XXX (2002 film)
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|Directed by||Rob Cohen|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz|
|Written by||Rich Wilkes|
|Music by||Randy Edelman|
|Edited by||Chris Lebenzon
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$277.4 million|
xXx (pronounced "Triple X") is a 2002 American action film directed by Rob Cohen. It stars Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, a thrill seeking extreme sports enthusiast, stuntman and rebellious athlete-turned-reluctant spy for the National Security Agency who is sent on a dangerous mission to infiltrate a group of potential Russian terrorists in Central Europe. xXx also stars Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, and Marton Csokas. Cohen previously directed The Fast and the Furious, in which Diesel also starred.
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An NSA mission to collect intel on Anarchy 99, a mercenary group made up of former Russian soldiers goes awry when the agent's identity is discovered by the group. NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons, overseeing the operation to get any intel on the group's plans for the biochemical weapon named "Silent Night" that has been missing since the fall of the Soviet Union, believes the only way to get close is to recruit an agent that would not have any ties to the United States government. He selects Xander Cage, also known as X, an extreme sports professional and host of his own television show who is outspoken against the government and was recently captured by the FBI for stealing and destroying a prominent California senator's car as an act of protest. Gibbons puts Cage through two tests - stopping a staged diner robbery, and escaping from a drug cartel's plantation in Colombia - and offers Cage the mission. Cage reluctantly agrees when Gibbons offers to wipe his criminal record away.
Cage goes to Prague and meets with the NSA support team including Czech agent Milan Sova, who immediately is hostile to Cage's attitude. While scouting an Anarchy 99 party, Cage purposely reveals Sova's cover, which allows him to gain the confidence of Anarchy 99's leader, Yorgi. Through Yorgi's brother Kolya, who is a big fan of Cage's show, Cage gains critical information on the military background of Anarchy 99's members. Later, Cage is attending a car deal with Yorgi at his invention when Sova shows up and starts a firefight. Cage shoots Sova with a fake blood-splatter round to make it look like he is dead, which causes Yorgi to fully accept Cage as a member of Anarchy 99. Cage returns with Yorgi to their headquarters, a castle outside of the city, where he meets Yorgi's girlfriend Yelena. That night while staying at the castle, Cage finds Yelena trying to break into Yorgi's safe. Rather than risk getting them both caught, Cage takes Yelena to a restaurant in town and explains he is an American agent trying to stop Yorgi. However, they are interrupted when Yelena gets a call from Kirill, a sniper working for Yorgi, who reveals they know of Cage's true identity before he starts firing on them. Cage helps Yelena to escape unharmed but is kidnapped by the NSA team. Agent Gibbons, now in Prague, tells Cage to return home since his cover is blown, but Cage refuses as he fears for Yelena's safety from both Yorgi and a planned attack on the castle by special forces. Cage learns that Sova purposely blew his cover.
Disregarding orders, Cage sneaks back to the castle, and is able to overhear Yorgi's plans as he explains them to Yelena: Yorgi is equipping a waterborn drone named Ahab with Silent Night which he will then use to release the biochemical in the middle of every major city, starting with Prague. Yorgi then tests the weapon on his scientists, killing them. Recognizing Yelena is in trouble, Cage is able to rescue her from Yorgi and eludes capture, killing Kolya in the process. At a safehouse, Yelena explains she is an FSB agent, having starting working undercover to get close to Yorgi two years ago, but six months after the start of the operation, her contacts abandoned her and she has been alone since. Assured of her safety, Cage races to a nearby monitoring station which Anarchy 99 uses to secure the castle and destroys it by starting an avalanche. However, Cage is captured by Yorgi's forces.
He is taken back to Yorgi, who reveals he has captured Yelena again and has known about her true identity. As the special forces attack starts, Cage and Yelena use the opportunity to escape, killing Kirill and Yorgi, but not until Yorgi has had a chance to launch Ahab towards the center of Prague. Cage and Yelena use a modified Pontiac GTO that Cage had outfitted with special gear and follow Ahab. Meanwhile, Cage has alerted Gibbons, who has the Czech military prepare to destroy the Ahab via airstrikes with the unfortunate side effect of releasing some of the biochemical agent. Cage is able to harpoon Ahab from the car, and manages to cause the drone to sink underwater where it and the biochemical weapon is destroyed harmlessly before the airstrikes are needed. Cage is soon rescued, and Gibbons promises Yelena to help her gain American citizenship. In the epilogue, Cage and Yelena are relaxing in Bora Bora when Gibbons calls in and tells him there is another mission for him. Cage ignores him and returns to swimming with Yelena.
- Vin Diesel as Xander Cage/xXx
- Asia Argento as Yelena
- Samuel L. Jackson as NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons
- Marton Csokas as Yorgi
- Michael Roof as NSA Agent Toby Lee Shavers
- Richy Müller as Milan Sova
- Werner Daehn as Kirill
- Petr Jákl as Kolya
- Jan Pavel Filipensky as Viktor
- Tom Everett as California state senator Dick Hotchkiss
- Danny Trejo as El Jefe
- Thomas Ian Griffith as NSA Agent Jim McGrath
- Eve as J.J.
- Leila Arcieri as Jordan King
- William Hope as NSA Agent Roger Donnan
- Radek Tomecka as Ivan Pedgrag
- Martin Hub as Ivan Podrov
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In August 2001, Sony put a large billboard of "xXx" in Hollywood, before a script had been written. There was also a teaser trailer released on May 3, 2002. It was then attached to Spider-Man, and shown on the web.
Filming took place at three locations. Most of the film is set in Prague, Czech Republic. The Corvette jump was filmed at the Foresthill Bridge in Auburn State Recreation Area, Auburn, California. The final scenes were set in Bora Bora, Tahiti, and other areas in Southern West Virginia.
Stunt player Harry O'Connor, Diesel's stunt double, was killed when he hit a pillar of the Palacky Bridge in Prague, para-sailing during one of the action scenes. The accident occurred while filming the second take of the stunt; O'Connor's first attempt was completed without incident and can be seen in the completed film.
The first few minutes of the film take place at a Rammstein concert in Prague. The same clip is available, but from the band's perspective (with only brief scenes from the film) in their video compilation Lichtspielhaus. 
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The film score was composed by Randy Edelman, a frequent collaborator of Cohen's. The film also featured a contemporary rock music soundtrack. Rammstein provided some of the music and was even featured in the film in the opening scene. During the club scene in Prague, Orbital can be seen playing their exclusive track "Technologicque Park" live before the dancing crowd. The soundtrack album also features Queens of the Stone Age, Drowning Pool, Hatebreed, Nelly, Lil Wayne, N.E.R.D, and Moby. It was released on August 6, 2002 through Universal Records. It peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200, #16 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and #1 on the Top Soundtracks. The "Tweaker remix" of the song "Adrenaline" by Gavin Rossdale (the lead singer of Bush) was featured was in the film, while the original version is included on the soundtrack.
xXx received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 48% of the critics gave the film positive reviews based on a sample of 178 reviews, with an average score of 5.6/10. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times enjoyed the film, giving it 3 and a half stars out of 4. It was a financial success with total gross $277,448,382.
|This section does not cite any sources. (December 2014)|
The Director's cut DVD of xXx was released on April 19, 2005, ten days before the sequel State of the Union was released in cinemas. The Director's Cut of xXx featured new artwork, and deleted scenes of xXx previously unseen. Some of these include additional scenes that foreshadowed Xander as a hero, and also a longer stripper-in-the-bedroom sequence. There were also sneak peeks at the sequel. Interestingly for Director's cuts, these scenes were cut by the director himself, for length and pacing.
The Final Chapter: The Death of Xander Cage
|This section does not cite any sources. (December 2014)|
In addition to the deleted scenes on the Director's Cut of xXx, the DVD also contains an extra video titled The Final Chapter: The Death of Xander Cage, a four-minute short film that attempts to tie up some loose ends about the Xander Cage character by showing his gory demise.
In the short film, Cage is played by Vin Diesel's stunt double Khristian Lupo (who never shows his face or speaks) while reusing some lines spoken by Vin Diesel. It also features Leila Arcieri as Jordan King from the first film, and John G. Connolly as Lt. Colonel Alabama "Bama" Cobb, one of the villains from the sequel xXx: State of the Union, as the man behind the attack on Cage.
The sequence opens with Xander driving in a car with Jordan King. He stops next to his apartment building. King makes sexual overtures to him and they get intimate. Suddenly they hear a noise and Xander goes to check it out. Cobb's men show up and abduct King. They plant a bomb in the building and drop her coat on the steps to trick Xander to his death. After confronting a homeless man, Xander returns to the building. He takes the bait left by Cobb and his henchmen and is blown apart by a huge explosion. His trademark coat survives the blast. Cobb shows up and picks up a piece of skin from Xander's neck which has the triple x tattoo on it. He remarks "Poor Xander, you never had very much between the ears." His men pick him up and drive off in their car. Cobb's motives for killing Xander are obvious; he doesn't want him to interfere in Deckert's plans. Feuer Frei by Rammstein plays in the background during the sequence.
The film was followed by a sequel in 2005, entitled State of the Union, starring the rapper Ice Cube and directed by Lee Tamahori. Neither Diesel, Cohen, nor xXx creator Rich Wilkes were involved in the sequel, and there were notable differences in both style (less emphasis on extreme sports) and music (rock music was replaced with hip hop and rap). xXx: State of the Union was poorly received by critics. It currently has a rating of 16% on Rotten Tomatoes. The sequel was also a financial failure, making less than expected when compared to the original film. In January 2014, Vin Diesel confirmed work on a sequel tentatively titled xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. On August 23rd, 2015, Vin Diesel announced on his Instagram page that "While I was filming XXX, guys on set called me Air Diesel... The time to return has come. Filming starts December in the Philippines. #ILiveForThisShit...". On October 10 2015, it was reported that director D. J. Caruso will direct xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Diesel announced on his Instagram account that UFC fighter Conor McGregor was cast in a role and Facebook that Jackson will be reprising his role as Gibbons. In January 2016, Twitch reports that Tony Jaa, Jet Li and Deepika Padukone are cast in roles, Nina Dobrev and Ruby Rose were cast in roles with Dobrev as a witty and sarcastic techie, Padukone as a huntress who happens to be Cage’s former lover and Rose will play a sniper and Li was confirmed in the film as the leader of his own team and will square off against Cage, it's whether he is the ultimate villain of the pic remains to be seen. Andrey Ivchenko was confirmed to be another villain in the film as one of the big bads Diesel is set to lock horns with, given that earlier reports revealed Li also joined the threequel as a potential adversary. 
- "XXXxxx(12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2002-09-24. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
- "xXx (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "xXx (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
- "Extreme Weekend for XXX (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- "Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news". Aintitcool.com. Retrieved 2012-09-28.
- "Scene Shooting for the Movie Triple X". Rammstein & Pilgrim Management. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "xXx: State of the Union (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 30, 2011.
- XXX Franchise Earnings on The Numbers
- Osborn, Alex. "Vin Diesel: XXX 3 Will Be Directed by D.J. Caruso". IGN.com. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
- Brown, Todd (January 1, 2016). "Tony Jaa, Jet Li and Deepika Padukone Join Vin Diesel In XXX: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE". Twitch.
- Kit, Borys (January 7, 2016). "Nina Dobrev and Ruby Rose in Talks to Join Vin Diesel in 'XXX 3' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Kit, Borys (January 20, 2016). "Jet Li Set to Fight Vin Diesel in 'xXx 3'". The Hollywood Reporter.
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