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Running Time:
1 hour, 34 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for sequences of intense action violence and some language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This is probably one of the most absurd of all those big-budget action movies.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Filmmaker's commentary; Deleted scenes; Visual effects commentary; Documentary 'From Convict to Hero: The Making of 'xXx: State of the Union"; Top secret military warehouse xXx: According to Ice Cube; Bullet train breakdown.



XXX: State of The Union
Ice Cube plays Darius Stone, a Special Ops soldier imprisoned for striking a superior officer to protest a massacre in Bosnia. But fortuitously, he’s sprung by his former commander and deep undercover NSA chief, Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L.tJackson), so he can be assigned to foil what’s eventually revealed to be an evil plot masterminded by the Defense Secretary George Deckert (Willem Dafoe), to overthrow the President (Peter Strauss), who is championing a reduction in military spending and an increase in funding international aid. And conveniently, Deckert happens to be the guy who, in his earlier career, was the general that Stone opposed in Bosnia. Deckert’s plan is to take off while the President is giving his State of the Union address. This plot is essentially a dumbed-down, pumped up riff on John Frankenheimer and Rod Serling's 1964 suspenseful thriller "Seven Days in May.” Deckert is a cross between Donald Rumsfeld and the treacherous Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, that Burt Lancaster played in the earlier film. While the 1954 film relied on clever plotting and the building of tension to create a genuine mood of paranoia and duplicity. This one, directed by Lee Tamahori (“Once Were Warriors”), who's become an efficient but uninspired director of big budget action films like "Die Another Day," the 2002 James Bond thriller, is nothing more than a succession of chases, fights and explosions occasionally interrupted by snatches of purely functional dialogue. But even on that level, it’s purely an assembly-line effort. The effects, including the big finale in which Stone, in a souped-up car, proves himself literally faster than a speeding bullet (train), look totally phony. And the acting is almost uniformly terrible. Ice Cube’s character must have taken his name from the fact that he’s almost totally stone-faced; when he sets aside his customary scowl to imitate a Baptist preacher (in a painful attempt at humor) or indulge in a romantic moment with Lola Jackson (Nona Gaye), his buxom ex-girlfriend (and car suppplier), the result is worse than when he doesn’t. Jackson grimaces his way through his worst performance in years, Dafoe tries to pass unnoticed by underplaying, something he’s incapable of, and Strauss is embarrassing as the put-upon chief executive. The only cast member who emerges relatively unscathed is Scott Speedman, as the FBI agent who becomes Stone’s reluctant partner. He appears relatively natural compared to all those around him. While Michael Roof, as Gibbons’ obligatory science whiz, appears to be nothing more than a caricature. If the first “XXX” with Vin Diesel was James Bond refashioned for extreme-sports lovers, this one has been made for gangsta wannabes. All the heroes, except for Speedman’s Kyle Steele, are homeboy types with Attitude like Stone (who’s obviously never abandoned his roots) and the chop-shop personnel who become his cohorts in saving the clueless president at the last minute. What's most disappointing about all this is that there's hardly a surprising moment in the entire movie.






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