XXX2: The Next Level (12A)
Time Out saysThe game-related subtitle suggests Lee Tamahori and crew want us to believe that they always intended this flash-bang sequel to be a pastiche of the original. That may be, but what they forgot is that a computer game allows the viewer to interact with what’s happening on screen and then switch it off at will. Here, all we can do is fiddle with our watches in between laughing at the vapid banality of the film’s dialogue and gawping at the absurdity of it all. The premise, especially, is an extreme jaw-dropper.
America’s clandestine National Security Agency, presided over by Samuel L Jackson’s operations agent, is infiltrated by a secret army of assailants armed with sci-fi weaponry and dressed up like ‘Splinter Cell’ game icon Sam Fisher. Enter replacement agent XXX2 (Ice Cube), who steps in to Vin Diesel’s trainers to kick some political ass and – with the aid of a small army of bling-bling brethren and their pimp mobiles – save America from a Secretary of Defense (Willem Dafoe) who is secretly plotting against an increasingly pacifist President. Tamahori’s a dab hand at directing OTT action sequences, but here the Bond-like forays are taken to new heights of ridiculousness. And besides, Cube’s too pudgy to be leaping off buildings like that.
Fri Apr 29, 2005