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Awesome: 3.8%
Worth A Look: 7.59%
Just Average: 6.33%
Pretty Crappy: 25.32%

6 reviews, 43 user ratings

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XXX: State of the Union
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Now Man-Fur-free and with 37% more X!"
1 stars

“XXX: State of the Union” is, of course, the sequel to the 2002 Vin Diesel epic “XXX.” You remember “XXX,” don’t you? Sadly, I don’t, except that it featured both the usually electrifying Asia Argento in perhaps her dullest performance to date and, in Diesel, an “extreme” secret agent whose overt manliness was somewhat tempered by the silly man-fur that he wore throughout much of the picture. Sadly, Diesel decided to skip this sequel–apparently he saw himself doing projects that would allow him more opportunities for rassling ducks–and as a result, we learn early on in this follow-up that his character has been “killed in Bora Bora.” The implication is that he was killed in the line of duty; personally, I am convinced that he died of heatstroke due to his refusal to shed the man-fur. Instead, the producers has decided to reconfigure the potential franchise by bringing in a new “XXX” for each film. Frankly, for all the character development the film allows for (zero), the part could be played by Brenda Fricker and it would hardly make a difference.

Of course, manly action franchises generally don’t rest on the shoulders of Brenda Fricker, so Ice Cube appears as the new XXX–top soldier Darius Stone, who is currently doing 20 years in military prison for refusing orders and striking a superior officer during the conflict in Kosovo. After an attack wipes out most of his men, NSA agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson, one of the few elements carried over from the first film) busts him out in order to get to the bottom of who ordered the attack and why. Before too long, it turns out that the attack was the brainchild of the slimy Secretary of Defense (Willem Dafoe), who is planning on staging a coup during the State of the Union address given by the newly anti-isolationist President (Peter Strauss) that will put him in power while pinning the blame for it on Gibbons. Only Darius can save the day and the President, but since his special skills seem to be limited to scowling and his impression of Jim Brown, he requires the help of an NSA geek (Michael Roof), a lone agent who believes Darius’s story (Scott Speedman), a hot babe (Nona Gaye) and a car chopper (Xzibit) who leads his army of car thieves into a battle on the streets of Washington D.C. that leaves pretty much everything a smoking pile of rubble.

One doesn’t watch “XXX: State of the Union,” one is assaulted by its raw, unvarnished idiocy. From the opening attack sequence, which is dropped in so abruptly that it feels as if the projectionist forgot to thread up the first reel, to the climax, in which the Capitol is essentially destroyed without a thought or care, every scene tries to be bigger, louder and dumber than the one that preceded it and it is sad to report that it seems to be the only thing that writer Simon Kinberg and director Lee Tamahori seem to be any good at. At a certain point, I realized that the only thing keeping me in my seat (outside of professional obligations) was to see just how stupid things could actually get. My personal favorite is seeing the President enter the Capitol to deliver his address-a scene that has inexplicably been staged along the lines of an exceptionally cheesy movie premiere, right down to the red carpet and cheering crowds outside.

The saddest thing about “XXX: State of the Nation” is that it once again shows Ice Cube, perhaps the most charismatic rapper-turned-actor in the history of such crossovers, squandering his talents on a load of ugly and offensive junk–the kind of film where the biggest cheers come when he punches the same woman in the face twice. (Okay, she’s evil and all, but that barely excuses it.) Although he has shown the ability to do serious dramatic work in films such as “Boyz N the Hood” and “Three Kings,” he seems inexplicably content to waste his time on material that would inspire rewrite demands from the likes of Steven Seagal. I still hope that he will one day take his acting career more seriously and do something that will allow him to do the work he is capable of, though the inevitable success of this film will probably mean that such a day isn’t going to come for quite some time.

Watching “XXX: State of the Nation” is like watching an entire month’s worth of programming on one of those cable channels that specializes in action extravaganzas compressed into a concentrated 100-minute dose of mind-roasting stupidity. There is not a single element in this film that could even vaguely be considered original–every moment has been cribbed from another source and stitched together in a manner that defies logic or coherence. It isn’t even particularly discriminating when it comes to the films that it rips things off from–even such less-than-celebrated titles as “Speed 2,” “Stone Cold” and “Octopussy” have bits of business that reappear here in lesser forms. As a rule of thumb, I would suggest that if you are a screenwriter reduced to borrowing from the likes of “Octopussy,” you might want to consider gracefully retiring from the project in order to keep a bit of your dignity intact.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11933&reviewer=389
originally posted: 04/28/05 23:56:33
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User Comments

8/25/20 morris campbell not bad 3 stars
9/03/15 David Hollingsworth A horrible sequel to a movie no one really wanted in the first place. 1 stars
2/15/11 max lords the black woman was not a man, the movie wasn't half bad. 4 stars
12/18/09 Jeff Wilder Ice Cube can act better than Vin Diesel. But the movie is still no improvement. 2 stars
5/25/07 Nadeem Malik Yuck 4 stars
2/24/07 D Completely redefines the genre, like Die Hard before it 5 stars
12/14/06 BrianDePalma Watching such atrocity is self-torture 1 stars
10/15/06 Charles Tatum It makes "Torque" look like "The Guns of Navarone" 1 stars
8/16/06 Amal Silly, overdone, poor humor and no decent thread 1 stars
6/17/06 Zed Cinematic equivalent of deadly toxic waste 1 stars
5/14/06 Jason Garbage product from Hollywood 1 stars
4/24/06 Alex Kalk I liked the movie but it would have been better with vin diseasal 4 stars
4/09/06 Anthony Feor The absence of Diesel makes this movie lose stars, but it is in fact not that bad 3 stars
2/05/06 Craig The WORST sequel i've ever seen. Yes the Worst 1 stars
12/08/05 JM Synth Unlike the first, you could at least honestly call this an action flick 3 stars
10/17/05 malcolm nona gaye's cleavage was the best part 2 stars
9/14/05 Tom Burns Action packed. 4 stars
9/01/05 tony PHONEY! this movie could have been better. it is too overrated for me. Wheres Vin Deisel? 2 stars
8/25/05 BIG-TE This movie sucks balls!!! 1 stars
8/05/05 LA Boy One of the worst movie ever. Ice cude doesn't fit to this movie 1 stars
8/03/05 Brittany AWESOME! 5 stars
8/02/05 Highlyed This was pretty bad and don't blame cube Denzel could have been in this and it woul dhave 2 stars
8/02/05 Bad Critic Not nearly as beliveable or intelligent as the first one, but had some cool action scenes. 4 stars
7/29/05 Doodah Bobo Good action could've made this a satisfying film without the racial stereotypes. 3 stars
7/26/05 Ice-T Only thing entertaining about seein this was my gf blowin me off 1 stars
7/25/05 Suke This would have been good if it took place in Compton with a giant Anaconda drinking 40s. 1 stars
7/24/05 Eric Rollins XXX is actually Ice Cube's waist size 1 stars
6/07/05 Anthony G God damn this movie sucked DICK,piece of shit plot and cast, ditch this bullshit 1 stars
6/04/05 Hack-SAW The only saving grace to this flaming peice of DOGSHIT, was Willem Dafoe & Sam L. Jackson! 2 stars
5/25/05 tony correction.george lazenby sucked!!! thats y he was fired. This movie was a bad sequel. 2 stars
5/19/05 varyouga The acting and plot were complete dogshit but it did have some very creative scenes. 4 stars
5/16/05 Steve Newman this is complete bollox - my 12 yr old and his mate loved it (its still bollox) 1 stars
5/15/05 gay it sucks 4 life 1 stars
5/09/05 croweater888 George Lazenby quit before the films release, he wast fired.This film really sucked people! 1 stars
5/05/05 Kristi i believe that Vin Diesel was 100 times better than ice cube as xxx. 3 stars
5/05/05 Christy Schultz Yuck...miss the first one 1 stars
5/03/05 M Vin was smart to say NO! Ice Cube is poorly cast! 1 stars
5/02/05 Josh How sad that blacks people and teenagers apparently will pay to see anything 1 stars
5/02/05 Kristina Williams No Vin? No Asia Argento? No see. 1 stars
5/02/05 KingNeutron Direction was pretty awful, but it *did* have some truly funny moments. 2 stars
4/30/05 herrinfamily yuck 2 stars
4/30/05 Hannah The black woman is a transvestite but the white woman is "lucious"? Whatever. 5 stars
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  29-Apr-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 26-Jul-2005



Directed by
  Lee Tamahori

Written by
  Simon Kinberg

  Ice Cube
  Samuel L. Jackson
  Willem Dafoe
  Scott Speedman
  Nona Gaye
  Peter Strauss

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