xXx: The Return of Xander Cage: So Fantastically Stupid.

Written by Nelson Cumming

The first 20 seconds of this movie consisted of a satellite dropping down and crashing to earth. I then asked myself “Shouldn’t that satellite have disintegrated upon re-entry?”

That was when I realized the xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. was not designed to make you think.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is fantastically stupid. So fantastically stupid that it was funny (for awhile). I have reviewed nearly 100 movies and I have never seen a movie that I have laughed so hard at for all the wrong reasons. I started to enjoy its stupid antics. That is until it took itself too seriously.

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This scene was unintentionally funny. Vin Diseal’s horrific dialogue was what made it watchable.

This movie was like a comedian suffering a mental breakdown halfway through their act. You wouldn’t know if this was part of the act. Then you realize it isn’t a part of the act and you have this sudden rush of concern and disappointment.

This is why I have to give it a negative review. I don’t know its intentions and therefore I don’t know how to take it. If this film intends to be a stupid as it comes off, I would be more open to it than if it was trying to take itself seriously.

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Their bond is like their tattoos: Skin deep.

As I said, I think that the humor was unintentional (I think) which is why this movie isn’t ingenious. To prove to you how stupid and unintentionally funny it is, I will reveal a segment from the first half of the movie:

It is established that Xander Cage has a girlfriend in the Dominican Republic. That girl has never seen again in the movie.

10 minutes later, Xander is trying to hook up with a girl in London. She brushes him off by saying “9 out of 10 sexual relationships fail to last”

Xander Cage responds with “But I know you like to gamble”.

She says she is not a gambler but instead gives him 7 girls to have sex with.

After Gage beds all of the women, Cage smiles at the camera before saying “The things I do for this country”

Rainbows of Stupid.

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When Yu-Gi-Oh came up with the idea of card games on motorcycles I thought, “No movie could top that level of stupidity” I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Don’t worry, this movie has a broader range of unintentional comedic stupidity. You have motorbikes that work like jet skis riding on the oceans and riding the tubes like surfboards. You also have Cage traversing down a jungle using skis, risking his life so he can connect a cable so his community would have TV reception.

This is the kind of stupid that goes on which makes xXx: The Return of Xander Cage so funny. It is only when it is serious when the movie crumbles. The action sequences are edited poorly with frantic quick cuts that your brain won’t process. The combat sequences are cliched and unoriginal. The characters are one-dimensional and the script was dead.

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If only they had another one of these…

F.Scott Fraiser is the scripwriter. This is the first film I have seen of his work. If he writes stories like this reguarly, he will be one of the worst scriptwriters on this planet.

If you are into campy movies. Watch the first half of the movie (up to and including the motorbike jet-ski scene) and then leave. It rivals with The Room in its unintentional comedy.

This is, so far, the funniest movie that I am giving a negative review. *1/2

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Written by Nelson Cumming

This review will have a lot of spoilers as my sources of praise and criticism involves the final act. I say this because I am a nice, swell guy.

Rogue One: A Star War Story is one of the most epic-looking spin-offs that I have ever seen. I stress the term “epic-looking” here. That is because it has enough visual effects and good moments combined to make Rogue One a good film. However, there were things that bugged me while watching it.

Rogue One is set between Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star wars Episode IV: A new Hope. It is a spin-off story that focuses on the destruction of the Deathstar (a weapon that can destroy planets) and the subsequent plans that Erso attempts to steal from the Galatic Empire to give to the Rebel Alliance.

Let’s Start Positive

 

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Me after seeing the special effects on Rogue One.

 

The two best things about Rogue One are the special effects and the final third of the movie. The special effects in Rogue One are as good as any movie I have seen this year. Rogue One went for huge set pieces and made a blockbuster look epic. There was one shot in a birds-eye view of two massive rebel ships that collide in mid-air which was the best shot in the movie. It is a vivid picture in my head. For a movie to have a moment like that is a huge positive.

 

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The penultimate battle on the beach, in my opinion, was the best scene in the film.

 

The final act in which the Rebel Alliance set off to destroy the Deathstar from the Galatic Empire is by far the best section of the movie. From the espionage of Jyn’s father to the Deathstar’s destruction was nearly all well choreographed and shot. The battle sequences from the supporting characters had a smooth pace and the final battle between Jyn and Orson Krennic was thrilling.

The origin story of Jyn Erso was fine but not great. It would have been noticeably better had I been able to decipher what Forest Whitaker was saying (he spoke very hoarsely and gives the weakest performace of the cast). They developed that origin story into a major plot development. It also helped give Jyn Erso a third dimension to her character when it was needed later on.

Now onto some negatives.

Rogue One really suffers from underdeveloped supporting characters. In one scene, they really bite off more than they can chew. I believe that in Rogue One, the ultimate goal was for us to like all the characters because they have a quirky personality trait or a single moment of depth. This can only get a movie so far and where they wanted to take them was so much further than what was given to them.

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Donnie Yen plays a character equivalent of a fun friend who is not a close friend. So it does not help when the film expects you to be his close friend.

A prime example is Donnie Yen’s character, a blind Asian warrior. He has the personality quirk of being able to fight while blind and he has repeats the one line “I am one with the Force. The Force is with me” From that I am supposed to feel a sense of sadness when him and all the other supporting characters (who are just as underdeveloped) when they all die in quick succession.

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Instead, I went to my friend and said “Jesus! are there any more people who want to die. This isn’t Game of Thrones you know” That statement was not premeditated. That was my first reaction. After that was when I realized how little I care for the huge stakes the movie was going after. The characters themselves were not terrible but they were not worth the huge threat that was thrust upon them.

Rogue One really suffers from the dragging second act and taking itself too seriously when they didn’t have the characters that could sustain that level of drama. There were lots of little moments throughout Rogue One that worked such as the Darth Vader scenes and the lines the new quirky droid K-2SO says. Since those little things permeated throughout the movie, added with a really good third act, it was enough for me to like Rogue One. ***1/2.