Director: Lee Tamahori
Starring: Ice Cube, Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman,
Peter Strauss, Samuel L. Jackson
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG (Clean)
Consumer Advice: Action Violence
Language: English Dialogues with Chinese
Date: 28 April 2005
Revolution Studios’ bold new action thriller XXX2: The
Next Level, a follow-up to the blockbuster franchise film
of 2002, the winds of political change are rumbling through
the halls of the Capitol as a popular President is being targeted
for assassination by a radical splinter group of dissenters
deep within the United States government.
Only two people stand between anarchy and freedom: One of
them, Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson), has just survived
a hit on the National Security Agency's top-secret headquarters
and is on the run. The other, a decorated Special Ops soldier,
Darius Stone (Ice Cube), sits under close guard in a military
Gibbons once again finds himself in need of an outsider and
Stone is his man. The new XXX agent must uncover the insurgents
from within. It is the nation’s only hope to stop the
first coup d'etat in American history.
upon a time, there are action stars from Hong Kong liked Jackie
Chan, Jet Li who performed most of their own stunt works.
came Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis who are also action
stars but all they have to do is performed most of their stunt
works in front of blue or green screen.
another breed of action star is born. The computer generated
action star whereby the star is not even required to perform
the dangerous stunts on set as most of the them are CG and
composite onscreen. Before you go further, I must warn you
that “XXX2: The Next Level” is made on this readily
available concept (see “XXX” one if you haven’t).
Brushing off the unbelievable stunts in this movie will definitely
kill your enjoyment.
Cube (“Torque”, “Barbershop”) plays
Darius Stone, a tough no-nonsense highly skilled ex-military
man who was court-marshalled for hitting his superior. As
with the first “XXX”, he is being secretly recruited
by Gibbons (the prolific Samuel L. Jackson), the National
Security Agency agent to penetrate the U.S. political scene
to check out a coup to overthrow the government. Without the
need to stretch your brain cells, you can practically sniff
out who is behind the conspiracy when the Secretary of Defense,
George Deckert (Green Goblin aka Willem Dafoe) made his appearance
with his sly looks.
will be most injustice to compare Vin Diesel with Ice Cube’s
performance. Though both possess radical personality in the
XXX series, Cube might be deter by the popularity department,
his hip-hop image is too vivid for audience to shake off.
plotting is apparently clear-cut, good versus the bad. While
the first instalment involves a lot of extreme sports inspired
action sequences, this one is just a good excuse for the moviemakers
to pepper the movie with continuous gravity disabled stunts
and a whole slew of eye-boggling cars such as the Ford Cobra
Concept car. In addition some rather funny one-liner to go
along liked Stone saying: ”XXX sounds liked a name for
a porn star”.
Neal H. Moritz who produced recent hits liked “The Fast
& The Furious” and “SWAT” seems to be
on the verge of becoming the next Jerry Bruckheimer. In addition,
New Zealand born director Lee Tamahori (“Die Another
Day”) who helmed this project gave the impression that
he is going on fourth gear from the movie opens and brakes
only when the credits roll. With an opening that involves
plenty of high-tech gadgets and explosions, there isn’t
a minute of the movie slowing down and if this is insufficient,
the finale even involved a bullet train chase sequence courtesy
from the wizards at ILM.
in all, “XXX2: The Next Level” is akin to a can
of “Red Bull”, full of adrenalin and energy. If
you are looking for a bowl of hot ginseng chicken soup, I
suggest you look elsewhere.