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XXX (2002 film)

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xXx
Xxx movie.jpg
Directed by Rob Cohen
Produced by Neal H. Moritz
Written by Rich Wilkes
Starring Vin Diesel
Asia Argento
Marton Csokas
Music by Randy Edelman
Cinematography Dean Semler
Edited by Chris Lebenzon
Joel Negron
Paul Rubell
Production
company
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • August 9, 2002 (2002-08-09)
Running time
124 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $70 million[2]
Box office $277.4 million[2]

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.

The film received mixed reviews[3] but was a financial success for the studios, grossing US$277,448,382 worldwide.[2] It was followed by a 2005 sequel entitled xXx: State of the Union.

Plot[edit]

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 predominant 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 Columbia - 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. 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 too 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.

Cast[edit]

To support Xander Cage's credibility within extreme sport subcultures, various personalities make cameo appearances, including Tony Hawk, Mike Vallely, Carey Hart, Mat Hoffman and Josh Todd.

Production[edit]

In August 2001, Sony put a large billboard of "xXx" in Hollywood, before a script had been written.[4] 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 French Polynesia.

Several Czech Su-22s were used for the film. It was one of the last "actions" of these aircraft - Czech Air Force decommissioned Sukhois in 2002.

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.[5]

The first few minutes of the film take place in 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. [6]

Soundtrack[edit]

Main article: xXx (soundtrack)

The film score was composed by Randy Edelman, a frequent collaborator of Cohen's. The film also featured a contemporary rock music soundtrack, mostly featuring heavy metal. Rammstein provided some of the music and was even featured in the film in the opening scene. The soundtrack album also features Queens of the Stone Age, Drowning Pool, Hatebreed, and others, and some artists of different genres such as Nelly, Lil' Wayne, N.E.R.D, Orbital, 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. There was also a song created just for the film, titled "Adrenaline" by Gavin Rossdale, the lead singer of Bush. While a Tweaker remix was featured in the film, the original version is instead featured in the soundtrack.

Reception[edit]

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.[3] 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.[2]

This film was nominated for a Razzie Award for Most Flatulent Teen-Targeted Movie, but lost to Jackass: The Movie.

Director's cut[edit]

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[edit]

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.

Sequels[edit]

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.[7] The sequel was also a financial failure, making less than expected when compared to the original film.[8] In January 2014, Vin Diesel confirmed work on a sequel tentatively titled xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "XXX(12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2002-09-24. Retrieved 2012-10-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d "xXx (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 6, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "xXx (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 10, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Extreme Weekend for XXX (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Ain't It Cool News: The best in movie, TV, DVD, and comic book news". Aintitcool.com. Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  6. ^ "Scene Shooting for the Movie Triple X". Rammstein & Pilgrim Management. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "xXx: State of the Union (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ XXX Franchise Earnings on The Numbers

External links[edit]