XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE So cute! Wait! No! So EXTREME.

XXX came out in 2002 which, according to my math, is 15 years ago. FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. I didn't even watch it in theaters and I still feel old. But that's ok, because xXx: Return of Xander Cage isn't concerned with the past. Like its titular Xander (Vin Diesel), Return is all about (A) doing cool shit while looking cool and (B) that's it. This is Rule of Cool cinema from the first window Donnie Yen jumps through to the last explosion Diesel jumps out of. And while xXx felt kinda mean and empty in its pursuit of style points, everyone seems WAY more chill in this outing: Perhaps owing to the fact Diesel's pushing 50, he's assembled a gang of extreme rapscallions to pick up the slack, including an aggressively queer anti-poaching sharpshooter (Ruby Rose) and a Chinese-Canadian rave DJ (Kris Wu) who ABSOLUTELY foils a villain with rave DJing. Opposing them is Donnie Yen and his gang of extreme rapscallions (including Tony Jaa!), and opposing EVERYONE are the combined might of at least three branches of both the United States and Russian special forces.

Yes, maybe Return of Xander Cage is a naked attempt to inject an old Diesel franchise with a little of that Fast & Furious magic, but the filmmakers have learned the right lessons from the F&F franchise: Never say no to literally any stunt idea, and employ a fun, attractive and diverse cast to do those stunts.

I also give this movie points for using a fairly high number of women in an ensemble action comedy, and giving each of them a lot of people to shoot and a lot of sick one-liners to say when they shoot them! I am, however, deducting at least a few of those points, because all these women call each other bitches in a way I suspect real women do not.