xXx: Return of Xander Cage
|xXx: Return of Xander Cage|
North American theatrical release poster
|Directed by||D. J. Caruso|
|Written by||F. Scott Frazier|
by Rich Wilkes
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$346.1 million|
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (released as xXx: Reactivated in some countries) is a 2017 American action film directed by D. J. Caruso and written by F. Scott Frazier. The film stars Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette, and Samuel L. Jackson. It is the third installment in the xXx franchise and a sequel to both xXx (2002) and xXx: State of the Union (2005).
Unlike the previous films, which were distributed by Columbia Pictures, the film was released by Paramount Pictures on January 20, 2017, in 2D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D. This also marks the first film produced by Revolution Studios in ten years since 2007's The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed over $346 million worldwide against a production budget of $85 million, making it the tenth highest-grossing film of 2017, the highest-grossing film of Revolution Studios and in the franchise.
NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons attempts to recruit footballer Neymar Jr. for the xXx program when a satellite crashes in Brazil, killing them both. Shortly afterwards, a team of four skilled individuals led by Xiang infiltrate a highly guarded CIA office in New York City and retrieve "Pandora's Box", a device which is capable of controlling satellites to crash at specific locations as warheads. CIA Agent Jane Marke tracks down former xXx operative Xander Cage, who faked his death and has been living in self-imposed exile in the Dominican Republic, and convinces him to return to active service to retrieve the device.
After enlisting an old friend, Ainsley, for help, Cage tracks down the attackers to the Philippines. A unit of Special Forces operatives led by Paul Donovan is assigned to help Xander, but he rejects them in favour of his own team, composed of sharpshooter Adele Wolff, DJ Harvard "Nicks" Zhou, and getaway driver Tennyson "The Torch." They are also aided by introverted weapons specialist Becky Clearidge. The team locates Xiang and his teammates Serena, Talon and Hawk, and Cage meets Xiang in an underground nightclub on a remote island, where Xiang reveals that his team are all part of the xXx program, recruited by Gibbons. He claims to have stolen Pandora's Box to prevent its misuse, although Serena believes they should destroy it.
Shortly after, Russian soldiers raid the island. The group manages to fend off the attackers, while Xiang manages to escape with Pandora's Box. Xander intercepts Xiang and chases him to a nearby beach. Serena betrays him, destroys the Box and joins Xander's team, while Xiang escapes and regroups with Talon and Hawk. After another satellite crash in Russia, Marke determines that the device that Serena destroyed was only a prototype, and that both teams have been wasting time, while Cage determines that CIA Director Anderson is involved in the conspiracy and that the actual Pandora's Box is in his hands.
Cage's and Xiang's teams race to reach Anderson first in Detroit, tracking the unique signal of Pandora's Box, with Xander and Xiang fighting and later protecting each other from Anderson's men. Xander confronts Anderson, who admits to causing the satellite crash that killed Gibbons. Anderson is then shot dead by Wolff. The CIA arrests Xiang in an attempt to frame him for the attack in Russia, and secures the box. En route back to headquarters, Marke announces that the xXx Program has been shut down and shoots Xander in order to keep it for herself. She then sends a group of assassins to eliminate the others, who are awaiting extraction at a local NSA warehouse. They join forces to fend off their attackers and receive assistance from another former xXx operative, Darius Stone.
Xander survives due to a bulletproof vest Becky had given him earlier and joins forces with Xiang to fight Donovan and his men, while Marke uses the box to send a satellite plummeting towards the warehouse where the teams are fighting. Xander ejects Donovan from the plane, while Xiang sends Marke falling to her death and then parachutes out with the box in hand. Despite Becky's attempts to halt the signal, they cannot stop the satellite from crashing. In a last attempt to protect them, Xander crashes the plane into the approaching satellite before it reaches the warehouse and jumps out, using the cargo load to safely reach the ground. Xiang gives Cage the device, and Xander decides to destroy it. The team attends Gibbons' funeral, where Xander is approached by Gibbons himself, who faked his death and is now rebuilding the xXx Program on his own, starting with Neymar as the newest recruit. Gibbons compliments Xander on a job well done and Xander decides to continue in service, ready for a new mission to watch the watchers and preserve liberty.
- Vin Diesel as Xander Cage / xXx
- Donnie Yen as Xiang / xXx
- Deepika Padukone as Serena Unger
- Kris Wu as Harvard "Nicks" Zhou
- Ruby Rose as Adele Wolff
- Tony Jaa as Talon
- Nina Dobrev as Rebecca "Becky" Clearidge
- Samuel L. Jackson as NSA Agent Augustus Eugene Gibbons
- Toni Collette as CIA Agent Jane Marke
- Nicky Jam as Lazarus
- Rory McCann as Tennyson "The Torch"
- Al Sapienza as CIA Director Anderson
- Michael Bisping as Hawk
- Ariadna Gutiérrez as Gina Roff
- Hermione Corfield as Ainsley
- Tony Gonzalez as Paul Donovan
- Ice Cube as Darius Stone / xXx
- Shawn Roberts as Jonas
- Daniel Kash as Russian Spymaster
- Neymar Jr. as Himself / xXx
- Andrey Ivenchko as Red Erik
Although the character of Xander Cage was supposedly killed in the sequel to explain his absence, Vin Diesel announced in 2006 that he would be returning as Xander Cage in a second sequel, entitled xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Initially, not only Diesel was set to return, but also the director of xXx, Rob Cohen. Diesel has said that the style and music will also be similar to that of the original film, more of what the fans want, with an emphasis on extreme stunts and with a heavy metal soundtrack. Joe Roth was in talks to produce. According to Cohen, he has also approached Sony, and "now we're writing a script with the guys who wrote Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation. So we'll do another Xander Cage XXX. We'll bring it up to speed a bit and bring back the extreme sports guy who's drafted to be a spy." On June 10, 2009, Cohen dropped out of the production, instead moving to direct the action film Medieval. On August 26, 2009, SlashFilm announced that Ericson Core would be directing and production would start in early 2010.
In April 2010, it was revealed that the third film would be financed by Paramount Pictures instead of Sony, and would also be shot in 3D. Meanwhile, Rob Cohen had returned as director. Vin Diesel will produce, among others, while Gloria S. Borders, Scott Hemming, Ric Kidney and Vince Totino will serve as executive producers.
Filming and casting
In January 2014, Vin Diesel confirmed work on a sequel tentatively titled xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. On August 23, 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 would direct the film. Diesel announced that UFC fighter Conor McGregor was cast in a role and that Jackson will be reprising his role as Gibbons. However, in April 2016 it was announced McGregor had dropped out of his planned appearance to focus on training and the UFC; he was replaced by Michael Bisping. On January 1, 2016, Twitch reported that Tony Jaa, Jet Li and Deepika Padukone were cast in roles. The following week, Nina Dobrev and Ruby Rose were also cast. Dobrev would be playing a witty and sarcastic techie, while Padukone will play a huntress who happens to be Cage’s former lover. Rose will play a sniper. 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. It started filming later in January 2016 and with schedules in Canada in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario, as well as the Dominican Republic and the Philippines.
It was rumored that Ice Cube, who played the protagonist Darius Stone in the second film in 2005, would reprise his role, which was confirmed in January 2017. On February 6, 2016, Caruso revealed on his Twitter account that Kris Wu had joined the cast, he also added that Wu would be playing a vital character. On February 12, 2016, reports brought in the news that Jet Li dropped out of the film and was replaced with Donnie Yen in the role of the main antagonist, Xiang. On June 3, 2016, it was revealed that Brazilian footballer Neymar joined the film's cast.
Brian Tyler composed and wrote the film's original score alongside Robert Lydecker. The film's soundtrack contained songs and remixes of various artists, including songs by Kris Wu, Nicky Jam and Ice Cube who appear in the film.
All music composed by Brian Tyler and Robert Lydecker.
|1.||"xXx: The Return of Xander Cage"||4:05|
|2.||"Xander Cage...Live and In Concert"||1:55|
|3.||"I Live for This $#!%"||4:15|
|7.||"The Last Greatest Adventure"||5:38|
|9.||"Rock, Paper, Scissors, Grenade Launcher"||2:18|
|10.||"A New Ride"||2:42|
|11.||"Tattoos and Triangulation"||3:35|
|14.||"Twenty Two and a Half"||3:05|
|15.||"Battle of the X's"||5:33|
|16.||"Not So Special Forces"||2:42|
|17.||"Besting the Best of the Best"||3:50|
|18.||"Read Between The Lines"||2:28|
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Music from the Motion Picture)
|Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|1.||"In My Foreign"||The Americanos featuring Ty Dolla Sign, Lil Yachty, Nicky Jam and French Montana||3:38|
|2.||"All the Way Up (Remix)"||Fat Joe, Remy Ma and David Guetta||3:31|
|3.||"Divebomb"||Madsonik and KILL THE NOISE featuring Tom Morello||3:33|
|5.||"Gunshy"||ImanoS featuring Pusha T and Karen Harding||3:54|
|7.||"Burning Man"||watt featuring Post Malone||3:17|
|8.||"Blood in the Cut"||K. Flay||3:08|
|10.||"Take it to the Top"||Madsonik||3:53|
|11.||"Thank God"||Ice Cube||5:16|
xXx: Return of Xander Cage grossed $44.9 million in the United States and Canada and $301.4 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $346.3 million, against a production budget of $85 million.
In North America, the film was released alongside Split, The Founder, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone and the wide expansion of 20th Century Women, and was expected to gross $16–20 million from about 3,651 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $1.2 million from its Thursday night previews at 2,536 theaters. It ended up grossing $20 million, finishing second at the box office behind Split ($40.2 million) and ranking as the second-highest debut of the xXx franchise. Worldwide, the film had an opening weekend of $70.5 million, nearly totaling the amount its predecessor made during its entire theatrical run ($71.1 million).
In China, Paramount focused marketing efforts on Donnie Yen, placing him at the front of some film posters ahead of Vin Diesel, and shared clips and reviews of Yen's performance in the film on popular Chinese social media site Weibo. Paramount's efforts worked very well in China. xXx was number one in its opening weekend with $61.9 million, and crossed the $100 million mark in just six days with $22.2m coming from Valentine's Day alone after reviews praising Donnie Yen’s performance sweeps through Chinese social media, driving moviegoers to the cinema. Aside from Donnie Yen, the digital focused marketing was also credited for the film's success. Kris Wu's popularity was also a key factor and his music video for his song in the xXx soundtrack garnered 40 million views ahead of the film's release in China. The film joined Terminator Genisys and Warcraft as the only Hollywood releases to earn $100 million in China without making $100 million in the United States.
On the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 43% based on 112 reviews, and an average rating of 4.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "xXx: Return of Xander Cage should satisfy fans of the first two installments, but its preponderance of set pieces can't quite make up for a tired storyline that fails to take the franchise – or action fans – anywhere new." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score 42 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". On CinemaScore, audiences gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
Andrew Lapin of Uproxx gave the film a negative review, saying: "There is an intellectual argument to be made in favor of the Fast & Furious franchise, which features diverse casts, operatic plotlines, and cartoon setpieces that often look like a child assembled them out of Hot Wheels sets. xXx is aiming for a much lower bar, striving only to be marketable, not inventive. The series is no longer interested in aping James Bond, lacking as it does a decent gadget or supervillain and often highlighting the sidekicks at the expense of Xander himself."
In an interview with Variety published January 2017, Diesel revealed that Paramount has already contacted him about returning for a fourth film, even going so far as asking him if he and other cast members would be willing to get to work sometime in May.
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