Ice Cube, Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, Nona M. Gaye, Sunny Mabrey, Michael Roof and Samuel L. Jackson

Lee Tamahori

Running Time:
101 mins

Out to buy on DVD 29/08/05

"You're the new xXx"

After Agent Augustus Gibbons' (Jackson) facility is attacked, leaving most of his operatives dead, he is forced to take his xXx program underground to find out who is behind the assault. Now he needs a new type of xXx, one that can take the fight to them and is a military specialist. Enter Darius Stone (Cube), ex-Navy S.E.A.L. and current military prisoner, a rouge soldier with exceptional stills he is just the man to be the new xXx.

Even after the success of the first movie, star Vin Diesel decided not to return for the invertible sequel but can the franchise survive without its star.

With only Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Roof returning from the original film, the filmmakers behind the action follow up had to come up with a change to the concept. Now xXx is a NSA operation and not a person that Agent Gibbons is still over seeing. This means that anyone can be a xXx and a person can be picked for the specialist operation. This opens the franchise to infinite change and possibilities.

With the xXx from the first movie, Xander Cage killed off (something we just hear about) the new agent is a complete change from the original extreme sports star. Ice Cube's Darius Stone is still the same hot headed, risk taking rebel who really doesn't like authority but Stone has a completely different skill set. He is an ex-Navy S.E.A.L, sniper and expert diver who ended up in military prison after a mission went disastrously wrong. So now we have a hip-hop star/gangster/soldier that takes no prisoners and does everything with an attitude. Ice Cube fits the role perfectly. He might look slightly too overweight for the role but he takes the action sequences well and can handle himself in a fight.

Samuel L. Jackson returns to the role of Agent Augustus Gibbons. He is only in the film briefly however and he could have really done with some more screen time. Michael Roof also returns as the series answer to Q, Agent Toby Lee Shavers. He doesn't get to design as many gadgets this time around but he is on screen a lot more. Joining the returning cast is Willem Dafoe as Senator George Deckert, the US Secretary of Defence. He is your typical action film villain with grandiose plans and does a lot of monologing but the role doesn't really push Dafoe's talents to the limit. Scott Speedman gets another chance to shine as Agent Kyle Steele, the all American hero NSA Agent. There are also some noticeable smaller roles for Nona Gaye and Sunny Mabrey.

With some good action sequences and a plot that isn't too taxing on the brain, 'xXx 2: The Next Level' is a decent improvement on the original and an entertaining popcorn movie. While it will never have what it takes to compete with the Bond and Bourne franchises, this is still high-octane action for the extreme sports generation.


Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented extremely well, highlighting the energetic action sequences.


Filmmaker's Commentary
Director Lee Tamahori and screenwriter Simon Kinberg provide an informative and chatty commentary for the xXx sequel. They highlight the differences between this and the original as they tried to make the film noticeably different in style and look. They also talk extensively about casting and beefing up the role of Samuel L. Jackson. This is a decent commentary that covers most of the film's production.

Visual Effects Commentary
Visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar and computer graphics supervisor Jenny Head that you through the technical aspects of the movie. The pair reveals how all of the elaborate set pieces and action sequences are put together in a very chatty and informative commentary track.

From Convict to Hero: The Making of xXx: The Next Level (48. 47 mins)
Split into two parts entitled 'Part I: Boot Camp' and 'Part II: Special Ops', director Lee Tamahori, producer Arne L. Schmidt, screenwriter Simon Kinberg, production designer Gavin Bocquet, costume designer Sanja Milkovic Hays, technical advisors Dave Kennedy and Harry Humphries, stunt coordinator Mike Gunther, fight coordinator Marcus Young, visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar, composer Marco Beltrami and stars Ice Cube, Willem Defoe, Samuel L Jackson, Sunny Mabrey, Scott Speedman, Nona Gaye and Xzibit give you a comprehensive look at the making of the second movie in the xXx franchise. The documentary looks at all aspects of the films production from the original script, that included Xander Cage, through pre-production, production and the creation of the special effects in post production. With all the cast talking about their roles and the director revealing how he approached the sequel. This a good behind the scenes look at a big budget action movie.

Featurettes (19.39 mins)
Split into three parts entitled 'Bullet Train Breakdown', 'Top Secret Military Warehouse' and 'xXx: According to Ice Cube', director Lee Tamahori, screenwriter Simon Kinberg, producer Arne L. Schmidt, production designer Gavin Bocquet, costume designer Sanja Milkovic Hays, technical advisor Dave Kennedy and stars Ice Cube, Samuel L Jackson, Scott Speedman, Nona Gaye and Xzibit, the featurettes take you through the storyboards and Pre-Vis for the action sequences. They also look at the gadgets and technology of the film and star Ice Cube talks about what he and his character bring to the franchise.

Deleted Scenes (2.23 mins)
Entitled 'Bama shoots wounded Agent', 'President gives speech at Lincoln Memorial' and 'Steele's Team operates the robot', these deleted scenes have optional commentary from director Lee Tamahori.

Previews of 'Man of the House', 'D.E.B.S.' and 'Bewitched'


For a single disc DVD package this is extremely good. The documentary and featurettes cover all aspects of the films production and the deleted scenes have commentary by the director. The commentary tracks are also very good. All of this together means that this is a great package for fans and an example of how a single disc should be put together.



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