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XXX2

Year: 2005
Studio: Columbia
Director: Lee Tamahori
Cast: Ice Cube, Samuel L Jackson, Willem Dafoe, Peter Strauss, Nona Gaye
Philip Noyce left Hollywood when he realised he'd turned into a hack action director for hire. Will accusations of selling out hit below Lee Tamahori's belt once too often and cause a similar turning of his back on the system that's clearly feeding him well? This guy is a universe away from the brutal realism of Once Were Warriors, a pure thrills and spills director of the computer game class.

The plot of XXX2 doesn't even warrant a mention - if you've seen the trailer you can probably recite it from beginning to end, if not you can probably guess.

And it's wrapped up in a veritable catalogue of clichés from every other action film from the last decade. An urban midnight spares operation is filled with gangstas surrounded by implausibly beautiful women; a car is driven onto railway tracks (at 200 mph, no less), the tyres conveniently shredded off and the wheels fitting the track perfectly - you get the idea.

Ice Cube sneers and mugs his way through the whole thing, and Samuel L Jackson should be ashamed - although he's never had an infallible eye when it comes to avoiding turkeys.

The effects (and what else are you seeing it for?) are pretty good just because the pace of the film is so breakneck you won't notice how ridiculous they are, but the whole thing is the cinematic equivalent of a chocolate from the candy bar; overpriced and utterly without goodness.

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