Movie Mom

Movie Mom


XXX

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and non-explicit situations
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, smoking, and drug use; hero does not do any
Violence/Scariness:Peril and action-style violence, not too graphic
Diversity Issues:Black character is respected and capable
Movie Release Date:2002

Every summer needs an esplosion movie, and for the summer of 2002 it is “XXX,” with Vin Diesel as an extreme sports enthusiast recruited by the CIA. Yep, this is a movie about extreme spying.

That means that this is not a movie about plot or character. It is a movie about gadgets, girls, and “golly, did you see that?” They have taken the essence of 14-year-old boy fantasy and put it up on the screen. This is “The Dirty Dozen” with one guy playing all twelve parts.

Vin Diesel plays Triple X, an underground superstar for stunts like stealing a fancy car from a right-wing politician and filming himself driving it off a bridge, riding it down like a surfboard. The problem with filming yourself doing something illegal is that it makes it pretty easy for the cops to make a case against you, though. So when spy chief Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) offers him the chance to work for the good guys instead of going to jail, X takes it. But never fear, he doesn’t take it because he is afraid or because he feels any kind of soft emotion like patrotism. He takes it because he gets a taste of some of the terrifying tasks involved, and, as he puts it, “I live for this [stuff].”

In the first scene, a James Bond-type takes off his wet suit to reveal impeccable black tie and ends up getting killed at a rave instead of retrieving the crucial computer chip. The big shots at CIA central conclude that it is time to “stop sending a mouse into a snakepit and send in our own snake.” So they seek out a man who is trainable and “expendable.”

In training exercises, X reveals that he is not just fearless but smart and loyal — at least, loyal to anyone he thinks of as being like him. He says, “If you’re going to send someone to save the world, make sure they like it the way it is.”

The CIA needs information about a group in Prague that seems to be involved in more than the usual nastiness of drugs, stolen cars, and very loud music. Of course, after an exchange of a few lines of very tough dialogue (“If you’re going to shoot anyone, shoot whoever sold you that suit.”), they immediately take to X and invite them into their little group and into their headquarters, a sort of Playboy mansion if Hugh Hefner was the editor of Vibe, where the bad guys convieniently speak English to each other.

X likes “anything fast enough to do something stupid in,” which is a good thing, because he gets to work down a checklist of fast and stupid things as he incorporates every extreme sport into his efforts to stop the bad guys from sending out a lethal biological agent (with oddly 1970’s control boxes) to random cities. It is clear who this movie is aimed at — X shouts to an accomplice, “Start thinking Playstation – blow [stuff] up!”

There are some great stunts, especially a snowboard race with an avalanche that would be scarier if it didn’t recall the similar scene with Scrat at the beginning of “Ice Age.” It is too bad that the bad guy is not as interesting as X — he’s just a generic post-communist era guy with an evil plan, a big mouth, a remote control, a girlfriend who is too smart and pretty for him, and a getaway speedboat. But this movie is clearly designed as the first of a series, and it is all about X. Diesel is just the guy for the part, delivering the lines, the kisses, and the action scenes with attitude to spare.

Parents should know that the movie has a lot of intense action sequences and strong language for a PG-13. Characters use drugs, drink, and smoke. In one scene, a number of people are killed in a particularly heartless fashion, while others watch and make fun of them. There are implied sexual situations, including a character telling his girlfriend to have sex with someone else and a woman given to X as a sexual favor, but nothing explicit is shown. A character explains his plans for world anarchy in a manner that is worth discussing with teenagers who see the film.

Families who see the movie should talk about the different definitions of “freedom” that bad guy Yorgi, X, and Gibbons mean when they use the term. What is your own definition? Why? How does X decide who deserves his loyalty? How does Yorgi? How does Gibbons?

Families who enjoy this movie wll also enjoy a brilliant documentary about the origins of the very first extreme sport, Dogtown and Z-Boys and Vin Diesel’s breakthrough performance in The Fast and the Furious. They might like to see Diesel do some fine acting in a very different role in Boiler Room.



  • ionel

    YES

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