XXX: Return of Xander Cage 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

The XXX franchise is to action movies what the Fifty Shades franchise is to romantic movies in that they’ve taken everything good about their respective genres and warped into something disgusting and unwatchable.  Vin Diesel returns to save the franchise he abandoned in 2005 and I think he and the filmmakers learned a valuable lesson; it’s going to take more than Vin Diesel pretending to be cool to revitalize a franchise that should just feel lucky to still be alive.

XXX The Return of Xander Cage 4K Ultra HD

We open with Augustus (Samuel L. Jackson) pitching the XXX program to Brazilian soccer star Neymar, just before he gets blown up by a falling satellite.  Then we cut to a secret black box being stolen by a team of thieves led by Xiang (Yen).  Determined to get the box back, Jane (Toni Collette) resurrects the XXX program by recruiting Xander Cage (Diesel) back to the team.  From there, everything skips to the next plot point with no rhyme or reason, just like in the first movie.  The goal here is not to establish any sort of logic or character development, the goal is just to throw in a bunch of random action sequences and hope the audience gets too distracted by the cool people to notice.

It’s a sad day when I have to reference the POINT BREAK remake to make a point, but in that film, they used mostly believable “extreme” stunts at various points in the film.  So it is possible to incorporate the world of extreme sports into an action movie.  That’s something that was established in the first film, but in the third film, there doesn’t seem to be any reasoning to how you get into the XXX program.  One of their recruits is a DJ and he’s there because “he’s fun to be around”.  So yeah, that’s where the franchise has landed (not that it was that big of a fall).

XXX The Return of Xander Cage 4K Ultra HD

In general, I’m not a fan of action sequences that take you out of the realism of a film.  I realize that’s not really fair because virtually every action sequence in every action movie is extremely fake.  But I feel like the XXX franchise takes that idea and ventures into the absurdly impossible.  Maybe I have to draw the line at motorcycles racing in and under water.  Or people jumping out of planes without a parachute and walking away unscathed.  Or people using motorcycles as a weapon in hand to hand combat.  Or…I could go on, but you get the idea.  There’s only so much one can stomach.

XXX The Return of Xander Cage 4K Ultra HD

I’m not sure Vin Diesel was ever cool, but I do know that at 49 years-old, he can’t keep pretending he’s a cool, young rebel.  It’s embarrassing at 30, but at 50, it’s troubling.  With barely $45 million at the box office, there’s hope that the XXX franchise has seen its last installment and no one should be shedding any tears.

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: There’s nothing inherently wrong with the 4K presentation of XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE, but when compared to the Blu-ray, there’s just not much of a difference.  That’s more of a compliment to the Blu-ray than a dig at the 4K and it’s probably a result of yet another pedestrian upscale.  I expected the film to look great on 4K since it’s a brightly lit, shiny movie, but I didn’t notice anything that wowed me with detail or colors.  The closest scene was when we first meet up with Xander Cage in South America.  In that scene, the sun looks beautiful and the settings have some great detail.  But again, they also looked good on the Blu-ray.

Audio: The included Dolby Atmos track is as loud as you’d expect from a movie like this.  It’s actually pretty impressive and if you have a great setup and enjoy these films, the audio track might be a reason to upgrade to the 4K.

This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.

The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:

Featurettes (59:58):  Four featurettes are included that are all actually pretty decent.  They cover the basics of the film with a heavy focus on the stunts and the diverse cast.

Gag Reel (2:10): The cast forget their lines and laugh about it.

Click 4K Ultra HD to read more of our 4K reviews.  And you can also follow us on Instagram (@flix66pics) to see previews of our upcoming 4K reviews and more pics of the packaging.

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