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Movie Review

xXx: State of the Union

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense action violence and some language

Reviewed by: Bob Rossiter

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens, Adults
1 hr. 34 min.
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Columbia Pictures
Featuring: Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Scott Speedman, Peter Strauss, Sunny Mabrey
Director: Lee Tamahori
Producer: Neal H Moritz, Arne L. Schmidt
Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Prepare for the next level

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson), fresh off the success of his last renegade recruitment, once again finds himself in need of an outsider. Gibbons and his new agent (Ice Cube), also code-named “xXx,” must track a dangerous military splinter group that is conspiring to overthrow the U.S. Government in the nation’s capital.”

See our review of the prequel to this movie: xXx


A favorite topic of many moviegoers over the years has been, “Lone underdog defies the odds and saves the world.” People wait in line at the box office for hours to see a good rendition of this theme. Lucas and Tolkein knew how to do it, but “xXx: State of the Union” doesn’t achieve the same power.

Samuel L. Jackson is Agent Augustus Gibbons, the leader of the xXx chapter of the NSA. After a terrorist attack, Gibbons needed a new operative, so he broke Darius Stone (Ice Cube) out of prison to become the new xXx. Stone soon realizes that this new battle is with an old enemy, George Deckert (Willem Dafoe), who is now the Secretary of Defense.

Deckert is using his position to put people in places that will help him assassinate the President and give him the leadership of the United States. Stone’s desire to stop him isn’t because of a moral reason like freedom or the protection of government leadership, but because of his hatred of Deckert.

Not knowing whom he can trust, Stone puts together a ragtag team consisting of one agent each from the CIA and NSA, his former lover, and other friends who own their own carjacking “business”. This set of misfits must take on elite commandos and former SEAL teams to defeat Deckert.

There is a lot of action violence involving fighting or killing, but no close up shots of the wounds. Some blood is shown, but not in a gory manner.

There are 22 profanities spoken, including the Lord’s name taken in vain (5 times) and the F-word (once). Seven other moderate obscenities account for the rest.

Both Lola (Nona Gaye) and Charlie (Sunny Mabre) wear outfits showing cleavage throughout the movie. Other characters at times wear halter-tops with hot pants or mini-skirts. There are many suggestive comments, with most of them having double meanings, but no outright sex scenes or nudity. Stone starts to initiate sex with Lola at one point, but an NSA agent quickly interrupts them before anything happens.

If you’ve seen the last chick flick you can stomach for a while, and need to see something with action and adventure, you may want to try “xXx2”. Some adults will enjoy the action aspect of this movie, but it is a strong PG-13 and not appropriate for pre-teens.

I was disappointed with the moderate quality of the film, but didn’t have my senses bombarded with gore and nudity either. Don’t bother going, however, if you are a stickler for reality. In one scene, for instance, Stone blows the tires off a car, runs the tireless vehicle down a set of railroad tracks, and catches a bullet train at 200 mph.

“xXx: State of the Union” is far from being a moral movie, but I still like the fact that the lone hero (albeit imperfect one) triumphs over the wicked. In a small way, it reminds me of my Savior. Jesus, by Himself, fought the devil and his minions until He defeated them through the cross and rose again from the dead.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/nudity: Moderate

Viewer Comments
Positive—The language is not totally offensive save for a few expletives, one uttered by the “President” and in the context of the movie and in the character’s moment, it was totally authentic.

The world is not the moral place it ought to be so it is understandable the overall tone of the flick but what comes through all of the hype and crashing vehicles is that good ALWAYS overcomes evil but as with Christ, it’s never without a big fight. Evil is just as motivated and believes in what it is doing as much as good. It’s good’s faith that overcomes evil in the end and that is as it should be.

As an aspring filmmaker myself, and a man of color, I find it odd that the original xXx opened to over 14 million and after three weeks State of the Union has only grossed 9-12 million. Is the US still so unaccepting of a Black male lead in the movies? “State of The Union” is better and more developed film than the original.
My Ratings: Average/4
—Michael James, age 44
Positive—This movie was good fun to watch. Not as nearly sexual as I thought it may have been, the lead actor behaved himself quite well! Yes, it is a Hollywood action movie but if you enjoy the genre this is really good fun.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Angela Hammond, age 27

Comments from young people
Negative—After watching this movie at the theater I felt so depressed. I went straight home and read my Bible, asking God to take away all of the images of the movie from my mind. Thnakfully He did, Not only was the language terrible but the plot was twisted. The “good guys” were fighting for our country but in doing so they did things like breaking criminals out of jail, and killing good American soldiers in the process, Thieves, gangsters, and law breakers were the people who in the end saved America. Is that the message we want to be sending? All I know is that there are thousands of men and women who are risking their lives every day to keep our country safe, why couldn’t they have been the ones to recieve the credit in the end? I wasted a good 6 bucks on this movie and I hope not many others will do the same. Instead I would recommend a movie such as Saving Private Ryan or The Patriot.
My Ratings: Very Offensive/4
—Ansley, age 13
Movie Critics
…Any excitement over the many eXXXplosions is overpowered by the fact that just about everything here is totally implausible…
—E! Online
…If you feel like giving your intelligence the night off, or feel the need to have your head assaulted with crash after explosion after snicker-inducing dialogue after heaving bosom, this brainless action flick… might be just the thing for your Friday night.
—Jolie Williamson, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Ice Cube keeps the action-movie franchise alive with a pleasing one-two punch of humor and burly physicality…
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…Big, loud and stupid…
—John Monaghan, Detroit Free Press
…audaciously idiotic… this sequel careens wildly between the uninspired and the absurd…
—Glenn Whipp, L.A. Daily News
…Filmmakers demonstrate xXx-treme stupidity…
—Paul Sherman, Boston Herald