the Union gave me a definite adrenaline rush as I exited the theater.
Vannessa MaravillaUniversity of California DavisThe California Aggie