XXX: State Of The Union

XXX: State Of The Union

Crimes:

  • Awkwardly mating a political thriller and a modern blaxploitation action movie, mostly by flipping jarringly between tones and styles
  • Working hard to establish star Ice Cube as a stone-cold, unsubtle, takes-no-shit badass, then shoehorning him into formalwear and making him play a waiter and an effeminate preacher
  • Ditching much of the action of the first XXX movie in favor of long-winded confrontations and dumb humor

Defenders: Director Lee Tamahori and screenwriter Simon Kinberg

Tone of commentary: Zippy and breathless. Both commentators rush through run-on sentences so fast they trip over their own tongues, but they don't have much to say, apart from describing the action onscreen, or laboriously explaining their intentions. Every other sentence seems to begin "What we wanted to do here was..." or "We just thought it would be fun if in this scene, we..."

What went wrong: Very little; many scenes had to be lengthened, reduced, added, or transposed, but virtually all of the changes improved the film. Tamahori did regret having to shorten an excruciatingly stupid sequence in which Cube hijacks a government-cheese truck from two witless comedians. Tamahori also admits that they might have gotten Department Of Defense support and saved millions by borrowing military hardware, if not for the plot twist where the Secretary Of Defense turns out to be a psychotic killer.

Comments on the cast: Most of the cast members get some form of vague praise, though Tamahori admits he didn't bother rehearsing with them because "this is not an intense drama." Kinberg and Tamahori both agree that in this film, "the cars are as critical a character as the actors are."

Inevitable dash of pretension: After 90 minutes of not acknowledging State Of The Union's thematic clash between disadvantaged but good-hearted black criminals and oblivious or evil privileged whites, Kinberg and Tamahori proudly proclaim that a late-film battle between Cube and a generic white soldier is key because "we wanted to play on different polarities in America."

Commentary in a nutshell: "We also wanted to show she knew her vehicles, which is what this scene is about. She gives him her truck."

Filed Under: DVD

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