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Picks and Pans Review: XXX

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Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Samuel L. Jackson, Marton Csokas

James Bond is a fusty geezer next to Xander Cage (Diesel, see page 87), the extreme-stunts performer turned U.S. secret agent who’s the ornery, cocky hero of the all-action, all-the-time XXX. “Stop thinking police and start thinking PlayStation,” he instructs fellow agents. “Blow something up!”

Now there’s a credo to live by. Adrenaline rules in XXX, with plot—Cage must infiltrate a group of rogue Russian anarchists based in Prague—and dialogue functioning as laughably bad filler in between high-octane stunts. Forty years after Agent 007 first graced screens in Dr. No, XXX ransacks the Bond formula, refashioning it to suit the perceived tastes of the MTV generation. Gone are English accents, martinis and attempts at linguistic wit. In their place: attitude galore and don’t-try-this-at-home action scenes involving snowboards, motorcycles, speedboats and anything else that, as Cage so eloquently puts it, is “fast enough to do something stupid in.”

Director Rob Cohen and Diesel, who collaborated on last summer’s The Fast and the Furious, are sure to boost their careers with XXX, which practically promises a sequel in its final scenes. Neither man, though, furthers his art—not that that was ever the goal here. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: More like Zzz