I just ran across this trailer today, having no idea they were even making another sequel in the XXX movie series:
The original XXX was a brilliant conceit -- pointing out the anachronistic idea of the tuxedoed spy in today's gritty guttural world. And a more subtle approach -- why train a spy for years to do all these amazing stunts when it's easier to take a stunt man and just put a gun in his hands and turn him loose?
The original XXX was a jumping off point for all these high-octane action movies that are now common place and Vin Diesel was just the right guy for the role. He didn't take himself or the role too seriously. He did an admirable job of looking like a world class stunt guy thrust into a life or death situation he had never experienced before. The movie also had the added plus of the always slightly off-kilter Asia Argento co-starring.
The original still has one of my favorite movie lines that I've only managed to work into a conversation once. When Xander Cage (Diesel) is first introduced to Argento's character in a bar, she offers him a drink. He accepts and asks for the drink on ice telling her she can chip a piece off her heart . . . if she can find it.
The sequel to the original stunk for a lot of reasons, most notably the casting of the portly and unathletic Ice Cube as the new XXX. Cube can scowl and grimace until the cows come home and he's so absurdly un-threatening and unconvincing it made the movie even more unbelievable. Also the film's makers decided that the XXX moniker was going to be a generic title given to any agent at any time, leaving them the freedom to constantly recast the role as they pleased. That didn't work out so well.
So we have the original Xander Cage back in action and the trailer looks sufficiently awesome to hopefully be a hit. I actually like Diesel as an actor. Loved the first Pitch Black and the third installment, Riddick, wasn't all that bad. So hopefully he's got another decent flick for him here.
Next we have yet another remake of The Magnificent Seven, this time starring Denzel Washington:
The other trailers for this movie point out that it is directed by the same guy, Antoine Fuqua, who did Training Day and The Equalizer, both top-notch films starring Denzel. The Equalizer is, of course, a remake in its own right of the television series starring Edward Woodward. It's playing on cable now (the movie, that is), and if you haven't seen it, you should check it out. It's quite good.
Anyway, I'm liking the casting of this current remake of the remake of the old Kurosawa classic The Seven Samurai. I don't hate on Chris Pratt like some critics do (I'm looking at you John Nolte), and there's also Ethan Hawke and Vincent D'Onofrio (who I'd really like to see drop a few pounds and come back to Criminal Intent for a season) among others. Some chick named Haley Bennett plays the damsel in this version. She looks vaguely familiar but probably because she bears some resemblance to Jennifer Lawrence.
Like the XXX trailer above, this looks sufficiently action-y and Fuqua has shown a knack to make pretty edgy films, so I think I might definitely try to catch this one in the theaters when it comes out.
On a side note -- there's another version of this trailer set to the old Animals tune House of the Rising Sun. It's pretty awesome. And now that I'm typing this, I wonder if the song's a nod to the original Kurosawa flick. That's pretty meta.