Movie Night: xXx

Year: 2002

Production Company: Revolution Studios

Leads: Vin Diesel, Asia Argento

It’s funny to think that xXx was released ten years ago; it feels like its been a lot longer. Perhaps it’s to do with the fact that I’ve consciously avoided this movie out of a small sense of shame for having liked it all the way back then. It’s not that it isn’t a good movie (it’s pretty average, in my opinion), but it’s such a ridiculously thoughtless, testosterone-fulled feel-good flick that it feels a simple admission of enjoyment would cause giant pecs to explode on my chest. It was also my introduction to Vin Diesel, who seems to have thrown away whatever potential acting career Saving Private Ryan might have spawned and spent the following fifteen years making movies about…Vin Diesel.

Anyway. It was certainly a romp; I recalled exactly why I liked the movie when it came out: the simple pleasure of seeing Rammstein blow shit up as a US spy gets killed by Russians. How very metal. This was novel to me (I hadn’t seen Ace Ventura: Pet Detective at that point, and was still blissfully unaware of the infamous Cannibal Corpse performance), and the idea of introducing metal to the mainstream was wonderful. It didn’t take me long to realize it for a bandwagon, but the simple trip of watching a movie scored my Rammstein, Drowning Pool, Queens of the Stone Age and Hatebreed was satisfying in its own reward.

xXx is a simple enough story; a straight-up James Bond rip-off, dirtied up and without the wit, Xander Cage (really?) is an anarchic criminal picked up by the NSA to become their newest secret agent. He is to infiltrate a crime gang in Prague, because they’re working on world-destroying biological weapons. Or something. There’s also a girl, who’s an ex-Russian agent who was abandoned and decided to hang around the bad guys for a bit, because there wasn’t anything else to do. Or something.

Basically, that’s all you really need to know; everything from there on in is lots and lots (and lots) of explosions. In fact, the stunts themselves are remarkable; the film won an award (it’s only win, it must be said) at the World Stunt Awards. Two scenes in particular: driving a Corvette off a bridge and then parachuting to safety (The Spy Who Loved Me, anyone? (incidentally, one of the best opening sequences of any movie, ever)), and the bit where he harpoons a speedboat and parasails behind it. Yep.

The James Bond shows through in plenty of places: the Russians, the mysterious head honcho, the gadgets and the car full of weapons and an ejecting roof. The most worrying thing about watching this movie was having to explain James Bond to Little Satis. Do you know I can’t find them on iTunes or Netflix? What’s wrong with the world these days?

There were quite a few more ‘sexy bits’ than I remember; particularly a scene where the bad guy wakes up draped in three stark naked women. Little Satis goes, “Boobies – eew!”. Had I recalled, I might have chosen a different film, but in hindsight, I remember being just as thrillingly scandalized at the scantily clad women and the gratuitous scenes in James Bond as a child, so I guess it all works out in the end.

Wait a minute…

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆