This time, last year, Deepika joined the XXX sequel shoot after announcing her big entry to Hollywood. Ever since I watched Om Shanti Om (2007), I predicted her entry to Hollywood industry. It is good to be right.
Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) comes back from self-imposed exile and is recruited by the CIA led by Marke (Toni Collette) to track down Xiang (Donnie Yen) who has confiscated powerful device “Pandora’s box“. Xander, joined by the good, the bad and the insane, tracks down this group and he comes across determined Serena (Deepika Padukone) who has her own aim and agenda. What follows is an ultimate race between two best teams.
I enjoyed this movie. It is an entertaining ride that is amusing if you are with your friends or cousins. The actions sequences are either really cool or really insane. It is a Vin Diesel flick and therefore, expected him to have the authority. After watching the painful sequences from the Fast and the furious series (4-7) and Riddick, the overall effects were better in this movie as we are able to enjoy it without feeling the passage of time. Some of the explosions scene and over the top jumping from Furious 7 (2015) gave me a serious headache. What I loved the best about this movie is that enough details were given while the characters were introduced and Vin Diesel didn’t dominate the film completely with his gruffy voice and machismo by giving breathing space for the ensemble. But this is cut short in the climax scene where Xander jumps off a plane onto a box tied to a parachute which makes one say “oh please“. Each character has their say and in a way, apart from Donnie Yen, women shined better than men in this film.
I expected Deepika’s character to be reduced to Xander’s trophy or a motivating figure. Serena is her own person who runs the show whenever she is on. She leads the way and during the shootout, everybody else followed her mark. While Xander tries to take over, Serena shows what is right by taking what they were going for out of the equation. Xander concurs and Serena gives her victory smile. Deepika was flexible and gave that charismatic curve on her lips when surrounded by men in uniform. It is quite visible that the camera shots were trying to favor her while doing action, like her male counterparts. Her English accent was ridiculed by many, but since she is playing an Indian character, her approach was only honest as opposed to enclosing it with stresses on “T”s and “H”s. The only disappointing aspect is that her role as an Indian working for XXX was not highlighted as most of Xander’s teams had their profile written next to them during their introduction scenes. More than Serena, I liked the presentation of Adele (Ruby Rose) better. Adele is slick, cool, fearless, and highly skilled. She shined whenever she had the upper hand, whether it is climbing the coconut tree with a cloth to shooting the target when Xander was at his gunpoint, coolest scene from the movie. Adele is a different shade for Rose, apart from her Orange is the new black version. Nina Dobrev played the nerd in this movie who is a talkative genius who doesn’t want to be on the field. Yet, at desperate times she took desperate measures. She did a bit of Seth Green, Sarah Silverman, and Jack Black and resulted in created an adorable character who might make you roll your eyes back. Tony Jaa had less to do in the film apart from the graceful way in which he mounted a moving bike after kicking off the rider. Donnie Yen dominated as the Kung Fu master, especially in the second half. Toni Collette is graceful with her dry humor and expressive face.
There is no steadfast theme and the plot points presented are cliched. It is another typical “expected good guys are bad and bad guys are good”. And, a character comes back to life. As far the action is concerned, it is crazy yet thrilling. The visual effects team and cinematographer wanted to create the adrenaline rush and testosterone overdose. The editing has a lot of jumps in order to create the fast pacing but it is a *tad bit* irritating during conversation scenes. At the end of the day, XXX is just a commercial entertainer for teenagers and action movie lovers. I watched this film to witness Deepika’s performance in her Hollywood debut.
Featured image: collider