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on 18 September 2005
State Of The Union is the sequel to 2002's Vin Diesel fronted James Bond actioner XXX, this time the all action grunt is supplied by Ice Cube as he hunts down Willam Defoe, who leads a military splinter cell who plan to overthrow the US Government.
The film crashes and bangs from one action scene to another as our 'hero' steals sports cars, speed boats and tanks whilst only pausing breath during the gunfire and explosions to utter some cheesy dialogue " I was born looking guilty", all the time we're deafened by a nu-metal/rap soundtrack.
All black men are cool tough street-wise guys, white men are square and middle class, whilst all the women parade around with large cleavages shaking their 'booty'!
The action scenes though spectacular aren't too convincing, in fact the final chase scenes are almost 'cartoonish' resembling a cross between Roger Rabbit and The incredible.
The whole movie is utterly preposperous but never dull and boring so at least it has some redeeming features if they are few and far between.
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on 24 January 2006
What were they thinking. Having Ice Cube playing an action hero. The dialogue is limp. Some of the special effects leave a lot to be desired. The only good bits worth watching the film for are the nice array of cars and trucks used in the film.
If you want to see an action film that makes sense...don't get this film.
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on 13 February 2006
Well since I had seen Triple X with Vin Diesel, I thought that this next title was going to be good. How wrong I was. The story line was there, the action was there (in a few places) but the acting was dry well except for Samuel L. Jackson who was the same, but his lines could of been better. But to choose Ice Cube as the next XXX agent was half/half. Image was alright, but his acting was terrible.
Some of the action shots were like they were from Thunderbirds (orignal series) they were just missing the wires.
The only other person that I did like out of the whole film was Xzibit who was funny like he is on Punk My Ride (MTV) so that made it up, but only just.
My last comment would be to bring back the old directors, writers, actors and make a decent film.
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on 20 February 2006
BANG…Samuel L. Jackson fights off horde of angry bad guys single handed… KAPOW…queue Willem Dafoe looking menacing and reciting cheesy one-liner…BOOM …someone tries to kill the president and Ice Cube saves the day in explosive big action finale. As Robin would say ‘Holy Smoke Batman’; whilst unfortunately there is no batman, there is a machine-gun splatter of holes and enough smoke to choke a chain-smoker. The story of xXx2 is completely irrelevant, probably to match the characters, action and dialogue.
The buff looking stars display excessive amounts of testosterone, especially former rap artist Ice Cube in the title role; who is ‘rescued’ from prison by Augustus Gibbons (played by Sam Jackson, reprising his role as xXx secret agency head-honcho). xXx2 continues the legacy left by Vin Diesel, who took the role in The Pacifier (also out in May) in preference to this sequel! Ice Cube plays the anti-hero with A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E; but this wears so thin, so quickly that it leads to the conclusion that this ex-rapper will soon be an ex-film star – his name alone reflects the frigidity of his acting.
The lack of directorial invention suggests too much of the budget was spent hiring the films BIG names. How is it that Mr Samuel ‘soon to appear in possibly the biggest selling movie EVER (Star Wars: Episode III)’ Jackson feels the need to accept roles which are such a waste of his obvious talents. Chuckle at the silliness of Willem Dafoe applying his legendary voice to mercilessly cheesy lines like “Some men die. Some others live”; further evidence of the disparity between actor and script quality.
The mix of cars, guns and rappers may seem a recipe for success (or the ingredients of a normal Friday night out in Beverly Hills) but the only thing that blew me away was the film’s illogical and crude storyline. The moral lesson of American racial injustice is lost when all the black cast appear wielding guns, stealing cars or wearing belts for skirts. The movies only real success is in utterly confusing the audience: where is the logic in an escaped convict and former navy seal (xXx) attempting to ‘blend in’ by driving a [purple to orange] colour changing cadillac?
Whilst the gadgets are ‘inventive’ and action explosive from the off, this is perhaps too mind-numbing for even a typical American audience to appreciate. An exciting beginning is followed by a brief introduction to a plot which is immediately absurd – increasingly so as the film develops. The xXx franchise (unfortunately set to continue with a third instalment; trilogies being the ‘in-thing’) is designed to be the working mans James Bond. However, if xXx were put in a boxing ring with Bond he’d be left cowering in the corner like the big jessy he is.
xXx2 is a spectacularly obnoxious offering and suffers the grievance of ever been made; it’s a film dressed in a tuxedo but living off kebabs.
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These films are really good, I must admit I do like the second xxx 2 the next level better that the first. I hope they bring a thrid out, the way the second is left leaves it open for a follow up. Vin is a really good actor but he is hardly in the second of any of his films and this is no exception. The second one is more upbeat and positive. The idea of the film is to recruit seceret agents that have been "Bad" a little like assasin if you have ever seen that. The agents then go undercover, to stop people causing a war between the 2 major countries. Tthe second one is a follow on from the first where the team get captured and the new xxx has to save the day, this is played by Ice Cube (from are we there and done yet)
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VINE VOICEon 25 June 2007
2002's "xXx" barely had a brain cell to brag about and couldn't quite escape the levels of ineptitude on hand with its excellent action set pieces. Enter 2005's ill-advised sequel "xXx 2: The Next Level", a pointless sequel that multiplies the clinical ineptitude of the first offering and in turn makes "xXx" look like the height of action ingenuity. If "xXx 2: The Next Level" is to be remembered for anything, and it won't be, it is for being another failed attempt by talentless rapper turned talentless actor Ice Cube to escape the clutches of family-oriented comedies. Thank God for small favours then, as it would seem Ice Cube isn't likely to crap all over the action genre for the time being. Naturally in a motion picture this downright terrible, nobody else involved escapes unscathed and each in turn now have a black mark on their resumes.

With Vin Diesel's first xXx agent behind him, Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) wastes little time in locating his replacement. The new xXx in question is tough guy Darius Stone (Ice Cube), a man now charged with the task of defusing a power struggle raging amongst national leaders. Of course, this all serves to provide numerous action set pieces as Darius faces all kinds of danger in his first mission.

Ice Cube's acting career has yet to boast a single admirable motion picture. At least, not one in which he has featured heavily. As new xXx agent Darius Stone, Ice Cube is predictably awful, furrowing his brow as his only way of displaying some sort of disdain and donning his annoying little grin whenever things seem to be going his character's way. As Agent Augustus Gibbons, Samuel L. Jackson has absolutely no excuse to get involved with such awful movies as this uninspired sequel. One can only hope that his late promise of another xXx doesn't come to fruition. Also wasting his time is Willem Dafoe, not caring to inject any humanity into his one-dimensional Gen. George Octavius Deckert. Who can blame him when screenwriter Simon Kinberg couldn't be bothered either?

Directed with the ambition of a sheep by Lee Tamahori, "xXx 2: The Next Level" defies belief in being one of the most god-awful action flicks that you'll ever be unfortunate enough to witness. In a genre littered with downright detestable motion pictures, "xXx 2: The Next Level" somehow manages to surpass the vast majority of such attempts and carve itself an infamous position down in the doldrums of cinematic ineptness. Even a late action set-piece involving a runaway train is uninspired and dull. Overloaded with monologue speeches after another when it should be maintaining a breakneck pace, this scene surprisingly ranks amongst the worst of the entire motion picture. That it is part of the climax is even more disgraceful.

I could elaborate on my many quibbles with this retched piece of trash, but I'd rather not waste memory space on such a terrible film. "xXx 2: The Next Level" comes in a 21st century that has thus far seen dozens of cinematic catastrophes. Worse still is the fact that it ranks amongst the worst of those dozens. More putrid and disgusting than boiling vomit.
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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 wierd 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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on 27 May 2007
i found this lacking in spirit, script and acting. Samuel L Jackson was as good as he could be but the writing was painfully predictable and the completely ludicrous storyline was unoriginal. this was a waste of time. The 'love story' between 'XXX' and 'Lo' was excrutiating but to be fair, there is some good action in bits. killing off Vin Diesel was a mistake as this film makes the first one look like a jem and killing him in such a pathetic anticlimax with no storyline ruined the film about 2 minutes in.

i was disappointed and if they wanted to make this a better film, they should have kept Vin Diesel even though the first one was rather painful. they are pulling the storylines straight out of the unoriginal james bond book (and as a lover of James Bond, i find it insulting! ;)

sorry, but not impressed.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 August 2014
XXX Box set

This contains the original xXx and the sequel xXx the next level on two individual DVDs in a strong card outer sleeve. Basically the concept is simple. The Secret Service are strapped for agents as the `bad guys' can spot them a mile off. Bright idea- lets grab some petty criminals with potential and send them in wiping out any previous convictions.
In 'xXx', Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is an extreme sports fanatic who reluctantly gets sent to Prague with instructions to infiltrate a terrorist group in order to find out what they are really upto. Asia Argento plays the bad guys girlfriend and the growing tension between the two of them means that Xander's cover might be blown at any time. Plenty of action, great stunts, some naff dialogue "I live for this ****!" but some great one liners as well. fast cars and faster women. It's sooped up comic book action but a great escapist watch. Vin Diesel is actually perfect for the role. The single disc has around 10 extras, typically behind the scenes and making of. A definite 4 star but you might want to crank the volume up a bit and watch out for lots of flashing lights. Some mild language, one scene of nudity but violence throughout make this 15 viewing.
xXx 2: The Next Level' opens with an attack on the Secret Service underground bumker. Enter Darius Stone (Ice Cube) as the new agent xXx who learns his old military unit pals are being bumped off one by one. This lacks the high energy of the first film, suffers from many of the same gags but still manages to keep up a credible pace and packs a similar number of special features and trailers. Slow to start, the action picks up toward the end. Still worthy of a *** rating.
Both films have some obvious flaws, a marksman shooting around corners etc, but they are easy to overlook. If you want action without too much concentration, these films fit the bill quite well. Overall a 3.5 rating.
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on 9 May 2011
Bought this as its a great price to replace my old vcr copies,It was great to watch again has stood the test of time very well and my teenage children enjoyed them too.Personally i think the first one is the superior one as Vin Disel is a far more convincing leed role and tough guy than ice cube!XXX - Box Set [DVD]
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