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XXX

XXX ($28) is a fairly mindless, but super fast moving popcorn movie, plain and simple. Anyone expecting any kind of depth from this particular action movie, obviously popped the wrong DVD in his or her player. Personally, what I liked most about XXX was how the film plays like a super cool, super fast James Bond parody. As such, XXX doesn’t present audiences with anything new, but instead this gives the filmmakers the opportunity to take every one of the tired "spy movie" clichés, and place an X-treme spin on it. The filmmakers even go so far to introduce a James Bond-like character, only to off him in the first five minutes of the movie.

XXX stars Vin Diesel as Xander Cage (who goes by the moniker xXx), an extreme sports daredevil and Internet counter culture hero known for his outrageous stunts that are broadcast live on the web. After his latest over-the-top antics, xXx finds himself drafted into the NSA by Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson), who feel that an unconventional touch is required for a particular assignment. With a threat of prison hanging over his head, xXx chooses to take a trip to Prague for a reconnaissance mission. Utilizing his online persona and well-known reputation, xXx is able to infiltrate a particularly unsavory Russian gang that deals in everything from black market cars to biological weapons. The cast of XXX also includes Asia Argento, Marton Csokas, Danny Trejo and Michael Roof.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment has made XXX available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that features the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 displays (a separate full screen version is also available). The wide screen version of XXX makes for another terrific looking DVD release from Columbia TriStar. Almost everything appears wonderfully crisp and exceedingly well defined. Only when the cinematography gets a bit too artful does the resolution seem to come down a notch. Colors tend to be bold and vibrant, although occasional stylization can wash them out a bit. Still, all of the hues are cleanly rendered, without noise or smearing. Blacks appear inky, while the whites are very clean; however, contrast can be a bit variable due to how the movie was photographed and processed. Shadow detail is generally very good, plus the cleanly authored DVD keeps digital compression artifacts very well concealed.

It should come as no surprise that XXX features a fully revved up Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The sound designers have complimented the film’s high-octane visuals with a highly aggressive sound mix that fully utilizes all of the discrete channels. There is very little of the film that can be described as quite or subtle, since sound effects are almost continuously whizzing around the soundstage. The bass channel is thunderous and ground shaking, so I recommend stowing the breakables before popping this puppy in the player. Anyone looking for a DVD to give his or her sound system a workout will find XXX perfectly suited to the task. Despite the near continuous barrage of sound, dialogue remains fully understandable, although I am not sure if that helps or hurts certain performances in the film. Randy Edelman’s score and the film’s pulse pounding incidental music are rendered with excellent fidelity. A French 5.1 channel soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a very solid supplemental section. First up is a running audio commentary with director Rob Cohen. This is a very interesting, enthusiastic and humorous commentary track that definitely speaks to the target audience. Next is A Filmmaker's Diary- a forty minute, two-part program that looks at the nuts and bolts of making XXX. This is definitely no puff piece and I wish more DVDs included this kind of behind-the-scenes programming.

Four featurettes are also included on the DVD. Building Speed: The Vehicles of XXX is a seven-minute look at the two of the specialized vehicles created for the film. Designing the World of XXX is a fourteen-minute tour of some of the film’s locations, which provides insight into some of the challenges faced by the team designing and constructing some of the sets. Diesel Powered is a six-minute "love fest" for the film’s star. The GTO is Back is a three-minute program that profiles the hero’s vehicle of choice. Also featured on the DVD are Visual Effects How-To's, which offer a six-minute glimpse into the creation of the film’s avalanche sequence. There are also ten deleted scenes featured amongst the supplements, which can be viewed with optional director’s commentary. A theatrical trailer, bonus trailers, cast & crew filmographies and Gavin Rossdale music video for the song Adrenaline close out the supplements.

If mindless action is your idea of a perfect movie, XXX is the perfect flick for you. XXX is fast and furious popcorn entertainment that looks and sounds great on DVD. On top of that, Columbia TriStar has thrown in a great supplemental section making this disc the perfect choice for the "boys and their toys" DVD fan.

 

XXX 


XXX (Widescreen Special Edition) (2002)

ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2002 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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