Release Date: Jan 20th 2017
CAST: Vin Diesel, Deepika Padukone, Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Rory McCann and Samuel L. Jackson.
Director: D. J. Caruso
Production Houses: Paramount Pictures & Revolution Studios
The third explosive chapter of the blockbuster franchise that redefined the spy thriller finds extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) coming out of self-imposed exile and on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang and his team in a race to recover a sinister and seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora’s Box. Recruiting an all-new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of world governments.
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We cover the movie on our desideewar pages here because of its connection to Deepika Padulone, India's leading film star seen in lead role here opposite Vin Deisel, Hollywood's popular action man of multiple action packed blockbuster franchises, namely- this and the Fast And The Furious (with over 7 in the series). This particular series includes xXx (2002) and xXx: State of the Union (2005) as its predecessors.
1. THE CAST: Vin Diesel needs no review, having proven himself as a solid action leading actor in the international film industry. Samuel L. Jackson and all other supporting cast hold their fort well, in keeping with the action/ heist/ diplomatic theme. Coming to Deepika Padukone, well, even though you wouldn't leave the theater praising her acting skills (the movie certainly wasn't attempting at showcasing it either), her presence you would have felt (her tall frame), noticed (her heavy accent AND curvy figure) and admired (her personality). Her grand entrance was impressive and well executed.
2. THE LOCATION, ACTION AND THE HUMOR:
The on the edge and back kind of almost non-stop action keeps your interest to a large degree. The humor provides another angle of entertainment. Locations in Dominican Republic and the Philippines provided the perfect props for the action.
THE BAD ..
Deepika has a screen presence way more charismatic than depicted in the most frames. In fact, she looks more like the Deepika we know in the promotional events for the film (like the one seen below during her appearance in a late night show in USA). Her accent too seems heavier than normal- but then hey- it is about time that Indian accent be perceived as exotic, and who better than Deepika to pitch that idea :), eh?
The movie really does live up to its expectations- which isn't really too high to begin with. Yes it is packed with the series’ signature deadpan wit, bad-ass attitude, and some of the most mind-blowing stunts- just as it promises, so we can hardly complain if we aren't entertained enough. And since it is our interest in Deepika's involvement that pulled us to the theater with our kids in tow, I would say this again- the film didn't do justice to the power of our Padukone, but still provides an essential pathway for more to follow- in terms of more Indian actors making it big in Hollywood. However, it does make you wonder- why not harness the Indian American talent locally available? Perhaps they want to rope the already-big-names to rope in the huge movie going Indian (and Indian origin) population of the world. And why not- after all it does make perfect business (and entertainment) sense.
Got to mention, we complain about our close-to-50-and-50 heros' pairing with the young-around-30 heroines, so got to whine a little bit about the lead pair here too. Deepika at 31, certainly looks very young opposite 49 year old Vin Diesel who, if you think about it, almost looks like our desi stud Salman Khan ... lol. But then, we don't exactly think of age when we look at the chiseled all-attitude Diesel. Alright, alright, perhaps the Khan fans feel the same- but they have got to stop pairing against 20-something at least!
HOW DID THE FILM FARE ...
As per Forbes, the film brought in about $19m in its debut weekend and attributed its rather poor performance to the "relative overperformance of M. Night Shyamalan's Split". However, according to Forbes, the film "was engineered to kick butt overseas, with an inclusive (and delightful) supporting cast including Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Toni Collette, Tony Jaa and Ruby Rose among many others. If it carries its weight in the 53 international markets in which it debuted, then its domestic figure is mere trivia".
In India, the movie saw a collection of Rs 20 crore in the first five days as per the Indian Express. But then it has Dangal to compete with, a movie that is inching towards creating a new benchmark of Rs. 400 crore in India in its 4th week.