Film Review: xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Hindi)

Film Review: xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Hindi)

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a Dharmendra film in spirit and Salman Khan film in soul; we just miss Vin Diesel and Deepika singing a duet in the Alps, writes Deepa Gauri



By Deepa Gauri 


Published: Fri 20 Jan 2017, 1:05 PM

Last updated: Fri 20 Jan 2017, 3:11 PM

That Hindi can be a great leveller is underlined in the dubbed xXx: Return of Xander Cage, which merits the version thanks due to Deepika Padukone, who makes her grand entry into Hollywood.
Impressive, the entry sure is. It is not a blink-and-miss role, as many Bollywood veterans had found themselves being treated in Hollywood. Yet it is not on Quantico levels to fetch Padukone a People's Choice Award, which now seems to stay put with Priyanka Chopra.
But the lady finds her place in Hollywood/international cinema with far more grace than Mallika Sherawat, and far more confidence than Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Self-assuredness and style exude in Deepika as she makes her entry in style, sliding through a door, and putting in her foot, just in the nick of time, to eventually wedge it open.
It cannot have been more symbolic. After all, she had lost out on a deal to do Fast and Furious 7, while Priyanka was making headlines with one Hollywood deal after another.
So thanks to Vin Diesel, for whom her admiration knows no bounds (as City Times brought to you on Thursday), the girl transforms into Serena Unger. Since everyone from Samuel Jackson to Vin to Donnie Yen speaks Hindi in the dubbed version, let us say Deepika is on home turf here.
Serena is a role that demands little of Deepika. Yet she gives it her heart (and body) - after all, even if dupes are called for, it still takes effort to do all those high-wattage action scenes.
In xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Vin Diesel reprises the eponymous hero of 2002, after he was out of the sequel in 2005. There is a certain sense of self-aware goofiness to his extreme sports loving superhero that makes the film endearing in parts.
Pandora's Box, a command box of some sort that can crash satellites and destroy the world, is missing and only Cage can bring it back.
So he takes a break from entertaining old women and children in the Dominican Republic with his skateboard stunts, and gathers a motley group (joined soon by Serena) to save the world.
When you know what to expect and when the makers know what they are delivering with the least of pretension, it is not difficult to just sit back and watch the action.
xXx is the sort of hero we have seen Dharmendra to Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar play a hundred times over. In spirit, therefore, xXx is close to a Dharmendra movies sans their outlandish melodrama. In soul, it is like the recent Salman Khan movies, where the hero is fully aware of his might, and yet plays it down with a knowing smile.
xXx is a reminder that Hollywood can make the most engaging Bollywood mainstream action flicks; all we needed were a few Pritam songs (on the mould of Party All Night and one romantic track where Vin and Deepika romance in the Alps. A sobbing mother and a goofy dad (the sort Anupam Kher specialises in) would have been bonuses.
Far ahead than some of Bollywood's pedestrian productions, xXx in Hindi makes for a time-pass watch, both for Vin Diesel and Deepika.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Hindi)
Starring: Vin Diesel, Deepika Padukone
Directed by: DJ Caruso
Now playing at theatres in the UAE
Rating: 2.5/5
 


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