xXx: Return Of Xander Cage is fast and furiously unsatisfying

Vin Diesel project assembles all the right elements for a fine actioner, but quickly runs out of gas


XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (D.J. Caruso). 107 minutes. Opens Friday (January 20). See listing. Rating: NN


Vin Diesel dusts off his Puff Daddy coat and make-believe talents in extreme sports for xXx, return of the franchise that never got started.

Attempting to retrofit the Bond-meets-Point-Break stinker with some Fast And Furious horsepower, star/producer Diesel assembles all the right elements and uses them wrong. There’s a new xXx crew of super spies, giving Diesel the opportunity to rejig his “We’re family” mantra with “X takes care of its own.” Somewhere in L.A., Xzibit’s like “bitch, please.”

The diverse team includes Tony Jaa, Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen (better used in Rogue One), Chinese-Canadian recording artist Kris Wu and Bollywood heavyweight Deepika Padukone, who’s the most charming of the bunch. They’re great when afforded screen time in a dizzying adventure about retrieving a super weapon.

But unlike the truly ensemble nature of the Furious franchise, these actors are treated as ornaments next to Diesel, whose stunt doubles and CG doppelgängers see more action than Jaa.

And while Yen’s hands and feet fly all over the place, his sequences are all shot up close and hacked to chaotic bits in the editing room. Good luck seeing any of the awesomeness we can only assume is going down.

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