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xXx Blu-ray Review

xxx-blu-ray

“xXx” is still loud and dumb after 15 years.

With “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” hitting theaters today, it’s no surprise that Sony has recently given the first film a new 15th anniversary Blu-ray release (yes, it’s been that long). For those that need a refresher on what “xXx” was all about, it’s your standard story about an extreme sports athlete (Xander Cage) turned NSA spy that must infiltrate a terrorist group (Anarchy99) that has bio weapons in their possession.

When “xXx” was released back in 2002, it didn’t make much of an impression despite its box office success. 15 years later, this extreme sports spy movie has somehow worsened with age.

It’s easy to see why “xXx” was made as it was capitalizing on the extreme sports craze and Vin Diesel’s growing career. However, this film was never exactly “Fast and Furious” level entertainment. It’s clear “xXx” wanted so desperately to be a James Bond for a younger generation as it goes as far to contain an action sequence with virtually every vehicle imaginable, a wannabe Q character, a sexy love interest, ridiculous stunts, and big action set pieces, but very little of it clicks. The blaring hard rock music, T&A, cheesy dialogue, and mind numbingly stupid action (food tray surfing and outrunning an avalanche on a snowboard!) make the film come off as a fourth rate James Bond knock-off (and that’s being generous).

“xXx” is not without merit though. First of all, it is appreciated in this day and age that the film included a lot of practical action set pieces. Sure, there is some CGI, but most of the big action set pieces were not. It certainly benefited the action. Secondly, the 3 main stars (Vin Diesel, Asia Argento and Samuel L. Jackson) shine despite having little to work with. It’s clear Vin Diesel was going all out here as he was looking like a much hungrier actor looking to prove himself at this point in his career. The underrated Argento (who has sadly vanished from the Hollywood scene as of late) does some scene stealing as the mysterious Yelena. Lastly, there’s Sam Jackson as the cool Augustus Gibbons. We all know Jackson will do any movie, but if there’s one thing you can say about him, it’s that he is always game for whatever role.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.40:1. How does it look? It’s not the most impressive catalogue release I’ve ever seen as the colors aren’t as crisp as they could be. Still, it’s a worthwhile hi-def transfer to be sure.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? It sounds the way it should- loud.

Extras:
* Digital copy.
* 10 deleted scenes with optional commentary.
* 2 music videos by Gavin Rossdale and Hatebreed.
* “Origins Of A Renegade”- Vin Diesel and cast members from the third film talk about Xander and the first film.
* “XXX: A Filmmaker’s Diary U.S./Pre-Production” and “XXX: A Filmmaker’s Diary Prague/Post-Production”- 2 making of documentaries that contain a ton of behind-the-scenes footage, cast and crew interviews, and day by day look at the production.
* “Diesel Powered”- A short featurette on Vin Diesel.
* Visual effects featurettes on 3 sequences.
* A Starz channel featurette.
* “Agent Shavers’ Gadgets Presentation”- Speaks for itself.
* “Designing The World Of XXX” (a production design featurette) and “Building Speed: The Vehicles Of XXX” (a vehicle featurette).
* “Avalanche Scene” and “Drug Farm”- Side by side comparisons of the final film sequences and storyboards.
* “The End Credit Sequence- Raw and Uncut”- Self-explanatory.
* A decent solo commentary by Rob Cohen.
* “XXX” theatrical trailer.

Overall Thoughts: Unless you wanted to see “xXx” before the new film, there’s little point in revisiting this action dud.

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January 20, 2017 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , , ,

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