XXX: State of the Union
|xXx: State of the Union|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lee Tamahori|
|Produced by||Neal H. Moritz
|Written by||Simon Kinberg|
|Based on||Characters created by Rich Wilkes|
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$71 million|
xXx: State of the Union (released as xXx: The Next Level outside the United States and Canada), is a 2005 action film directed by Lee Tamahori. It is a sequel to the 2002 film xXx (pronounced "Triple X"). The film was produced by Revolution Studios for Columbia Pictures.
Vin Diesel and Rob Cohen, the lead actor and director of the original, had signed onto this film before the first film had opened, but both dropped out as Diesel had to work on The Pacifier, while Cohen was busy making Stealth; Cohen remained as an executive producer. Ice Cube took over the lead role as the new xXx and Tamahori was brought in to direct following the huge commercial success of the James Bond film Die Another Day which he directed.
Two different scripts were made for this film, and the one written by Simon Kinberg was selected. The other script featured a radically different plot, possibly serving as the basis for another sequel. State of the Union under-performed at the box office, and was criticized heavily by critics (the first installment's reception was mixed)—mainly for the poor performance of its star, illogical story, and overuse of CGI-influenced visual effects for most of the action sequences as opposed to live-action stunts being filmed.
In Virginia, a rancher discovers dead bodies on his farm and is then killed by one of the assailants. The attackers use special explosives to break into an NSA bunker beneath the horse farm. Agent Gibbons fends off the attackers before barely escaping. Shavers, Gibbons' assistant, informs him that with the attack on the NSA bunker, Cobb also had Xander Cage apparently killed in Bora Bora. To find a new substitute, Gibbons meets with Lieutenant Stone, a former U.S Navy SEAL officer, who is currently serving 9 of his 20 years sentence in Leavenworth for disobeying orders and breaking the jaw of General Deckert, who is now the Secretary of Defense.
Gibbons helps Stone break out. Stone meets with Zeke, his old partner in crime, and Lola, his former girlfriend, who now runs an exotic car shop. Stone is instructed to recover a hard drive from the NSA bunker, and he manages to escape Agent Steele at the same time. Gibbons is attacked in his house and apparently killed, with Deckert and Sergeant Cobb covering up the plot. Stone meets up with Gibbons' contact, Mayweather, to get information. Stone goes to her safe house but is framed for the murder of 4-Star General Jack Pettibone; Mayweather is revealed to be involved.
The police arrive, and Steele enters and talks to Stone, who escapes afterwards. Shavers hacks into the Pentagon to retrieve Deckert's plans. Stone infiltrates Deckert's troops aboard the USS Independence and discovers Gibbons is not dead, but being held prisoner. Stone's presence is alerted by Mayweather. Gibbons orders Stone to escape and leave him. After retrieving the plans, Stone gets into a tank and fights his way out of the ship. He learns that Deckert is planning a coup against President Sanford.
Stone makes contact with Steele and shows him the plans. The former leaves in frustration, to Steele's initial disbelief. During a conversation with Deckert, Steele realizes Stone was right. He finds Stone and tells him that Deckert wants to kill Sanford and his successors so he can take Sanford's place.
Stone, Steele, and Shavers enlist the aid of Zeke and his crew. Together, they rob an 18-wheeler secretly hauling guns and equipment to the Department of Homeland Security under the guise of a cheese truck. They end up hijacking a tank, and Stone helps Steele infiltrate the Capitol building. A shootout starts, and Gibbons kills Mayweather. Deckert and Cobb abduct Sanford while he is making the State of the Union Address. They escape on a bullet train. Jackson arrives with a car, and Stone uses it to infiltrate the train. He engages and kills Cobb before engaging Deckert, while Steele extracts Sanford. Stone jumps out after Gibbons destroys the train, killing Deckert.
The story is covered up, and Deckert is buried and branded as a hero. Sanford awards Steele and the unknown soldier (Stone) the Medal of Honor, and Stone goes back to his former lifestyle. In the now-rebuilt NSA Headquarters, Gibbons, Steele, and Shavers discuss what kind of person the next XXX agent should be. Gibbons says that he has the perfect candidate for the job.
- Ice Cube as Darius Stone / xXx
- Willem Dafoe as US Secretary of Defense, General George Deckert
- Scott Speedman as NSA Agent Kyle Christopher Steele
- Peter Strauss as US President James Sanford
- Samuel L. Jackson as NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons
- John G. Connolly as Sgt Alabama "Bama" Cobb
- Xzibit as Zeke
- Sunny Mabrey as Charlie Mayweather
- Nona Gaye as Lola Jackson
- Michael Roof as NSA Agent Toby Lee Shavers
- Ramon De Ocampo as NSA Agent Meadows
A soundtrack containing hip hop and alternative rock was released on April 26, 2005 through Jive Records. It peaked at #117 on the Billboard 200, #48 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #5 on the Top Soundtracks chart.
The film performed poorly, both critically and financially. Rotten Tomatoes gives it 16% score based on 125 reviews.
Boo Allen of the Denton Record Chronicle called Ice Cube's version of XXX "a chubby, surly, incomprehensible action hero". Brian Orndorf of FilmJerk.com compared watching the film to running "headfirst at top speed into a brick wall". David Hiltbrand of the Philadelphia Inquirer said "the plot swings between pathetically implausible and aggressively stupid". Some critics liked the film. Mack Bates of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel praised Ice Cube's "trademark charisma and street sensibility", while Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly called it "that rare B movie that’s rooted in gut-level stirrings of power and retaliation". Paul Arendt of the BBC said, "Viewed on its own trashy terms, it succeeds brilliantly".
After the low box office returns of xXx: State of the Union, the chance of a sequel looked slim. After Vin Diesel's new found fame and popularity, the studio has pondered making a sequel with the tentative name xXx: Return of Xander Cage. In January 2014, Diesel said that the script should be complete within the following month. Diesel announces on his Instagram page that the film will begin principal photography in The Philippines in December 2015. On October 10, 2015, it was reported that director D.J. Caruso will direct the third film. Diesel announced on his Instagram account that UFC fighter Conor McGregor was cast in a role and Samuel L. Jackson will be reprising his role as Gibbons. In January 2016, Twitch reported that Tony Jaa, Jet Li, Deepika Padukone, 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 with Rose playing the role of a sniper. Li was confirmed in the film as the leader of his own team and will square off against Cage. Whether Li is the ultimate villain of the movie remains to be seen.
- "XXX 2 - THE NEXT LEVEL (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2005-04-04. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
- Lang, Brent; Waxman, Sharon (September 1, 2011). "Inside the Revolution Library: Where Joe Roth Went Wrong". The Wrap. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
- "XXX: State of the Union (2005)". The Numbers. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "XXX: State of the Union (XXX: The Next Level)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
- ROTTEN TOMATOES: Just what we need, a chubby, surly, incomprehensible action hero Archived December 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- FilmJerk.com - Reviews - XXX: State of the Union
- http://ae.philly.com/entertainment/ui/philly/movie.html?id=301309&reviewId=17886[permanent dead link]
- http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=322097[permanent dead link]
- "Movie Review: XXX: State of the Union". Entertainment Weekly. 4 May 2005.
- Paul Arendt (28 April 2005). "BBC - Movies - review - XXX2: The Next Level". BBC.
- "Vin Diesel Confirms Script Almost Finished for XXX 3". amctheatres.com.
- 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.