XXX: State of the Union

The original 2002 action-thriller was a glorified videogame with high-tech hijinks. Now, the glorified videogame is on high-speed, and the high-tech hi-jinks zip by at whiplash pace in this superfluous sequel, directed by Lee Tamahori. Vin Diesel was replaced by Ice Cube, whose lower asking price enabled him to jump off a roof to catch a helicopter and clock 220 mph on his speedometer to catch a bullet train. In the end, this is merely testosterone-filled hodgepodge. The ex-con-turned-NSA recruit and his gangbanger brigade use implausible stunts and annoying one-liners to prevent a crooked secretary of defense (Willem Dafoe) from overthrowing the wishy-washy president. Given this sequel’s lack of quality, I can guarantee it won’t come close to the $276.8 million gross of its predecessor.

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