XXX (2002)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Glamorized Spy Film  |   Release Date - Aug 9, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 124 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Rob Cohen's XXX seems to be inspired by video games. Loud electronic European techno music (including a hilarious cover of the famous score from The Third Man) accompanies Xander Cane, played with great tough-guy panache by Vin Diesel, as he shoots guns, out-snowboards an avalanche, brings down a drug cartel, drives real real fast, beds Asia Argento, and blows stuff up. Borrowing the plot points familiar to anyone who has ever seen a James Bond film, XXX certainly finds an energy that has been missing from those films. What sets this film apart from other films obviously aimed at the international action market is the lead actor. Diesel is a compelling figure. He appears to genuinely enjoy himself on screen without resorting to self-mockery that would pull the audience out of the movie. Like the most memorable Bond actors, he wants the audience to have as good a time watching the movie as he did making it. On that level the film is a success. There may not be anything original about XXX, but it is an energetic addition to a familiar genre.