xXx (2002) - Unrated Director's Cut

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Thriller
Columbia || Unrated - 132 minutes - $19.94 || April 19, 2005
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-04-27


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Rob Cohen
Writer(s): Rich Wilkes (written by)
Cast: Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Marton Csokas, Samuel L. Jackson


Theatrical Release Date: August 9, 2002


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director's Commentary
  • Starz on the Set
  • Multi-Angle Stunts
  • Sneak Peek: xXx: State of the Union
  • xXx: A Filmmaker's Diary
  • The Final Chapter: The Death of Xander
  • 4 Featurettes
  • Visual Effects How To's
  • The End Credit Sequence: Raw & Uncut
  • Storyboard Comparison
  • 2 Music Videos


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

This will be my third review of xXx, so bear with me. xXx is the ultimate in brainless action movies. It has over-the-top action sequences, a few bad lines, carboard ctout characters, and hot chicks... and god help me, I loved it all here.

When I first watched xXx back in 2002 (and subsequently a couple times thereafter at home), I felt that Vin Diesel had once again struck gold after leaving the Fast and the Furious franchise. Indeed, it looked like that not only had Diesel and director/producer Rob Cohen had started the new 21st century spy-thriller, but it seemed Vin Diesel had himself a successful franchise. Unfortunately, for whatever reason (money, subpar script, etc) he decided to skip the sequel (the horrendously titled xXx: State of the Union) and to instead film The Pacifier.

At any rate, the movie itself is still quite good if you can accept it for what it is (and what it isn't). In this "director's cut", however, there's little you haven't seen before if you own the original DVD release as the deleted scenes were merely reintroduced into the final film (and cleaned up, of course). Two points of interest here: one of these pointless scenes has Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) walking down a corridor with two other gentlemen as they talk about what course of action to take. Well, Cohen said (via the deleted scene commentary on the original DVD) that he had cut it because the other two actors had overshadowed Jackson! Why put it in then? The other scene involved three naked women on a bed (whereas they were just scattedly clothed before). This didn't make the movie better, but they were beautiful...



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

This has to be, without a doubt, the WORST case of double-dipping I have ever seen! From my count, there's eight, maybe nine, new features on these two discs out of 16, the rest is from the orginal DVD. After looking over my original DVD review, I've decided to go ahead and actually go through each one and give a blow by blow synopsis.

The commentary from director Rob Cohen (which is the exact one from the orginal release) is, well, mundane. He goes into a decent amount of detail about the cast and crew (with the standard butt kissing included). My biggest problem in regards to this release goes toward asking why there was no new commentary added with the new footage? Because they used the original commentary, there are a few stretches of silence as Cohen's comments have to be edited around (especially if it has nothing to do with added scenes). I just don't get it. The guy who played the gadget geek wasn't available? No writers or other producers? Really??? Shameful.

There are two multi-angle stunts including the "Exploding Barn Jump" and "The Bridge Jump". Each include 9 multiple angles for you to check out. Nothing new here, but fun for a one time viewing. I checked out just about every angle and it was interesting to see (in regards to the barn jump) how close the stunt cyclist came to the explosion... pretty amazing. The bridge jump is a tad less interesting until we get to see the sports car smash into a million pieces! :)

The DVD-makers decided to include two items for the upcoming xXx: State of the Union: The first is merely a 3 minute piece of advertising (aka Sneak Peek) for the sequel with the standard interviews telling you why you should see the movie (which this DVD comes with a "free" ticket (I say that because it's actually only good up to $7.50, which ticket prices in some places are more than that). The other is a minute and a half scene in which Gibbons visits Darius Stone (Ice Cube) in prison and explains that he wants Stone to be the new triple X. Whoopi doo. Not a bad scene, but I doubt it'd get anyone who was on the fence to actually go see the movie.

The second disc contains primarily the old materal including a 40 minute Filmmakers' Diary, though this time I think they added a voice over of Cohen because he states the success of the xXx DVD (6 million units sold). Since I no longer have my original copy at this time, I don't know if this was on the original release. As far as this diary goes, it's actually decently in-depth although I think they could've done better. All thing's considered, a good addition.

The Final Chapter: The Death of Xander is absolutely the dumbest short "film" I have ever seen. Now, there's been speculation on the Web that this was filmed for the original release but they just never got around to doing Diesel's close-ups (the part here was played by his stunt double), however, this looked new and a quick way (if anyone cared) to explain Xander Cage's absence from the sequel. Even though this is a spoiler, I high doubt anyone would care if I tell what happens: In a nutshell, Xander (with a hot chick) is pulling up to an apartment building. He somehow ends up chasing someone into the alley all the while a Hummer pulls up and kidnaps the chick after which they leave a piece of her clothing so that Xander would presume she was in the building (which she was not, dunno why they wouldn't kill her too...). He utters a line thrown in from the movie, goes in and the place blows up (in a blaze of cheap-ass pyrotechnics). The baddie walks into frame and picks up the "xXx" tatooed piece of skin and says some stupid and cliched line not worth repeating... That's it.

There are four featurettes: Building Speed: The Vehicles of xXx, Designing the World of xXx, Diesel Powered and Agent Shavers' Gadget Presentation. The first three have already been seen. However, the DVD producers apparently decided to replace the lame GTO car commercial with an equally (and cheap, I might add) one where Michael Roof (who played Agent Shavers) goes through some of the gadgets used in the film. Now, I said cheap before because all of this was filmed in some parking lot in (more than likely) Los Angeles, with merely a "xXx" logo banner behind Roof. For the most part, Roof acted like the goofball his character is (or it could've been he was high... in which case I wouldn't blame him).

Next are three visual effects how to's covering the mountain avalanche, creating the avalanche itself and the shack explosion. Considering the avalanche scene was the key element that (IMO) made the film so successful, I did find it interesting how it all was done, so from that standpoint, it was interesting to watch. Again, however, this stuff has already been seen.

Another new feature comes in the form of The End Credit Sequence - Raw & Uncut. This is merely the end credits you've seen (with music) but without the actual credits. Mmm-hmm, I can see you're just as impressed as I was.

There are two storyboard comparisons: The avalanche scene (of course) and the drug farm sequence. Nothing innovative here, just the usual stuff... at top is the storyboard, bottom the actual film. It would've been nice to have perhaps some commentary to go with it, but that'd been asking for too much.

Lastly there are two music videos, one previously seen on the original disc ("Adrenaline" by Gavin Rossdale) and the other brand spanking new for our viewing pleasure ("I Will Be Heard" by Hatchbreed). Lame videos with the dumb looking scenes from the film inserted randomly.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Since a majority of the special features on this disc are recycled, I assume they also reused the sound mix as well (except for the added scenes, of course). As it is, the picture and sound are both good relaying a the crispness (and crunchiness) one expects from a new DVD.



.::OVERALL::.

Columbia TriStar/Revolution Studios have defined what a double dip is. Half of the features on this disc has been reused... I mean come on, they couldn't even add NEW commentary from somebody? Anybody? The sound boom guy? This isn't a bad DVD to buy IF you don't already own the original.