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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

XXX2 – The Next Level, 2005  rating

Review: written 2006

High Gloss Low Substance actioner

Watching Ice Cube play the hard guy would-be spy makes you realise - wow! Vin Diesel actually DID have charisma after all!

All pretensions to the part being about spying and stealth are out of the window - the first movie had an appeal of being like a Bond movie on steroids; This one is just action, and could be any action franchise a few movies in. In fact, in terms of substance this could easily have been direct to video for all the weight the star and story carry... however, there are bangs for your buck on display here.. the actions scenes are as big budget as they are ludicrous. The opening scene has some promise with Samuel Jackson taking on the bad guys in his own headquarters, but when he steps into the weird custom job car you know there is a franchise identity crisis on the way - is this XXX or Fast and Furious 4??

In short, this is brainless action - budget is on the screen, but not with the script. Ice Cube plods through the role giving it no heart, panache, or even self knowing parody. Daniel Defoe and Samuel Jackson should know better.





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