[Blu-Ray Review] ‘xXx: Return Of Xander Cage’ 3D: Now Available On 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital From Paramount

xXx: Return Of Xander Cage (3D) [Blu-Ray] amazon-cart-logo

Director: D.J. Caruso

Cast: Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone

Release Date: May 16, 2017

A Review By: Kevin Lovell

Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10

Synopsis:

When a group of lethal mercenaries steal a hi-tech weapon that poses a global threat, the world needs superspy Xander Cage (Vin Diesel).  Recruited back into action, Xander leads a team of death-defying adrenaline junkies on a mission to kick some ass, save the day, and look dope while doing it.

The third entry in the ‘xXx’ film franchise and the second featuring Vin Diesel, ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ takes viewers back into the Xander Zone when a massive threat and personal wrongs that he can’t ignore cause Xander Cage (Diesel) to once again return to the field. Assisted by a hand selected team that he can implicitly trust, Xander and his crew join forces with a government spook and soon uncover a deadly game with dangerous players on all sides, including various xXx recruits from previous years who each appear to have their own opinions on what is the correct course of action. Both at times joining forces with and at others fighting against the varying highly-trained fellow X enlistees, Xander and his crew embark on a wild, nonstop thrill ride filled with danger, death-defying stunts and the a global threat to combat in the wildest installment of the franchise yet.

Directed this time around by newcomer to the franchise D.J. Caruso (The Salton Sea, Disturbia) from a screenplay written by F. Scott Frazier (The Numbers Station), Caruso does a great job at the helm of ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ capturing the careless fun and over the top action of the previous entries without any trouble and also managing to capably up the ante a great deal. The film also benefits quite a bit from the well selected cast, each with their own unique style and abilities including the return of Vin Diesel (the Fast & Furious franchise) to the series, along with Donnie Yen (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), Deepika Padukone (Finding Fanny), Kris Wu (The Mermaid), Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense), Nina Dobrev (TV’s The Vampire Diaries), Tony Jaa (Furious Seven) Ruby Rose (TV’s Orange is the New Black), plus of course the one constant to the series Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction), and more, nearly all providing quite capable (and fitting) performances in each of their respective roles, with most of the newcomers also making splendid additions to the franchise.

‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is a ridiculously entertaining, full throttle thrill ride that is overloaded with wild stunts, over the top action and lengthy gunfights around nearly every turn. I must admit that I’ve never been a massive fan of the original ‘xXx’ or the Ice Cube starring sequel ‘xXx: State of the Union’ but can nonetheless enjoy their ridiculous and lighthearted spirit and often grin inducing silly action. The latest installment on the other hand I could not have loved more, and after jumping in with limited expectations (and partially because I’m a fan of the 3D format and was thrilled to see the 3D Blu-ray added to the release lineup) and was absolutely blown away. ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ finds the perfect style and approach for the franchise, wisely opting to introduce some international talent including the always amazing Yen and Jaa whose remarkable fighting skills really compliment the silly over the top  (and often stunt focused) spectacle violence of the first two films. While it certainly retains those goofy and stunt infused action sequences you can’t help but roll your eyes at, the new partial focus on beautifully choreographed hand to hand combat with some lengthy gunfights that never fail to impress thrown into the mix for good measure results is a wildly enjoyable ride that is the best entry in the franchise by far. ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ won’t be one to gain any real praise as a quality film, but that was clearly never its intention, and it offers no shortage of tense and bullet infused action that should result in one incredibly fun ride for fans of the franchise or of Diesel’s work in general (a man who has a rare involvement and dedication to his fans that that you almost never see these days) who will definitely want to make a point of giving this one a watch when you have the chance, it’s by and far the best entry in the ‘xXx’ series yet. The fellow 3D enthusiasts who can appreciate the movie for what it is will also want to consider giving it a whirl as it offers a highly capable 3D presentation with impressive depth and no shortage of guns and other notable elements appearing to leap right out of the screen which complements it splendidly and only results in an even more enjoyable overall experience with a carefree, over the top action flick such as this.

Overall, ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is an insanely enjoyable ride brimming with lengthy fights (both gunfights and some wild hand to combat sequences), over the top stunts, action sequences and just outright grin-inducing fun throughout nearly the entirety of its runtime. It all comes together into what is easily the most exciting and fun entry in the franchise to date, and one that any fan won’t dare to miss out on. Anyone who enjoyed either or both of the previous entries in the series, and any diehard fans of Diesel will all definitely want to make sure to check this one out, the nonstop over the top (yet still impressively choreographed) action and a number of great additions to the cast, not to mention the return of series star Vin diesel all combine into one insanely fun ride that is well worth your time. It should easily prove worth the cost of a rental if nothing else for anyone who may be the slightest bit interested in giving it a whirl but is understandably hesitant to drop the funds on a blind purchase. The fellow 3D fans out there should also have quite a bit of fun with this one thanks to a more than fitting 3D experience on the Blu-ray 3D release that offers noteworthy depth and no shortage of enjoyable pop out effects throughout.

VIDEO:

The Blu-ray 3D release of ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ features a full 1080p High Definition MVC encoded 3D presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio. The 3D presentation looks wonderful and provides consistent noteworthy depth, and numerous moments that work perfectly with the format including guns that appear to leap straight out of the screen and nearly touch your nose, along with plenty more. It holds up impressively throughout, never suffering any notable faults even during the fast moving and darkly lit sequences. Overall, this is a pretty fantastic 3D high definition video presentation from Paramount that compliments the carefree fun of the movie perfectly and should easily thrill the fellow 3D enthusiasts out there.

The 2D Blu-ray release which is also included in the 3D Blu-ray combo pack features an AVC encoded full high definition video presentation also representing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The standard high definition video presentation looks equally outstanding in its own right and provides a sharp, detailed and nearly flawless video presentation that holds up beautifully in nearly every way during the various scenes I had the time to check out.

AUDIO:

The Blu-ray release (both the 3D & 2D disc) features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This lossless multichannel soundtrack is a true treat for the fellow audiophiles out there and it provides a regular whirlwind of aggressive activity. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send everything from the music and various nature and crowd elements, to many a plethora of bullets, debris and other action elements zipping throughout the various speakers, while still making certain that any dialogue that may be occurring simultaneously remains clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a phenomenal Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that complements the movie magnificently and adds a great deal of additional fun to the overall viewing experience.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

The Blu-ray 3D release of ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ includes a few fun extras, the entirety of which can be found on the 2D disc (no extras are included on the 3D disc). Included on the release is a collection of behind the scenes Featurettes that take you deeper into bringing the film to life and include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Third Time’s The Charm: Xander Returns’ (running approximately 8 minutes in length), ‘Rebels, Tyrants & Ghosts: The Cast’ (running approximately 20 minutes), ‘Opening Pandora’s Box: On Location’ (approximately 16 minutes), and ‘I Live For This Sh#t!: Stunts’ (15 minutes). The release also includes a ‘Gag Reel’ (approximately 2 minutes).

*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. It should additionally be noted that for the purpose of convenience, the images present for this specific release represent the 2D version of the film, even though the review itself covers the 3D version. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.

Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10

‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

You can purchase ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage 3D’ by clicking on the Amazon Cart Icon immediately below!

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