Vin Diesel is playing roles in no less than three franchise movies scheduled to reach theaters in the first half of 2017. The actor is voicing (Baby) Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 next May - less than one month after the release of the next Fast & Furious installment (once again featuring Diesel as Dominic Toretto), Fast 8. First, however, Diesel returns as Xander Cage, a character whom the actor originally played way back in 2002, in the original xXx: a Fast & Furious-meets James Bond style action/thriller that was even directed by Rob Cohen, Diesel's helmsman on the very first The Fast and the Furious.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage brings Diesel as extreme sports athlete-turned secret ops agent Xander Cage back from the dead, after the 2005 sequel xXx: State of the Union - starring Ice Cube as new xXx agent Darius Stone - aimed to soft reboot the franchise, by having Xander killed offscreen. Return of Xander Cage brings Diesel's xXx onscreen alter ego out of exile (having faked his death) and back into the fold, in the process pitting him against the ruthless criminal Xiang (Donnie Yen): a fellow seeking to get his hands on a dangerous super-weapon known as simply Pandora's Box.
Paramount Pictures's marketing team for Return of Xander Cage knows that the film's MacGuffin isn't the big selling point here - the extreme stunts and the death-defying maneuvers performed by Xander in the line of duty are. That's exactly what the newly-released second trailer for Return of Xander Cage (which you can watch above) focuses on, while also highlighting the various friends, foes, and those falling somewhere in-between, whom Xander crosses paths with on his way to saving the day.
The second Return of Xander Cage trailer in particular highlights Xander Cage's key allies on his new mission. Cage's team includes Toni Collette (Krampus) as Jane Marke, the 'M' to Cage's James Bond, so to speak; Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries) as Becky, who appears to be the 'Q' to Cage's Agent 007 (or, in some ways, the Felicity to his Oliver Queen); and Ruby Rose (Orange is the New Black) and Rory McCann (aka The Hound on Game of Thrones) as two especially colorful - somewhat literally, given Rose's hair color in the film - members of Cage's support crew, in Adele and Torch, respectively.
Return of Xander Cage was directed by D.J. Caruso (Eagle Eye, I Am Number Four) and co-written by F. Scott Frazier (Collide) and Chad St. John (London Has Fallen). The collective resume of the people working behind the scenes on the third xXx movie suggests the film will probably fit squarely into the mold of a shiny, but shallow, action/thriller - but based on the trailer footage release so far, Return of Xander Cage looks to deliver where it matters most: big, goofy fun set pieces and action sequences. If enough people enjoy what the movie has to offer, there might even be a xXx 4 somewhere down the line.
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Source: Paramount Pictures
- xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017) release date: Jan 20, 2017