gaming since 1997

xXx: The Next Level

When the secret military base of agent Gibbons (Jackson) gets attacked, he needs to get into hiding to find out what happened and who attacked him. Together with his “gadget guy”, he head to prison and liberates his former colleague Darius Stone (Cube) who is to become the new XXX. Stone’s attitude is even worse than that of the original XXX but his underground contacts come in handy to keep clear of the military who are looking for them. When they start investigating what has happened, it becomes clear that something more than just an attack on a military base is going on and when Gibbons gets killed while retrieving documents in his house, Stone finds out that a huge conspiracy is being set up by his former General, Octavius Deckert (Dafoe).

Sound and Vision:
If there’s one thing that xXx: The Next Level excells in, it’s image and sound quality. We didn’t spot any problems at all and we got a feast of vivid colors during the day, varied with excellent detail and contrast during the darker night scenes. Good stuff!

The sound comes in Dolby Digital 5.1 with optimal use of all channels during the action scenes while the calmer moments have you listening to sounds of the surrounding and lighter music. When all hell breaks loose, you get aggressive sound that even comes in split-surround from the back while the whole nicely gets supported by the subwoofer. Just what a movie like this needs! Only too bad there isn’t a DTS track available.

Extras:
– Audio commentary with director Lee Tamahory and writer Simon Kinberg
– Audio commantary with visual effects guys Scott Farrar and Lindy De Quattro
– From Convict To Hero: The Making Of xXx: The Next Level: 2 features that can be played as one. The first shows the preparation for making the movie while part 2 focuses on the shooting and editing as well as the special effects that were added.
– Bullet Train Breakdown: director Lee Tamahori tells us how the bullet train scene was created and you can check out the different stadia of the scene
– Top Secret Military Warehouse: feature on the creation of the opening scene as well as how the scene where the tanks drive through Washington is created
– xXx According To Ice Cube: Ice Cube himself talks about his feelings on making this movie. Also his fellow actors talk about working with him. Quite promotional and we get to hear the usual crap about how great it was to work together.
– Deleted Scenes
– Trailers

Conclusion:
xXx: The Next Level has Ice Cube in the role of XXX and although he’s supposed to bring a new breath to the series, it remains clear that he doesn’t have the charisma of Vin Diesel. Nice try, but not enough. Just like the original movie, xxx remains a “try to be a rip-off from James Bond” and although it’s quite enjoyable as a low-brain-activity action movie, the character of xxx isn’t coming near the heels of Ian Fleming’s secret agent as he lacks any subtlety what so ever and also the “romantic” scenes are quite useless and nowhere near as entertaining as those from the Bond collection. Still, xxx: the next level isn’t a complete waste of time. As an American action movie is’t quite enjoyable just as long as you don’t try to think too much.

On the technical side we can compliment Sony on a job well done. The Surround track does an excellent job and there’s nothing bad to be said about the image quality either. Even the extras are a nice addition although some of them are of the usual promotional crap quality.

Our Score:
6.0

posted in: DVD, Reviews, Sony Pictures
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