XXX: The Return of Xander Cage is the Worst Movie of 2017

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I went into XXX: The Return of Xander Cage expecting a fun, mindless romp of a popcorn movie. I’m sad to say it failed to live up to even those low expectations.

The film starts with a stunt-filled set piece, predictably enough. Vin Diesel’s Xander Cage character is skateboarding through the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Then he’s recruited back into the XXX program by an NSA agent played by Toni Collette. This is where things start to go haywire.

“I’ll come back on one condition,” says Cage.

“Anything,” says Collette’s character.

“Can you guys just call me Dominic Torretto?”

Collette stammers, then looked at the camera. “Uh…what? Should we cut now?”

“Oh I’m directing this, don’t worry about it,” says Cage, or Torretto now, I guess. “Let’s just keep filming. Yeah, for the rest of the movie I’m just going to be my character from Fast and the Furious, if that’s cool with everybody. Cool?”

Someone off camera, presumably a member of the crew, then says, “Yeah, who gives a shit?”

The film continues to go off the rails from there. As they recruit XXX’s team, he says, “I need a team of people who live their life by one rule: live life a quarter mile at a time.”

Collette, visibly frustrated, throws her hands up. “That’s just the line from the other movie. Dude, we have a script. Can’t we just go by that?”

Ignoring this, Cage/Torretto then says, “First thing we’re going to need are some canisters of NoS.”

Despite having previously established action sequences, Torretto keeps insisting on them driving cars with complicated computers. He puts a finger to his ear, apparently accessing a non-existent comlink that isn’t there, saying, “Ludacris, do you copy?” At one point he refuses to respond to another cast member, saying, “You aren’t the Rock.” As his team – none of whom are played by actors in Fast and the Furious, something Torretto points out often – makes their plan for the final act, Torretto simply tears up, saying, “We’re taking down this bad guys in honor of my fallen comrade, Brian O’Conner. RIP, brother.” One cast member tries to tell him the actor who played the character passed away, not the character, but Torretto simply holds up a finger to quiet him and says, “If only my dear, sweet Letty were here to comfort me.”

Before the final fight scene on a plane, Torretto drives onto the plane in a souped up car and says to someone off camera, “You guys mind if I’m just Vin Diesel for the rest of the movie?” Somebody says, “Your career in Hollywood is over,” as Diesel smiles and says, “Allright! Yippee kay-yay, motherfucker!” Cage/Torretto/Diesel then destroys several parts of the set with his car as the villain, henchmen, and Donnie Yen all get frustrated and walk off.

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