XXX: State of the Union
XXX: State of the Union (released as XXX2: The Next Level and XXX: State of Emergency outside North America) is a 2005 action film directed by Lee Tamahori (known for Die Another Day) and it is the sequel to the 2002 hit movie XXX. It is the second installment of the XXX film series and was produced by Revolution Studios for Columbia Pictures. The film stars Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Willem Dafoe, and Scott Speedman, and was released on April 29, 2005. A sequel, XXX: Return of Xander Cage was released on January 20, 2017, with Paramount Pictures became the distributor, respectively.
When the government finds out that a group of terrorists has infiltrated its ranks, and the group is being trained by high-ranking official George Deckert (Willem Dafoe), NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) hires an ex-con to bring down the nefarious plot. Thinking he can trust no one in the government, Augustus springs Darius Stone (Ice Cube), who once trained under him, from prison. Although Darius is a loose cannon, Augustus is convinced he is the only man for the job.
Why It Sucks
- Because of Vin Diesel being unavailable to reprise his role as Xander Cage, Xander Cage was rewritten (near effortlessly) into the character of Darius Stone (Ice Cube's character).
- It lacks the charm and extreme sportsmanship of the original.
- Borderline illogical, nonsensical, and unengaging story.
- Terrible acting, especially from actors such as Ice Cube, Willem Dafoe, and Scot Speedman.
- Unbelievably terrible and obvious CGI effects, especially during the train crash scene.
- The film completely ignores most of the events of the previous film.
- George Decker (Willem Dafoe's character) is a very predictable, weak, and generic villain. His whole character is just ""I'm going to overthrow the government and become the United States president!""
- False Advertising: The film's poster shows fighter jets attacking the Capitol Building, but this does not happen in the movie at all.
- Shoddy and schizophrenic editing in many places.
- Lots of unrealistic and unbelievable moments, especially the scene where Darius Stone uses a sports car to drive on the railway tracks and catch up to the Presidential train in matter of seconds.
- Numerous moments that make the movie feel like an unintentional comedy.
- Terrible direction by Lee Tamahori, the same director behind Die Another Day.
- Awful dialogue.
- Some of the action scenes are well done.
- A handful of good practical effects, especially some of the car crashes.
- Decent soundtrack from Marco Beltrami.
XXX: State of the Union was almost universally panned by critics, audiences and fans of the first film, mainly for the performances, an illogical story, and overuse of CGI-based visual effects for most of the action sequences. The film currently holds a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes with an average of 3.84/10 and a critical consensus that states, "Even more absurd and implausible than the first XXX movie, State of the Union is less inspired and technically inspired than its predecessor." On Metacritic, the film currently holds a 37% rating.
The film only grossed a total of $71.1 million worldwide against its $113.1 million budget making the film a complete box office disaster.
- A scene was filmed showing Xander Cage being killed off in an explosion off screen, with his severed body parts flying in the air, as an explanation for his character didn't appear in movie. The scene was deleted, just in case Vin Diesel ever decided to reprise his role. This was proven correct years later when Diesel reprised his role in [[mh:greatestmovies:XXX: Return of Xander Cage}}.
- In the UK, the subtitle, "State of the Union" was changed to "The Next Level" for the DVD and Blu-Ray releases.
- Vin Diesel and Rob Cohen signed on for the film two months prior to xXx's opening. Both ended up leaving the project, the former stating he hated the script.