XXX2: The Next Level

XXX2: The Next Level
Cast: Ice Cube, Samuel L Jackson, Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, Michael Roof, Peter Strauss, Nona Gaye, Xzibit, Sunny Mabrey, Ned Schmidtke, Masuimi Max, Ramon De Ocampo
Director: Lee Tamahori
Screenplay: Simon Kinberg
Genre: Action
Rated: M medium level violence, low level coarse language
Running Time: 101 Minutes

Prepare For The Next Level

The follow-up film to the successful franchise film 'XXX'(2002), National Security Agency (NSA) Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L Jackson), fresh off the success of his last renegade recruitment, once again finds himself in need of another outsider. Gibbons and his new agent Darius Stone (Ice Cube), also code-named "XXX", must track a dangerous military splinter group led by Willem Dafoe that is conspiring to overthrow the United States Government in the nation's capital. The new XXX agent must uncover the insurgents from within and be the nation's only hope of averting the first coup d'etat in American history.

My Verdict:
NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L Jackson) begins 'XXX2: The Next Level' by having to find himself a new recruit to help him uncover the identity of some assailants that were sent to kill him. With the help of his computer and gadgetry side-kick (and the token comic relief) Toby Lee Shavers (Michael Roof), Gibbons sets out to free Darius Stone (Ice Cube) from jail, where he has been incarcerated for striking a superior officer in order to make him the new XXX since the previous XXX was killed. Having achieved this, it is now up to Gibbons and Stone/XXX to avert a national crisis where the life of President Sanford (Peter Strauss) is in jeopardy with his radical Secretary of Defense, George Deckert (Willem Dafoe) plotting to kidnap and kill the President. Also pursuing Stone is FBI agent Kyle Steele (Scott Speedman), who becomes involved and ultimately helps save the President.

The cast are pretty well doing the best with what they've got - Ice Cube looks steely and tough enough to do the job required, Samuel L. Jackson sails through his role as the honest head agent and Willem Dafoe can do the wicked, evil protagonist with his eyes closed. The supporting cast also manage with the stale script adequately enough.

After only a few minutes, 'XXX2: The Next Level' breaks into an explosive action sequence that sets the tone for the remainder of the movie. Yes, this is one action packed film where you will run out of fingers and toes trying to keep track of the explosions, car crashes and general destruction of property that occurs, in fact, there is so much that you have to wonder why? And the answer may lie in the fact that there is so little plot to work with that creating the opportunity for another explosion is another way to fill in time.

A very basic, unoriginal plot -overthrow the United States Government/President -has already been done to death and so there is nothing new here to develop. What can be tried however, are some new gadgets and special effects to try to create a whiz-bang movie to keep the punters happy and if it's action, action and more explosive action that you're after, then 'XXX2: The Next Level' is the movie for you.

Some of the action and fight scenes are so over-edited that at times it becomes confusing just what is happening and just who is getting beaten and battered. There are some humorous one-liners thrown in to break the action occasionally but essentially this is an excuse to blow anything and everything up, which does eventually get tedious. But then again, some people like that.

Rating : C

Christina Bruce