xXx: State of the Union (2005)

Action, Crime, Adventure, Thriller
Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman
Darius Stone, a new agent in the XXX program, is sent to Washington, DC to defuse a power struggle amongst national leaders.
Even more absurd and implausible than the first XXX movie.
  • Sony Pictures Company:
  • PG-13 Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 29 Apr 2005 Released:
  • 26 Jul 2005 DVD Release:
  • $26.1M Box office:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

First 40 mins SUCKED...The rest? Who knows.1/10
I walked out after the first 40 mins. It was just too much to take. I have a very high tolerance for "bad" films(I really dug the first xXx) and have only walked out three time before (Dungeons and Dragons, Bad Company, and The Musketeer). This ego driven piece of garbage was just intolerable. Every time Ice Cube (a man I quite like) mugged for the camera I cringed. And Willem Dafoe is SHAMELESS. After 40mins of excruciating dialogue and NO PLOT I had to leave. I'm sure this movie is about something and there's some cool stunts, I just wasn't about to waste the rest of my evening in hopes that the film got better.

So to be fair I can't really give this a review but I can say that life is short and sometimes we just gotta put our foot down and not take the crap the studios are feeding us. Because this was clearly a movie made on autopilot. Boo!
xXx2: Coma State2/10
A film that should be retitled xXx2: Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

Opening with an impressive first 7-8 minutes, this film moves into cookie cutter territory at a frightening speed and continues to derail any opportunity for the audience to engage in the ridiculous plot or heavily computer generated action sequences.

Ice Cube will never be thanking the academy (he at times look like he would struggle to play himself), but the Razzie committee should be on the lookout for this up and comer, this type of dribble is the cinematic equivalent of being run over repeatedly by a truck with the stereo cranked up to 11.

The first xXx was at least assure of itself, popcorn action with the acknowledgment that it was bang for buck and nothing more. State of The Union takes itself far too seriously with a plot so absurd you swear it was written by a focus group of 13 year old boys after a binge at McDonalds. Action sequences are spaced every ten minutes or so as bookends to move Cube onto the next dilemma, each new sequence becoming further and further detached from reality (the final twenty minutes is utter insanity that makes films like Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle seem like documentaries). A sequence involving a train should be parody material, not a serious plot device.

Samuel L Jackson cashes in his paycheck and plods through the movie looking as though he just read the script and realized what he has got himself involved in. Scott Speedman's looks too immature to play a senior NSA agent and is largely in the film so the white folks don't feel left out. Willem Dafoe typecasts himself as the overacting bad guy yet again and X-Zibit pops in so he can possible audition for the lead in the next sequel xXx3: Turkey Season.

Women are treated as fodder to either slap around or grind up against (sometimes at the same time) all to a soundtrack of nameless rappers inserted at appropriate moments so that the white kids can know what its like to be African American.

My only positive comment on this whole debacle are the cars used in the film, not being a car enthusiast even I had to be quietly impressed by the rides in this film. Also this film is under the 2 hour mark a sign of a film that does know when its wearing out its welcome.

Hopefully with the resoundingly negative response xXx2 has currently received another sequel looks unlikely, as films like this are about as satisfying as a having your nose broken.
Not worth watching3/10
Released in the Philippines as "xXx: The Next Level", this sequel is definitely more expensive, has more action, has similar number of stunts and has new action lead played by an unlikely actor. But despite the production values, this sequel is definitely not worth your time and money.

Vin Diesel, who made people think that xXx stands for "Xander Cage is eXtremely eXplosive" being the hero of the original, is nowhere to be found which is both a good and bad thing. Diesel can deliver the action and stunts solidly but he's so annoying when it comes to dialog and comedy moments. I always hated the "Think PlayStation!" line.

In the sequel, Samuel L. Jackson's agency gets desperate and decides to hire a new action agent with "more attitude". It turned out to be Ice Cube, a prisoner in the film.

Ice Cube never fits in well with his action-packed role. Compared to Diesel, Cube is never convincing in doing action and stunts. Worse, Cube is very lousy with his dialog and certain moments that demanded comedy. I think Cube is better off with a pure-comedy or pure-hip hop role (be it lead or supporting) but as an action star? NO WAY! I'd rather watch Ice Cube in his old role in Anaconda than this movie! You will end up wishing the producers got back Diesel in the sequel.

Samuel L. Jackson this time gets more screen time although I would prefer they lessened his action scenes and added talking scenes instead. Early in the film, you'll see Jackson dual wield guns ala John Woo (to live up to his position in his agency and survive) but I find his role in the first movie better. Still it's nice to see him get more screen time this time.

Willem Dafoe, who played a Vietnam soldier and a special forces coordinator before, plays the defense secretary who plans to overthrow the government. His presence is very well felt and he delivers a good performance. You will hate him even more in this film than in Spider-Man.

Sunny Mabrey? She is very pretty and very sexy. In short a hot girl but she's nothing more than just eye candy here and she cannot be taken seriously. She should be given some roles that demand performance, not looks.

Lee Tamahori, whose most successful flick was Die Another Day, is the director this time but most noticeable is his increased use of computer graphics. Thanks to him, the film's pace is fast and something always happen on-screen to keep you awake.

xXx story this time is shallower. Conspiracies are supposed to be deep and detailed but this sequel simply skipped all the requirements just to deliver action, explosions, crappy dialog and special effects. The sequel is best viewed as a non-thinking, MTV-styled edited action flick.

Action scenes and special effects are plenty but certain scenes are just too unbelievable to see and accept. I did notice however that the action in the sequel are more military in nature when compared to that of the first film wherein its action is more related to extreme sports.

I don't recommend watching this sequel at all. You are better of skipping it. But if you really want to watch it, better wait for the DVD release instead.
At least Vin Diesel wasn't in this one1/10
I had no idea what State of the Union was going to be about when I went to see it last weekend. Once inside the movie theater I was told that it is a sequel to the movie XXX. Stunned that I was about to see a Vin Diesel (have nothing personal against him but I found that odds are high that if he is in a movie I won't like it, especially after the dreaded "Man Apart") movie I almost got up to leave. I was reassured, however, that he was not in it. Sitting through the first few minutes I saw names that I liked--Ice Cube and Samuel L. Jackson--and decided to give this one a shot. I didn't see the first XXX. I wish I hadn't seen the sequel. But I did. At the end I was wishing that Vin Diesel would come and save the day by shooting the characters of Willem Dafoe, Samuel L. Jackson, Ice Cube, the College Boy and the entire biker crew. To say this movie doesn't have a plot would be insulting movies which don't have a plot but at least attempt to have one. A tyrannical Secretary of Defense who wants to kill everyone, starting with the President, in order of succession so he can lead the country? A crew of DC thugs who come to the rescue of the country so they can live in a country where they are "free to jack cars"? This movie has the same effect on a viewers intellect as does junk food on his body. It kills it slowly. And with enough Whoppers and curly fries like this one one could become brain dead. Hollywood really should put warning labels on these prepackaged cookie-cutter action movies "This movie may kill your brain cells!"
Much funnier than "Johnny English" - too bad it's not supposed to be a comedy.2/10
"xXx2: The Next Level" (Revolution Studios and Columbia Pictures changed the subtitle from "State of the Union" for international territories, for obvious reasons) comes from the director of "Die Another Day," which was terrible; producer Neal H. Moritz, whose last credited project was the dire (and thankfully now-cancelled) "Point Pleasant"; is a sequel to the dreadful "xXx"; and comes equipped with Samuel L. Jackson's stated dislike of making movies with rappers. On this showing, you can't blame him.

Trading in Vin Diesel (his character is written out by someone saying that he got killed in Bora Bora) for Ice Cube is no improvement; not only is he not the most expressive actor, but he's not that convincing in action (when he's being chased by Scott Speedman you just KNOW that Speedman would catch him like that (snaps fingers) in real life). In fairness to Mr. Cube, he's far from the only thing wrong with this; Simon Kinberg's screenplay seems not only to have been aimed at emotionally and intellectually stunted 13-year-olds but written by them as well, with the plot starting idiotically and continuing from there - the villainous Secretary of Defence played by Willem Dafoe is so pantomime villainous that when he makes a speech to Jackson you're surprised he doesn't laugh maniacally.

Suspending disbelief is one thing, but when you have a movie that expects people to believe that tanks can be handled like motorbikes... and which works in such daft plot turns as characters having their deaths faked just so they can be around for the climax (why not just kill them there?)... and that has a finale which depends on a car and a Presidential bullet train being able to fit on the same track despite the car being a compact if speedy sports car... in this case it's just impossible. Admittedly it doesn't help that said scenes are incompetently executed thanks to shockingly bad special effects and shoddy direction; some of the miniatures are glaringly obvious, and I particularly hope that lead effects house Industrial Light and Magic didn't do the CGI bullet train shots. And as for the way some of the shots go from film to what looks like video and back again...

The cast isn't much good either, although it's fun to see Peter Strauss as the President (in spite or because of his not sounding like he believes a word of this); Xzibit not only helps parts of this seem like "Pimp My Ride: The Movie" but he can't act, Dafoe is Special Guest Villain level, and Jackson phones it in. As for the female characters, Nona Gaye and Sunny Mabrey are pretty much defined by their cleavage and by the fact that one's good and the other (the one who looks like a cross between Nicolette Sheridan and Rachel Bilson) isn't. (The movie can't even be laddish properly; for some reason the sexiest woman in the movie (Masuimi Max, who plays Xzibit's girlfriend and who helps out with the robbery of the artillery-carrying cheese truck) isn't listed in the credits.) And the tiresome, crowbarred-in rap numbers don't help, certainly not compared to Marco Beltrami's score. (Ironically, at one point on hearing the female string quartet Bond our hero complains about the music; they are not to blame for the aural wrongs.)

"xXx2: Whatever" is so unexciting and so absurd that despite its stabs at relevance (our hero claims Dafoe is hatching "World War IV"), the only way to get through it is as a laugher; the sight of Ice Cube in a suit and tie (with umbrella!) is funnier than his intentional attempt at comedy later in the same scene. To make it worse, the last scene leaves the door wide open for a third movie... if it does happen, why not cast Scarlett Johansson or Charlotte Church as the new Triple X? It's not like realism is a key factor here.