Movie Mom

Movie Mom


XXX: State of the Union

posted by rkumar
C+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Brief strong language, one f-word
Nudity/Sex:Mild sexual references
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Constant action-style violence, shooting, explosions, fighting, many characters killed
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2005

Can we ever see Ice Cube as a gangsta again after Barbershop and Are We There Yet?

Do we want to?

Ice Cube is a fine actor who can do a lot with a strong script (Boyz n The Hood and Three Kings). But he seems to be phoning this performance in between development deals. Since the writer and director appear to be on automatic pilot, too, even a movie that has no aspirations beyond generic guns and explosions multiplex fodder manages to disappoint.

The original XXX, starring Vin Diesel, was a sort of James Bond movie on crack, with an extreme sports nut brought in on a spy mission for “deep cover agents with special skills.” It had some cool stunts and got the job done.

In this sequel, as soon as Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson, returning from the first film) explains that the first Triple X is dead so they need to go off the grid again to find someone even tougher, it’s clear that this is less script than set-up. When Willem Dafoe turns up as the Secretary of Defense to give a report to the President (Peter Strauss), it’s clear that he’s not in the movie to be a second-tier good guy. I’d say it was less a movie than a cross between a rap song and a computer game, but it is not nearly as well-written as either. There’s no wit or imagination, just the thump thump thump of exposition and explosions.

Yes, there are barked orders about breaching the perimeter and guys in serious-looking black hoods with fancy guns and other toys, a handy nerdish hacker, and big shots asking each other “Who the hell is this guy?” The new Triple X is a former Navy Seal serving a 20-year prison sentence who gets sprung for a top-secret mission. The good guys have become the bad guys, so we need some bad guys to be the good guys.

There are competently filmed stunts and explosions at a variety of Washington DC locations, including a non-existent bullet train. There are a couple of good lines, including quotes from Thomas Jefferson and Tupac, and it is fun to see Ice Cube go undercover as two characters that play off of white expectations. But the movie has an unpleasantly sour tone that is too far off the grid to give the stunts any narrative or emotional heft. When Triple X is explaining to a friend why he should help save the day, the best he can do is tell him that they are fighting for the right to keep stealing cars. And the movie’s treatment of a standard-issue rich blonde ice queen in a slinky suit and a fast car is so rap-style misogynistic that it takes you out of the story. Nona Gaye (Ali) tries to channel Pam Grier as the woman Triple X can’t forget, and her scenes with Ice Cube have enough warmth and sparkle to remind you how much the rest of the film is lacking. Even with all the pounding music and ear-splitting explosions, this XXX should be rated zzzzzzz.

Parents should know that the movie has non-stop PG-13-style violence, with a lot of explosions and shoot-em-ups. Many characters are killed. Characters use brief bad language (one f-word, a few b-words) and there are some mild sexual references, including a prison rape joke.

Families who see this movie should talk about why Darius did not follow orders and how he decided what mattered to him. Characters use different arguments to try to persuade each other in this movie. Which are the strongest? Why?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the original, with Vin Diesel as the first Triple X and the classic The Dirty Dozen.



Previous Posts

Wild's Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast
Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous "Dear Sugar" advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) also wrote as Dear Su

posted 3:59:40pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Actors Of Color Discuss Racial Stereotypes In Hollywood
Film Courage produced this excellent and very compelling film with actors of color talking about the challenges they face in Hollywood. If we did a better job of representing diversity in film, we would not just tell better stories and tell stories better, we would make better progress toward under

posted 8:00:49am Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Annie
The story of the plucky little Depression-era orphan with the curly red hair has been not just re-booted but re-imagined into the world of rent-a-bikes, viral videos, DNA tests, YOLO, corpora

posted 5:59:13pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Fans of the first two "Night at the Museum" films will like this one because it is pretty much the same film. They go to another museum, this time the British Museum in London, and the exhibi

posted 5:23:46pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Listen to People's Lives: David Plotz's Working Podcast
Former Slate editor David Plotz, now at Atlas Obscura, says that he is a big fan of Studs Terkel's classic book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. He has paid tribute to that great work in the best possible way, by updating it with his podcast seri

posted 3:59:23pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.