XXX: State of the Union

Release Date: April 29, 2005

Movie of the Day for Friday, April 1, 2005
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Duck! Here comes Vin!

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154/166 David Mumpower Clearly, there are limits to my fandom of Ice Cube. This is a disastrous project destined for the Bad Movie Hall of Fame.

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Rising actor Vin Diesel and then-hot director Rob Cohen were so excited about creating a Generation X answer to the James Bond series that they blew off the sequel to The Fast and the Furious in order to film xXx. Even more telling about the two men's confidence in the project was the fact that they each signed up for a sequel at the same time. So, the arrival of xXx2 (apparently pronounced Triple X Squared) should indicate the return of the director and star of the first film, right?

Not so fast.

xXx was a hit with international receipts of roughly $270 million. It was not, however, the blockbuster franchise debut many box office analysts (myself included) predicted it to be. Even worse, word-of-mouth for the movie was mediocre at best, with more people on the "Hated It" side of the ledger than the "It's better than Cats. I am going to go see it again and again" side.

In point of fact, if you ask many people what was memorable about the movie, the answer would probably be either Euro-trash goddess Asia Argento or the throwaway line of "Bitches come!" For the first film in what was hoped to be the new millennium answer to Ian Fleming, those are scary results.

Say what you will about Vin Diesel, but he has demonstrated remarkable savvy in determining projects. Testing the waters long enough to realize that no one was asking for him to do a second film, Vin and his attached-at-the-hip director showed savvy above and beyond the producers of Tomb Raider 2 and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. The two men chose not to do the probably unwanted Xander Cage rehash, but instead went back to a character film lovers wanted to see, Riddick.

What this leaves is a void, and we know from reading fortune cookies that nature abhors a vacuum. Rather than dump the xXx franchise altogether, a decision was made that MGM/UA can't hope to match with James Bond. Revolution Studios chose to make the Three Strikes and You're Out concept ever-renewing. The die has been cast for the lead actor to change with each iteration. Each new xXx outing will come with a new set of faces thrown in free of charge. The only continuity will come in the form of Samuel L. Jackson and his frequent entrapment of semi-thugs under the auspices of The Patriot Act.

First up under the new umbrella concept is Ice Cube. His performance as an action hero/heel in films such as Ghosts of Mars and Torque combined with his box office draw in movies such as the Friday and Barbershop franchises was more than enough for Revolution. With Cube having the keys, a second decision was made to not allow the willing Asia Argento to return. Instead, the series will include a series of xXx girls along the lines of the Bond girls (not the Vivid girls, perverts).

Effectively, after only one outing in the series, the entire concept has already been torn down and rebuilt again. Don't take that to mean that Cohen and Diesel have completely soured on the project though. To the contrary, they remain executive producers. Also, Diesel has stated a willingness to do another movie should the franchise proceed beyond two films.

Driving home the point that the series is looking to mimic Bond whenever possible, the director hired is none other than Lee Tamahori. You might remember him from his last effort behind the helm - Die Another Day. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for XXX: State of the Union
Main Cast Ice Cube, Scott Speedman
Supporting Cast Samuel L. Jackson, Willem Dafoe, Nona Gaye, Sunny Mabrey, Michael Roof
Director Lee Tamahori
Screenwriter Rich Wilkes
Distributor Sony/Revolution Studios
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG-13
Running Time 93 minutes
Screen Count 3,480
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for XXX: State of the Union
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Bourne Supremacy, The 7/23/0452.52 52.52 3165 16594.59 16594.6 176.05 176.05 0.00
xXx 8/9/0244.51 46.27 3374 13191.00 13191.0 141.20 146.80 3.17
Bourne Identity, The 6/14/0227.12 28.19 2638 10281.00 10281.0 121.47 126.29 4.48
Torque 1/16/0411.44 11.44 2463 4645.64 4645.6 21.18 21.18 0.00
Biker Boyz 1/31/0310.11 10.11 1766 5723.00 5723.0 21.91 21.91 2.17



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