DVD Review: XXX - State of the Union (Special Edition)
Release Date: July 26, 2005
· Lee Tamahori
· Ice Cube
· Samuel L. Jackson
· Willem Dafoe
by Chad Maddux
Published: July 26, 2005
Darius Stone (Ice Cube) is the newest XXX (read: "Triple X") in "XXX - State of the Union." Like Vin Diesel's character in the original "XXX," Stone has not been on the right side of the law. He is an ex-con who leads a rather ragged group. The group have been organized thanks to Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson).
Their mission: simple but extremely ridiculous. Rogue agents are attempting to assassinate the President during the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill...but no one seems to notice. XXX and his people must defeat the rogue agents and save the President by jumping on helicopters and trains and other moving objects at high speeds. A high-ranking official wants the president killed because of a difference of opinion (always a good reason, right?). Vin Diesel is certainly no Tom Hanks but Ice Cube isn't either. He's also no Vin Diesel and wasn't very good at all (if I hear "there" pronounced "der" once more, I'm going to scream). The movie moves at very rapid pace but is mostly just silly. I'm not sure I would put an ex-con and his buddies in charge of saving the President but I'm also not a script writer so what do I know? Overall, the film is entertaining for its explosions and special effects but is certainly nothing I'd want to see again.
The first two bonus options are to watch the film with either the filmmaker's commentary or visual effects commentary. The problem with these two options is that you have to watch the movie again. I didn't really enjoy it the first time so why would I want to watch it two more times while listening to someone talk? Normally, I really like this feature since it provides a real-time behind-the-scenes perspective of the various aspects of every scene...but not for this film.
"From Convict to Hero: The Making of XXX: State of the Union" is the required behind-the-scenes featurette. It's nothing but the routine presentation: some commentary and lots of video. It did have some interesting points. There was a look at the training for some martial arts effects that was cool to watch and you can watch some more stuff blow up. There is also a look at the CGI effects in the film. This featurette is about 45 minutes long.
There are three featurettes looking at the bullet train and a military warehouse. They were pretty interesting and showed some neat gadgets (one robot arm please!) and army equipment but one was essentially a storyboard comparison which I don't particularly enjoy. There is also a look at Ice Cube. If you want to know more about Ice Cube, you'll enjoy this short featurette.
There are three deleted scenes although I'm not sure you'd want to see MORE scenes from this movie. There are also some previews that are considered to be special features. I don't believe a commercial for the Ashton Kutcher comedy "Guess Who" qualifies as a special feature but you be the judge on that one.
Overall, the bonus content is on par with the main feature. There isn't as much as some other action films and it wasn't all that compelling. If we are lumping previews of other films into the "Bonus Material" category, I think we're in trouble. If you want a much better buy, read my review of the original "XXX."
The film is presented on this DVD (as reviewed) in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound in Full Screen (1.33:1). The Wide Screen edition is presented in Anormphic Widescreen (2.40:1). French subtitles are available.
Film Grade: C
Bonus Material Grade: C
Visual Effects Commentary
Documentary "From Convict to Hero: The Making of XXX: State of the Union"
Top Secret Military Warehouse
Bullet Train Breakdown
"XXX - State of the Union (Special Edition)" is rated PG-13.