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XXX (2002)
Director: Rob Cohen

review by Debbie Moon

Xander Cage is an extreme sports star that specialises in headline grabbing - and extremely illegal - stunts, broadcast over the Internet to an adoring audience. When the CIA catch up with him, however, they realise he's just the man to infiltrate a gang of East European anarchists hatching a dastardly plan in Prague. So Xander becomes the world's most unlikely secret agent, and is soon disobeying orders, falling in love with double agents, snowboarding in front of avalanches, and doing all the things a movie spy revels in. But can his daredevil skills save Europe from a terrible super-weapon?
   As you may have guessed, this movie is like, you know, cool. It's got, like, snowboards, and computers, and sexy women, and thrash metal, and, you know, all the things 14-year-old boys fantasise about. It's both an unashamed updated rip-off of James Bond, and an unashamed star vehicle for the muscular but undeniably charismatic Vin Diesel.
   And is it fun? You bet it is. From an astonishing opening stunt that makes you want to rush out and dive off bridges, to a preposterous last minute defusing of the super-weapon, the popcorn movie staples are all present and correct. Diesel showed in earlier movies, notably horror gem Pitch Black, that he's a real actor; now he indulges his action hero leanings, and turns out to be equally good at that. Samuel L. Jackson provides solid support as his controller, and Asia Argento finds as much character depth as she can in the sexy, unreliable babe.
   XXX (aka: Triple X) is not going to feature on any film critic's top ten, but that's not what it aspires to. This is old-fashioned thrills and spills of the sort Bond used to deliver, and if that's what you're after, then XXX is your man.
XXX
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