January 22nd, 2017       Posted by Frederik       Display Comments

“xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” is playing in theaters today, and critics are either embracing or dismissing the third installment of the series for the loud, action packed nonsense that it is. Returning to the franchise he launched in 2002, Vin Diesel reprises the titular role as an extreme-sports thrill-seeker-turned-government-operative long presumed dead by the NSA. Cage is a man with his own very particular set of skills, and the ruthless agency chief (Toni Collette) enlists his help for a high-stakes operation that involves racing against a band of renegade evildoers in pursuit of “Pandora’s Box,” a curious device that’s knocking military satellites out of the sky and into densely-populated areas. Here’s a couple of reviews with more highlights on Toni Collette’s character (and the critics consensus that she is too good of an actress for this).

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Who wanted Xander Cage back? Is it you? It sure as hell isn’t me. […] Toni Collette, who is way too good for this crap, also shows up as Agent Marke, another suit barking orders at Cage. The Australian actress must be wondering how she went from being nominated for Oscars and Emmys to starring in this toxic fluffball.

Mike LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Toward the end, the action becomes repetitive and tiresome, but there are pleasures to be had. Diesel is a terrific action star, in that he can give a movie a lift just by being there. Collette embraces the cold-blooded extremes of her role.

Glenn Kenny, RogerEbert.com
A disaster ensues, and stern buttoned-up spymaster Marke (Toni Collette, here probably earning more to merely maintain an erect posture than she usually does when she’s actually being an incredible actor) calls a meeting at an appropriately eerily-lit CIA boardroom.

Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader
There isn’t much point in reviewing a film that summarizes itself thusly: “Kick some ass, get the girl, and try to look dope while you’re doing it.” But a job’s a job: Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) is, according to this third entry in the XXX series, the guy you call when you need “someone that can walk into a tornado and come out the other side like it was a damn gentle breeze.” (This line is spoken by Academy-Award nominee Toni Collette, who looks appropriately miserable throughout.)




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