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XXX (2002) - Superbit DVD Review

By Widge - posted 05.18.03 @ 12:58 am
XXX Superbit DVD cover art

Film:
DVD:

Written by: Rich Wilkes
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Starring: Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, Marton Csokas, Joe Bucaro

Released by: Columbia/Tristar
Region: 1
Rating: PG-13
Anamorphic: Yes.

My Advice: Rent it.

Xander Cage (Diesel) is, amongst the extreme sports athletes of his time, a badass. When we first meet this loon, he's stealing a car to drive off a cliff in a bizarre BASE jump stunt. You can imagine he probably has very little respect for the law from that statement, and that's what gets him nabbed and brought in. Of course, he's brought into the NSA by Agent Gibbons (Jackson), because he needs a few good men. Well, one good man. With lots of tats. So basically, Xander has a choice--either work for the NSA or spend a great deal of time behind bars. Pop quiz, hotshot--what do you do?

This movie was a welcome change of pace. Why? Because it planted its boot firmly in the asscheeks of the James Bond franchise, which has been loitering somewhere around the ninth circle of hell for some time now. Bond has gotten boring, having lost the good characters, passable storyline...the films aren't even good rides anymore. Instead, you get Cohen & Wilkes' idea of a new secret agent for the 21st Century. And it works.

Not to say the film is perfect. It goes on a bit too long and needed an editor to shave off maybe ten minutes at the bare minimum, and it had a couple of cheese-ridden moments and a couple of minor holes, but hey--it's a ride. A lot can be forgiven if the ride is good. And it is: Diesel plays the smartass whose heart grew three sizes that day well, Jackson plays the mentor/commander badass well, and Argento is that skanky/sultry mix that works in a way that you don't really like to think about. The stunts are impressive and the soundtrack manages to smack you around a bit--what more could you really ask for in a film like this?

There are no features on this disc, because it's straight out of the Superbit line. For those not in the know, that means extras are forgone for the sake of space on the disc, and that space is used to soup up any and all audio and video on the main feature, so that those who possess uber-home theatre setups can really hack off their neighbors. And this release is par for the course for the line: audio and video are sharp and clear, and this title craved the treatment. With a healthy dosage of revving engines, automatic weapons fire and explosions--this is a worthy rendition of this for the high-end A/V set.

Vin Diesel as Xander Cage in XXX Superbit

Vin Diesel knows the bad guys want his pimp coat. He also knows he'll die before he gives it up.

Now, you're missing the special features, but they weren't much to sneeze at, to be frank. If you do have a home cinema setup that can take advantage of what Superbit has to offer, then you would do well to snag this version and keep it around to impress your friends.

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Widgett Walls is Need Coffee's Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. He is the author of the novel Mystics on the Road to Vanishing Point, and two collections of short stories, Magnificent Desolation and Something Else: The Complete First Season. He is also co-author of the children's book There's a Zombie in My Treehouse! All of those books are available in paperback or for the Kindle from Amazon. He is also the narrator and publisher of the first unabridged recording of Seneca's letters, available here. He is active on both Twitter and Facebook. (If you befriend him on Facebook, do say you came via Need Coffee.) He lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He hardly ever sleeps.

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