XXX Edit

xXx, pronounced "Triple X", is a 2002 American action film directed by Rob Cohen and starring Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, a thrill seeking extreme sports enthusiast, stuntman and rebellious athlete-turned-reluctant spy for the National Security Agency who is sent on a dangerous mission to infiltrate a group of potential Russian terrorists in Central Europe. xXx also stars Asia Argento,Samuel L. Jackson, and Marton Csokas.

The film received mixed reviews[3] but was a financial success for the studios, grossing US$277,448,382 worldwide.[2] It was followed by a 2005 sequel entitled xXx: State of the Union.

Plot Edit

At an underground Rammstein concert on an undisclosed location, an NSA operative is secretly placed on the concert, uploading information on the activity of Anarchy 99, a group of former Russian soldiers turned into mercenaries. Before the upload is completed, he is shot dead by an unknown assassin.

Meanwhile, an NSA facility in Virginia, Agent Augustus Gibbons is briefed on the content that was uploaded at the concert. He shares his belief that the information indicates Anarchy 99 is in possession of a biochemical weapon called "Silent Night", the formula for which has been missing since the fall of the Soviet Union. Gibbons also recommends that a different type of operative be assigned to the mission, as Anarchy 99's military experience enables them to detect any type of government presence within their territory.

Meanwhile, in Sacramento, California, extreme professional athlete with his own show, Xander Cage, steals the car of California Senator Dick Hotchkiss and drives it off a bridge, in protest of the Senator's arising campaign to ban all controversial music, films and video games. Later that night, Hotchkiss responds to the car theft by having FBI raiding a party at X's hideout, and he is tranquilized.

X wakes up in a diner, disoriented, and immediately notices something is off. He is not surprised at all by a robbery attempt and calmly disarms and beats the would be assailants. Gibbons, who is at the "diner", applauds X's actions and reveals that the "robbery" was just a test, and that X has passed with flying colors. Gibbons recommends taking X to the next level. X protests to no avail, and is tranquilized again. This time, he awakens in a military aircraft with two others who also passed the diner test.

The trio are dropped into a coca plantation in Colombia, and offer little resistance when captured by FARC soldiers. The three are taken before the cartel leader, El Jefe, and, believing the situation to be another "test", mock him. As El Jefe prepares to torture them, they realize that the cartel is real. The three free themselves just as the Colombian Army attacks the plantation with a helicopter gunship. X eludes the gunship and escapes the plantation, only to be captured by ghillie suited snipers. The following morning, Gibbons arrives on site and commends X for his bravery and heroism of the previous night. In an ultimatum, Gibbons offers X a mission where which, if successful, his criminal record will be erased. X reluctantly agrees.

X travels to Prague, Czech Republic, and is escorted to a meeting with ill-tempered Czech agent Milan Sova, who is immediately put off by X's behavior. That evening, at a party, Sova points out their target, Yorgi, the leader of Anarchy 99. X deliberately blows Sova's cover in order to gain access to the group, and succeeds. X later obtains the military history of the group members from Yorgi's intoxicated younger brother Kolya, an extreme sports fanatic and a huge fan of X's show.

Gibbons, surprised by X's success, orders him to delve deeper into the group. X obtains gadgets from NSA tech wiz geek, Toby Lee Shavers, in order to closely surveil the group. At the drop site for car buy between X and the group, Sova accidentally alerts the group to his presence, ensuing in a Mexican stand off between X and the group. X and Yorgi chase after Sova, and X shoots him in the back with a blood splatter dart, which convinces the group that he killed him. Impressed, Yorgi invites X to join Anarchy 99.

Later, at a rave, X enquires about Anarchy 99. Yorgi tells him the group is named in honor of their fallen comrades, who died in the Second Chechen War in 1999, for what Yorgi believes was just political situation in which innocent lives were killed. Yorgi leaves X in the company of his apparent lover Yelena, whom X is attracted to. X seduces and kisses her, but she is put off by the action.

X is invited to stay at the group's base, a castle outside the city. The next morning, he catches Yelena breaking into Yorgi's safe, but insists that he is a friend. While at restaurant, X tells her that Sova is not dead and that he himself is actually an American agent. Yelena breaks into hysterics, but is quieted when Kirill, the group's expert sniper, calls and tells her that X is indeed an agent. Kirill himself is across the street with a sniper rifle, and tells Yelena to send X out. X and Yelena work together, and X manages to escape the area alive, but he is kidnapped and taken to Gibbons, who reveals that his cover is blown. X, wanting to save Yelena, explodes when Gibbons tells him a strike team is standing by to eliminate the group.

That night, X scales the cliffside up to the castle, and enters the castle's off limits downstairs area. Yelena, who, at X's behest, convinced Yorgi to let her into the area for the first time, is shown a waterborne drone nicknamed Ahab, which acts as a weapons delivery system. Yorgi then reveals that Ahab will deploy "Silent Night" across cities all over the world, which will bring about the chaotic end of organized government. In order to assess "Silent Night's" potency, Yorgi gasses to death all the scientists who had just re-engineered it for him, effectively tying up loose ends. X, who witnessed the entire event using Shavers' special binoculars, hastily flees the castle, with the group members in hot pursuit.

Kolya chases after X, but X kills him with an explosive charge that he attached to the bike Kolya was on. X returns to the safe house, where he is confronted by Sova, who reveals it was he who blew X's cover. Before Sova can kill him, Yelena fires through the door, killing Sova. Yelena reveal that she is an FSB agent who has been undercover with the group for nearly 2 years. 6 months into the operation, she was abandoned by her superiors. The two passionately kiss before embarking on their mission to stop Yorgi. To do so, X parachutes onto the mountain behind the castle and snowboards down it using grenades to start an avalanche, which will disable the communications station and allow Czech security forces to storm the castle by surprise. The avalanche kills all the group members at the station, including Viktor. X survives the avalanche, but is captured and taken to Yorgi.

As he is prepared for execution, Yorgi reveals that he has known of Yelena's true identity the entire time, and he intends to kill her as well. At the last moment, Czech security forces attack the castle with full force, allowing X and Yelena to escape. The Czechs kill most of the Anarchy 99 members, but Yorgi and Kirill escape and head downstairs to activate Ahab. As X, Yelena, and the Czechs close in on Yorgi, Kirill pins them down with sniper fire. X kills Kirill with a heat seeking missile, due to Kirill's love of smoking. The agents catch up with Yorgi, but not before he activates Ahab. Yorgi attempts to escape, but X wounds him, causing him to drive his boat into a mountain, where it explodes, killing him.

X and Yelena shadow Ahab in their vintage Pontiac GTO, which is loaded with weapons thanks to Shavers. While they are in pursuit, Gibbons alerts the Czech military to the threat, and has them dispatch jets to the scene in order to blow Ahab out of the water and contain the crisis. Already in the city, X uses a harpoon to attach to Ahab. He lands on the hull, and disables it just before it can deliver its payload, sending Ahab deep down into the river, where Silent Night breaks down harmlessly. Gibbons promises Yelena that she will receive US citizenship for her efforts, just as they both realize X is alive.

The scene cuts to Bora Bora, where X and Yelena are enjoying a vacation. Gibbons contacts X and notifies him he must return immediately, as something else has come up. X ignores him and he and Yelena go for a swim.

Cast Edit

  • Vin Diesel as Xander Cage
  • Asia Argento as Yelena
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Agent Augustus Gibbons
  • Marton Csokas as Yorgi
  • Michael Roof as Toby Lee Shavers
  • Richy Müller as Milan Sova
  • Werner Daehn as Kirill
  • Petr Jákl as Kolya
  • Jan Pavel Filipensky as Viktor
  • Tom Everett as Senator Dick Hotchkiss
  • Danny Trejo as El Jefe
  • Thomas Ian Griffith as Agent Jim McGrath
  • Eve as J.J.
  • Leila Arcieri as Jordan King
  • William Hope as Agent Roger Donnan

To support Xander Cage's credibility within extreme sport subcultures, various personalities make cameo appearances, including Tony Hawk, Mike Vallely, Carey Hart, Mat Hoffman and Josh Todd.

Production Edit

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In the summer of 2001, Sony put a large billboard of "xXx" in Hollywood, before a script had been written.[4]

Filming took place at three locations. Most of the film is set in Prague, Czech Republic. The Corvette jump was filmed at the Foresthill Bridge in Auburn State Recreation Area,Auburn, California. The final scenes were set in Bora Bora, Tahiti, and other areas in French Polynesia.

Several Czech Su-22s were used for the film. It was one of the last "actions" of these aircraft - Czech Air Force decommissioned Sukhois in 2002.

Stunt player Harry O'Connor, Diesel's stunt double, was killed when he hit a pillar of the Palacky Bridge in Prague, para-sailing during one of the action scenes. The accident occurred while filming the second take of the stunt; O'Connor's first attempt was completed without incident and can be seen in the completed film.[5] There was also a teaser trailer released on May 3, 2002. It was then attached to Spider-Man, and shown on the web.

The first few minutes of the film take place in a Rammstein concert in Prague. The same clip is available, but from the band's perspective (with only brief scenes from the film) in their video compilation Lichtspielhaus[6]

Soundtrack Edit

The film score was composed by Randy Edelman, a frequent collaborator of Cohen's. The film also featured a contemporary rock music soundtrack, mostly featuring heavy metal. Rammstein provided some of the music and was even featured in the film in one scene. The soundtrack album also features Queens of the Stone Age, Drowning Pool,Hatebreed, and others, and some artists of different genres such as Nelly, Lil' Wayne, N.E.R.D, Orbital, and Moby. It was released on August 6, 2002 through Universal Records. It peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200, #16 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and #1 on the Top Soundtracks. There was also a song created just for the film, titled "Adrenaline" byGavin Rossdale, the lead singer of Bush.

Reception Edit

xXx received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 48% of the critics gave the film positive reviews based on a sample of 174 reviews, with an average score of 5.8/10.[3] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times enjoyed the film, giving it 3 and a half stars out of 4. It was a financial success with total gross $277,448,382.[2]

This film was nominated for a Razzie Award for Most Flatulent Teen-Targeted Movie, but lost to Jackass: The Movie.

Director's cut Edit

The Director's cut DVD of xXx was released on April 19, 2005, ten days before the sequel State of the Union was released in cinemas. The Director's Cut of xXx featured new artwork, and deleted scenes of xXx previously unseen. Some of these include additional scenes that foreshadowed Xander as a hero, and also a longer stripper-in-the-bedroom sequence. There were also sneak peeks at the sequel. Interestingly for Director's cuts, these scenes were cut by the director himself, for length and pacing.

The Final Chapter: The Death of Xander Cage Edit

In addition to the deleted scenes on the Director's Cut of xXx, the DVD also contains an extra video titled The Final Chapter: The Death of Xander Cage, a four minute short film that attempts to tie up some loose ends about the Xander Cage character by showing his gory demise.

In the short film, Cage is played by Vin Diesel's stunt double Khristian Lupo (who never shows his face or speaks) while reusing some lines spoken by Vin Diesel. It also featuresLeila Arcieri as Jordan King from the first film, and John G. Connolly as Lt. Colonel Alabama "Bama" Cobb, one of the villains from the sequel xXx: State of the Union, as the man behind the attack on Cage.

The sequence opens with Xander driving in a car with Jordan King. He stops next to his apartment building. King makes sexual overtures to him and they get intimate. Suddenly they hear a noise and Xander goes to check it out. Cobb's men show up and abduct King. They plant a bomb in the building and drop her coat on the steps to trick Xander to his death. After confronting a homeless man, Xander returns to the building. He takes the bait left by Cobb and his henchmen and is blown apart by a huge explosion. His trademark coat survives the blast. Cobb shows up and picks up a piece of skin from Xander's neck which has the triple x tattoo on it. He remarks "Poor Xander, you never had very much between the ears." His men pick him up and drive off in their car. Cobb's motives for killing Xander are obvious; he doesn't want him to interfere in Deckert's plans. Feuer Frei byRammstein plays in the background during the sequence.

Sequels Edit

The film was followed by a sequel in 2005, entitled State of the Union, starring the rapper Ice Cube and directed by Lee Tamahori. Neither Diesel, Cohen, nor xXx creator Rich Wilkes were involved in the sequel, and there were notable differences in both style (less emphasis on extreme sports) and music (rock music was replaced with hip hop andrap). xXx: State of the Union was poorly received by critics. It currently has a rating of 16% on Rotten Tomatoes.[7] The sequel was also a financial failure, making less than expected when compared to the original film.[8] In January 2014, Vin Diesel confirmed work on a sequel tentatively titled xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.