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Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

Mr. Diesel? Superstardom is on the phone and wants to know if you’re busy next week.

Unlike Harold, I do not have a near-Pavlovian response to all things that explode all shiny and pretty. Michael Bay movies irritate me. I think Renny Harlin is a spastic twit. Jerry Bruckheimer has indeed created a “whole universe,” and it’s a ridiculous one. The modern action movie in Hollywood depresses me.

What draws me into an action film... and I’m talking about a pure slice of visceral impact, that mood you get into where you want to get the pulse going... is character. I’ll overlook ridiculous plot devices as long as I’m enjoying the characters I’m watching. I don’t ask much, either, before I’ll pledge my troth. I just don’t like being insulted.

When I first saw PITCH BLACK, it was in the screening rooms at USA Films in Beverly Hills. Middle of the afternoon. USA had picked the film up from Interscope, but the word Harry and I kept hearing was that everyone disliked the picture, that it was going to go to video, that no one got it. One publicist who wasn’t even working on the film mentioned to us on the set of THE HOLLOW MAN that he had seen the film and loved it, and he pressed us to see it. “I know I can get them to screen it for you,” he said.

Sitting next to Harry in that screening room, just the two of us watching this thing, having no idea what to expect, I had one of those great movie experiences, where you’re surprised by something and just won over completely. David Twohy’s film isn’t some blindingly original mindbender or some splashy artistic experiment. It’s not a film for the ages. But it’s a smart, tough little thriller with a great hook and a charismatic lead. I kept waiting for the film to derail. There had to be a reason it was languishing on the shelf. There had to be something wrong with it. Right?

It never happened. I never found myself derailed. I had a great time with it. Y’see, I completely bought into Riddick. I like antiheroes. One of my particular film fetishes is the archetypes played by Clint Eastwood in the Sergio Leone films. The total fucking bastard played as the only one you can trust. Toshiro Mifune... same thing. Steve McQueen... the best. I’ll be the first to admit it... my action heroes weren’t Arnie and Sly, with a few notable exceptions. Those guys made their classics, but I never felt they were consistent or even aiming at making great films. They were ‘80s stars. They were product. Their great films came as the result of working with particular artists (James Cameron, John McTiernan, John Avildsen, George Cosmatos) at particular moments (PREDATOR, the TERMINATOR films, TRUE LIES, the original ROCKY, FIRST BLOOD and RAMBO). And the ‘90s... dear god... don’t get me started. Sure, Chow Yun-Fat and Jet Li and Jackie Chan and other Asian stars made inroads into the American mainstream, but how many homegrown action stars were there? Brandon Lee’s death left a distinct hole in the industry. He was poised to be huge, I still believe, and there was no one to step up in his stead.

To me, PITCH BLACK was the promise of something to come. PITCH BLACK was a vehicle to prove Vin Diesel’s viability as an action star. When he guested at the first Butt-Numb-A-Thon, the crowd went wild, having just seen PITCH BLACK without any precursor. It hit them the same way it hit Harry and myself. Vin was great with the crowd, too, staying for almost two hours to pose for photos and hang out in the lobby and chat. He enjoyed the hell out of the evening, as did everyone there, and when we ran into him at the GREEN MILE premiere, it was a blast. He was still looking for his next project at that point, and just talking to him about the sort of things he was looking to do, it was obvious that Vin wanted to be that guy, that next action hero. He saw it clearly.

Now, nearly three years later, here we are. And XXX is exactly the film it needs to be.

That may sound like faint praise, but it’s far from it. In fact, I think it’s a minor miracle that XXX is so much fun. I wasn’t a fan of THE FAST & THE FURIOUS last year. Hell, I didn’t like the film when it was called POINT BREAK, so why would I like a remake?

I haven’t liked any of Rob Cohen’s films, come to think of it. THE SKULLS? DAYLIGHT? DRAGONHEART? Even DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY struck me as a good performance trapped in a weak TV movie. So I wasn’t terribly optimistic that I would feel differently about XXX.

But I do.

Oh, man, do I.

If I was 15 years old, this would be the coolest film I ever saw.

This is a big bag of goofy, and I mean that in a good way. Xander Cage is absolutely absurd from the opening frame of the film. He’s completely cartoonish. He’s the exaggerated market research friendly version of an Extreme Sports legend, a guy who “never sold out,” a guy who pulls exaggerated stunts to stick it to “the man.” The entire set-up for this film made me laugh out loud.

And that’s in large part because it looks like it made Vin Diesel laugh out loud, too.

He’s having a blast in this film. He struts through this movie like he can’t wait to get to whatever’s next. He’s kidnapped... several times actually... and put through a series of field tests by Agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) to determine if Xander’s worth sending into the field on an actual mission for the NSA, and Vin plays all of this material perfectly. He’s not nearly as bright as he thinks he is, and that’s part of the joke. You can’t compare Xander to James Bond (even though the film takes a few jabs at that franchise that are amusing, if obvious), because they approach things totally differently. Xander is all reaction, a hypercaffeinated hopped-up central nervous system with a flexible sense of morals. He’s not a thinking man. He’s brute force and dumb luck and tongue firmly in cheek.

I love spy movies. I really do. I love riffs on the spy movie formula. I just recently picked up both of James Coburn’s FLINT movies on DVD, and they’re so much fun. He’s got his own particular vibe, like some creepy kung-fu fighting praying mantis hipster wannabe, that makes those films work the same way Vin’s smiling musclehead fear junkie makes this film work. There are characters that show up in all of these films, conventions of the genre, and my love of this film is due in large part to the fact that Rich Wilkes seems to know that.

ALIAS has its variation on the Q character that shows up on a regular basis, and so does XXX in the form of Agent Toby Shavers (Michael Roof), who I thoroughly enjoyed as well. It’s an easy joke (he wants to be a stud out in the field the way Xander is), but it’s well-played. Jackson is great in his brief role, his slow burn used to proper effect at every turn. He’s our guide into the world of the movie, the guy who has to explain everything. Yes... Sam’s playing Basil Exposition, basically. And he’s good at it.

And then there’s Asia Argento. Yelena. Oh, man. She’s awesome Eurotrash, all garbage glamour and glower, as scary as she is sexy. She looks bruised, like she just got slapped around before they called “action.”

Oh... right... that reminds me. Action. This is, after all, an action movie.

Hooooooooly sheeeeeit. Someone kidnapped Rob Cohen’s brain and traded him up. This movie’s got at least three “best scenes in the film,” and every single set piece was distinct and entertaining in a different way. They really pay off Vin’s supposed extreme sports background, and although it’s a total “gimmick,” it’s a damn good one. It gives the film a distinct attitude and energy.

Dean Semler is a noted badass, with credits like DANCES WITH WOLVES and THE ROAD WARRIOR establishing him as a cinematographer to be reckoned with, and I’d give him some of the credit for helping Cohen really clean his action up here, and I’m sure editors Paul Rubell (BLADE), Joel Negron (SLEEPY HOLLOW) and Chris Lebenzon (TOP GUN, MIDNIGHT RUN) all played their part, too. Whoever deserves the credit, the alchemy of all these collaborators works well.

So often, people tell me to “turn my brain off” to enjoy a movie, or they talk about “guilty pleasures.” Screw that. It’s like you’re apologizing for liking something. I’m not guilty about digging XXX completely, and I didn’t turn my brain off once. It’s a film that knows full well what it’s doing at every point, and it aims to please in a big way. I surrendered to its charms, and I bet you will, too.

"Moriarty" out.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 9, 2002, 4:21 a.m. CST

    I know this movie is going to be fun,

    by Mumford Jr.

    but I can't help having no real desire to see it. Don't get me wrong, if the chance shows itself, I will more than likely take it. It's just that it doesn't grab me--the trailer or even Moriarity's review. Pitch black's trailer and premise made me want to see that, but this is just a big "eh" to me. Maybe it's my religious upbringing that has me turned off by the XXX. :)

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 4:24 a.m. CST


    by thx777b

    hehehehe Mor, great review man. I liked THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS, i thought it was good fun but i didn't love it and the closest i'll get at owning the film is on a vhs copy from cable. But you made me interested in this one, I understant this is not the DIE HARD or TRUE LIES of the 21st century but your review at least makes it look good enough... can't wait. Oh And Vin if you are reading this i was one of your greatest fans since THE IRON GIANT days and i also loved PITCH BLACK and can't wait for the sequels... And VIn make a "serious" film in between so you don't lose your acting mussle because i know you are just more than an action star... I can see it... DRUGSTORE COWBOY anyone?

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 4:26 a.m. CST

    Just saw the other opening flick...

    by Rei_K

    ... Bloodwork sucks. Time to rent his old stuff, or watch XXX I guess. Am I the first post?

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 4:46 a.m. CST


    by drew mcweeny

    Vin's not a "pal" of mine. I've met him twice, on the two occasions I mentioned. But I am a fan of his. I think he's doing it right so far, and that this film is the perfect next step in his inevitable march to world domination. Accept it. Vin will own you.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 4:58 a.m. CST

    I have to admit AICN has been making alot of bad calls lately (R

    by chuckrussel

    'nuff said!

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 5:11 a.m. CST

    The trailer looks like Hollywood shit

    by CuervoJones

    And Vin Diesel looks like a porn star more than a tough guy

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 5:14 a.m. CST

    There is no comparation betweeen James The Man Coburn and Vin St

    by VincentSpain

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 5:16 a.m. CST

    He's what we need!

    by SilentType

    I reckon Vin is the man. How can anyone deny that Vin is the new Arnie?!? Finally, my mates like 'Maggot96' will be able to take their kid brothers to some decent action flicks starring a charismatic and cool lead. I remember watching Predator and The Running Man as a ten year old for the first time, looking up at my big cousin and smiling at him for introducing me to this amazing world of action. My Dad would rent Conan the Destroyer for me and leave me to watch it at least once a day on school vacation. The closest we've had to an action star in the 90/00's has been Nic Cage in 'action' mode. Some people would say that Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is just as good, but I disagree. He is always playing The Rock. What else is he gonna do? Romantic Comedy? Seriously, do you think The Rock could've played Carpazzo in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN? No way. Vin proved in that film that he could act, and he will get the opportunity again. Vin is the saviour of millions of geeks-in-the-making. Maggot96, your little brother will be just the right age for the xXx sequel, and we can introduce him to Vin Diesel just as we introduced him to Attack of the Clones earlier this year! Vin, you rock!

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 6:06 a.m. CST

    Is this the same Moriarty who saw the light after LOTR and swore

    by Darth Phallus

    Trust me this movie will be in the discount bin next to Dennis Rodman&#39;s shiteflix. Moriarty are you serious "I didn&#39;t turn off my brain once." How about during the groaner, "Th&#39; things I&#39;m gonna do fo&#39; my country..." Was your brain being stimulated then? Granted, I&#39;ve only seen the trailers but the plot to this movie is so completely ludicrous and implausible that it turns me off right away. This just seems a mess of force-fed mtv marketing and demographics, fanbases and soundtrax rolled into one big "Shit Sandwich" (<---to quote Spinal Tap, a REAL movie!)

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 6:38 a.m. CST

    by simon72

    that&#39;s the first time I&#39;ve heard George Cosmatos referred to as an "artist"...

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 7:04 a.m. CST


    by SilentType

    What the hell are you talking about? :)

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 7:25 a.m. CST

    NO! NO! NO! - diesel has no charisma WHATSOEVER!!!!!!

    by mansep

    this is really depressing. have things gotten so bad that people think a vain, talentless lump is the best thing since eastwood and mcqueen!

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 7:28 a.m. CST

    Darth Phallus is right

    by t-squared

    I&#39;ll say it one more time: You can&#39;t have your cake and eat it too kids. Hollywood won&#39;t stop making shit movies if you complain about them yet still embrace their talentless stars. Vin IS a muscled hunk, but he has no idea what it takes to truly act. I guess he knows that since he&#39;s not trying to do meaningul roles, but i digress. VIN is not and will never be the next Schwarzenegger. Arnold has a superior physique and has so much more depth than Diesel could ever hope for. Arnold has done his share of crap, but he&#39;s done some great movies (Terminator series, Twins, True Lies, Kindergarten Cop). Theses movies aren&#39;t Sophie&#39;s Choice by any means, but they&#39;re a lot better than Fast and the Furious and Pitch Black.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 7:34 a.m. CST

    Never said Arnie wasn&#39;t good

    by SilentType

    All I said was, that in a long list of wannabes, Vin is the only one to deserve a shot at today&#39;s action-king crown. He will grow as an actor. Who would&#39;ve thought Arnie would make TWINS after seeing him in Hercules In NY, Conan The Barbarian or even The Terminator? There&#39;s just something &#39;cool&#39; about Vin, and I hope that he does have some range. We just haven&#39;t seen it yet. Sue me. I like the guy.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 7:51 a.m. CST


    by Unsafe_breadbin

    Hmm. Well a lot of good reviews and it does look vaguely amusing - I may go and see it if there&#39;s nothing much else on that day. But Vin Diesel as a major star of the future? I can&#39;t see it. He did a reasonable job in Pitch Black, and a not bad one in Saving Private Ryan, but you could have stuck any number of current b-list stars into those roles and got away with it really. It didn&#39;t depend on him. And as for a franchise - well by xXx3 or 4 I suspect everyone will be thoroughly sick of the plotless big booms and mindess "extreme" action (and an "extreme" spy? I mean what kind of a moronic premise is that? A spy needs to be cool, calculating, clever, charming and convincing - not some loony on a skateboard who&#39;ll jump straight in with a hand grenade in his mouth). Bond is the Bond for this generation, the last generation and no doubt the next too - this is just a photocopy. decent maybe, but no original. Just big bangs will never beat a decent plot, some intelligent dialogue and a bit of suave charm. I&#39;ll lay good odds right now that in 10 years time they won&#39;t be looking to recruit a new star to take over from Diesel a la Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and eventually Brosnan (Colin Farrell anyone?). Just summer movie fodder and nothing more - it&#39;s beyond me why everyone&#39;s going so crazy over it!

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 8:43 a.m. CST

    xXx is going to be awesome!

    by TheForeverMan

    I don&#39;t care if its about extreme sports (which I don&#39;t really like), but the premise is cool. It&#39;s not bashing James Bond, it&#39;s playing with the idea. We need a real testosterone boost at the movies this year. Blade 2 was supposed to be that, but it somehow turned out weak. Like I said in an earlier post, I wanna see Vin blow stuff up, punch people out, dodge bullets and look cool. Yeah, this film&#39;s gonna rock. But I&#39;ll be the first to admit that a lot of people won&#39;t like it for all the reasons I expect that I will like it.

  • ...and yes. it`s always satisfying if someone says it. who -as jerry bruckheimer is doing- makes war propaganda documentaries for george "darth" bush should be banned from all filmmakersl...

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 9:20 a.m. CST

    not understanding

    by BurlIvesLeftNut

    Moriarty, great review. First, though, Dragon: the Bruce Lee Story had some fucking AWESOME, well directed fights and action. So it comes as NO surprise to me that Cohen is finally getting the credit he deserves. Secondly, quit fucking dissing Point Break. That movie was 100% pure adrenalin. hehe.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 9:34 a.m. CST


    by WeedyMcSmokey

    Hey, I agree (bet you don&#39;t hear that much) - there&#39;s nothing like a hard R action flick replete with visceral beheadings, exploding limbs and all that- but on the other hand, as a young buck, I couldn&#39;t get in to a lot of the great action pieces of the 80s, then Terminator 2 came around by my 14th birthday, and I could. So, my point is, a good action flick isn&#39;t the sole-property of R rated pictures, one can be made that has a PG-13 (or hear in Canada we have AA - Adult Accompaniment, sounds worse, but a lot of films rated R is the US only get this rating here - 14 or older can get in). So, what&#39;s my point? I&#39;ll probably see this, hoping for a charasmatic lead and tongue in cheek adventure - the last good PG-13 (if it wasn&#39;t it should have been) action flick was True Lies, and had both of those qualities in spades. Also, do you think that when we use the phrase "charisma" when talking about leading men, we are secretly expressing a universally latent homosexual desire? Christ I hope not (not that there&#39;s anything....yeah, we all saw that episode)

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 10:02 a.m. CST

    In keeping with the AICN tradition of only using the first lette

    by WeedyMcSmokey

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 10:15 a.m. CST


    by Harrys Man Boobs

    If I were Vince McMahon, I would sue over the logo, which always makes me think of the XFL logo. Actually, if I were Vince McMahon, I would be too busy banging Tori and Stacy Keibler to worry about anything else.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 10:44 a.m. CST

    It&#39;s been said before, but . . .

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    Moriarty is the only consistently good reviewer on this site. Say what you will about his taste, but his writing is clear and entertaining. All other reviewers occasionally manage clear OR entertaining, but rarely both. That being said, he has convinced me to go see xXx. Mainly because it&#39;s the first review on this site that hasn&#39;t expressed a desire to give The Vin a rim job. I am Mori&#39;s little sister, by the way.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 10:55 a.m. CST

    New Theory...

    by Christopher3

    Harry Knowles is Vin Diesel in a fatsuit. Without this site&#39;s hyping of "Pitch Black" and now "XXX," Vin, despite being cool-looking, would be doing those 2 am Cinemax flicks that they actually show in theaters overseas because Rebecca DeMornay or William Hurt or Daryl Hannah or somebody can topline.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 11 a.m. CST

    I saw XXX at a screening

    by LordZanthos

    and it was absolutely great, action fueled fun! Really a cool, kick ass film. Vin does have that elusive thing known as "star-power" wherein you like the guy, and the characters he&#39;s played are ones you can see/imagine him being and Xander Cage is one such character. Full tilt action movies (ala Predator, Terminator 3, Die Hard) are an extreme rarity these days, and Vin Diesel is the only one who can really pull of that sort of stuff now. Don&#39;t get all pissy and starty chanting Jet Li, Jackie Chan, etc. at me either... they make action films, but of a different type. Vin deserves the success he&#39;ll get from this film, and indeed should inherit the action god throne. He is an incredibly nice guy (judging by reports and interviews), and Iwill see his movies. Anyone who doesn&#39;t like him and doesn&#39;t agree.... suck it you bizaches, you&#39;re missing out on a lot of fun, and I feel sorry for your listless boring lives. Vin Rules. XXX rules. Go see it.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 11:35 a.m. CST

    So the general concensus around here is that this movie is like

    by Sod Off Baldric

    The more I hear about this movie the more I want to see it. I just can&#39;t explain my desire to see this film. It looks sooooo stupid, but yet every time I watch the trailer and I see Vinster go leaping over that barbed-wire fence on his little motocross crotch rocket I just can&#39;t help but crack a smile. When Vin delivers the line "I wish I had a video camera...&#39;cause this is gonna be one Hell of a trick!" by all rights I should be wincing in agony...but I&#39;m not, God dammit! I&#39;m chuckling slightly to myself while thinking "Actually, that IS pretty cool." I still refuse to see it on opening night. Don&#39;t feel like sitting in a darkened theater with a gaggle of teeny-boppers who couldn&#39;t get tickets to the Limp Bizkit concert that night. I&#39;ll either wait until next weekend and hit a matinee on Sunday, or just hold off until it show up at the local budget cinema. Oh, and for the record I never saw Fast and the Furious (I watched it when it was first released under the title Point Break), but I LOVED Pitch Black...and I don&#39;t care what any bitter fanboy has to say about it. Later!

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 12:21 p.m. CST


    by Voice O. Reason

    Damn, exactly what did that dude say that pissed everybody off? By the time I read his post, I was expecting him to be making jokes about throwing aborted fetuses at nuns or something! All the dude was saying was that Vin will be remembered most for those movies, since they&#39;re the one&#39;s that people talk about the most, and that its hard to make a good "PG-13" action film.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 12:23 p.m. CST

    AICN&#39;s Conflict of Interest

    by Lazarus Long

    I never accuse Harry or Moriarty of writing a good review of a bad film for anything but terrible judgement, but I think this time it&#39;s gone too far. Shade made a point in the above post about these guys being responsible for encouraging this kind of dumbing down, and he&#39;s right. Especially when Moriarty writes his State of the Industry address after LOTR and acts like he won&#39;t accept less ever again. What bugs me is that all three AICN reviewers (Harry, Moriarty, and Massawyrrm) have met/hung out with Vin Diesel at one time or another. And he was cool to them the next time they saw him. No one is saying that he&#39;s not a nice guy or isn&#39;t humble or hasn&#39;t worked hard for where he&#39;s at right now. We&#39;re just saying he sucks. Why bother comparing him to Arnold, who is a piece of meat himself. And aside from the first Rocky, Stallone&#39;s career has been a joke as well. These guys are ALL meatheads. Action heroes of the past didn&#39;t need to be bodybuilders. Why is (was) Harrison Ford so popular? Because he did it with fucking style. These guys should all have been stuntmen because I don&#39;t give a shit what comes out of their mouths. They are NOT actors (but I&#39;ll give Stallone props for Copland). I think it&#39;s sad that the AICN crew is watching this with their fingers crossed for the guy they met and liked. They WANT him to hit it big because they think he deserves it. FUCK THAT. XXX is still bullshit summer crap, and if you thought MI:2 was a disappointment it appears we&#39;re going even further down that road. And Vin&#39;s no Tom Cruise either. Don&#39;t expect his Hanibal to be a Born on the Fourth of July performance. I say Shame on You AICN, for nearly commanding us to see this Product, and for encouraging the studios to keep churning out this feces, even if someone you met at a geek convention is climbing up the pile to reach success.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Hold It Right There, Shade

    by Anton_Sirius

    Don&#39;t be dissing Joe Pantoliano. No charm? Are you kidding me? What does that phrase mean to you exactly, that he&#39;s not Carey Grant? Go watch Bound again- the man was *brilliant*, and charming in that creepy-sadistic-bastard way, and in a perfect world where Oscars were actually given out for good work he might have one on his mantle.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Bin Dweezil

    by Eugene O

    There is something about Vin Diesel that is just a little too feminine. I can&#39;t explain;s like he probably wears eye shadow on his days off. Dunno. He irritates me. Although his voice was perfect for THE IRON GIANT.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 1:01 p.m. CST

    No No No

    by Pedro's Safari

    xXx is just another bang up shoot&#39;m up smartass lines, and over sexed movies. Looks like a bad movie. And I like Vin. -Pedro Out

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Vin Diesel is the Jean-Claude VanDamme of the 21st Century!

    by UTellEmSteveDave

    And that ain&#39;t a good thing. But it had to be said. Plain and simple.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 1:23 p.m. CST

    I can buy the fact..

    by capjamestkirk

    ..that our boy Moriarty was impressed by a brainless "k3wl" eXt32m3 sp0rtz action movie where all the spy work and espionage of the film is done with a rocket launcher. But..Vin Diesel compared to Toshiro Mifune? Honestly now. The shame of it. Now I realize you&#39;re comparing the similar characters they play, and not the performances or quality of the actors themselves, stands. Now Vin may be a very cool guy and all, but the fact of the matter is that he comes off as a badly-inflated lunkhead on screen, and his presence does not even come close to touching the "man&#39;s man" action hero personas of Arnold, Steve McQueen, Toshiro Mifune, Clint Eastwood, Errol Flynn, Sean Connery or even Roy Scheider (The Seven Ups!) , whose films XXX seems to be trying to emulate. Vin Diesel is about as bland and character-less as they come. I prefer female action heroes anyway.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Even my real life story would seem great if Vin Diesel played my

    by John_Howlett_Jr

    "He was an ordinary tall, scrawny geek, flipping patties at Burger King, when one day a team of international terrorists took over the restaurant and held his french-Canadian girlfriend hostage. Vin Diesel is JOHN HOWLETT JR. One man, one train of thought. Summer 2003."

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Vin&#39;s next projects?

    by BloodDonorMan

    I saw him on The Daily Show the other day and he said that he was going to do a trilogy with the character he played in Pitch Black and then he would do Hannibal the Conquerer. Anyone else hear anything about this? By the way, he seemed like a really nice guy-absoulutely no sign of arrogance or assholeness.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 2:42 p.m. CST


    by Uga

    Why does every reviewer on this site have to spend meaningless paragraphs going on and on about the "private screening on the studio lot," set visits and name-dropping crap? I was part of the junket press for a few years, and where I happened to see a film and which stars I met never entered into whether I liked a film or not. The readers just don&#39;t care, and it makes the writer come off as a prick.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 2:47 p.m. CST

    1 1/2 Stars from Mike Clark in USA Today

    by Charles Grady

    Does USA Today&#39;s Mike Clark EVER enjoy an action movie? No matter how highly regarded a particular action or horror film is by other critics, you can guarantee Clark will go no higher than 2 1/2 stars. Which is a shame, because aside from this anti-genre prejudice, Clark is probably the best mainstream print critic in the country. Strange that he NEVER gets mentioned here, since people are constantly referencing Ebert, but seem oblivious to Clark, who, in case you don&#39;t know, is responsible for what seems like the majority of the reviews in Leonard Maltin&#39;s book for the last decade. A great misconception around here is that Maltin writes that book himself, when in fact he EDITS it, and most reviews are from other critics. And for years now, most of them are USA Today&#39;s Mike Clark....That said, about XXX - Anyone else in Los Angeles DREADING the audiences for this thing??? The crowd is going to be all Armenian/Filipino/Latino gangsta wannabes who will talk over every second of the film.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Whats wrong with these reviewers??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Retrace

    Just when I think I find a reviewer on here that I can trust - he goes off and praises some piece of mindless shit. These fuckin reviewers are all over the place. No one is consistant. Is there a reviewer on here who isn&#39;t getting feltched by a movie exec or actor?

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 2:52 p.m. CST

    I can almost always count on a Mori review to tell me how I&#39;

    by empyreal0

    Not always, but most of the time. And I have a feeling I&#39;m gonna like this movie. Mori, I hear ya about "turning your brain off". Frankly, I wish I had turned my brain off during Signs, because the plot holes and just-so devices used to move the plot forward ruined what was otherwise an excellent character movie. (Come on, the aliens all disappear over-night because we figured out that water hurts em, which by the way is stupid because human beings are 3/4 made of water, so harvesting is ridiculous, and we live on a planet which is covered with it, with an atmosphere thick with it, so invasion was stupid.) That movie died in the details, and it only once got engaging enough to make me forget I&#39;m just watching a movie. See, XXX looks like the kind of movie which in entertaining enough that I don&#39;t have to shut my brain off, and I&#39;ll hopefully just forget that I&#39;m even watching a film. The mark of a good piece of entertainment is one that pulls you in, makes you forget about the world outside for a while, and leaves you moved emotionally in some sense at the end. XXX might just do that with pure adrenaline alone.

  • Unfortunately, the above quote should be the motto for this site. How else to explain the attention that this site lavishes on crappy movies made for and marketed to elementary school students?

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Retrace, did you see the movie, or do you just like bitching a w

    by Lenny Nero

    It might be good. Don&#39;t forget that. Don&#39;t forget that previews are not the movies. You are not Moriarty. He liked the movie. This is his opinion. Just chill the hell out.

  • sorry officer Lenny. I&#39;ll be more careful next time. Don&#39;t put me in talkback jail. I did see it today at noon. And it was mulatto james bond only instead of being for 16 year old boys - it was for 12 year old boys. Go f yourself.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 5:47 p.m. CST

    This movie was awesome!

    by screenplaywriter

    This movie ruled, alot of things were in my opinion a whole lot better than any Bond film and a whole lot better than the past Arnold films, or any other action star. The bad guy was kind of lame, but oh well...he got it in the end and Asia Argento is a HOTTIE! However, the rock music that blares in almost every scene gets annoying and constant, but oh well...Still it adds up being a 3 star movie.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 6:12 p.m. CST

    i&#39;m back.

    by a goonie

    not that everyone knows me, or will instantly recognize my name, but i am a regular talkbacker who took a two month vacation where i managed to check out AICN as often as possible, but having hardly any time at all to do talkback. so here i am again, eager to share my opinions with you all again. unfortunately, i haven&#39;t seen XXX yet. the travelling meant having a tough time keeping up with my summer blockbuster watching. but what i wanted to say is that i have an increasingly growing hatred for a good chunk of today&#39;s action movies. i grew up as a very young, very impressionable child in the 80s. that was the decade that the really stupid, though really fun, brainless action pictures started crowding the multiplex. i used to like them, and i can still enjoy a few here and there, but i also take my movie reviewing a lot more serious now than i did when i was seven. this year, we have been given a handful of really disappointing action movies. namely, Collateral Damage, Blade 2, Attack of the Clones, and K-19: The Widowmaker. now some of those were absolutely DREADFUL motion pictures. Blade 2, however, was just really stupid and poorly paced and overly ridiculous in an annoying way. the thing for me is, like Mori, i need the characters. one of the most important aspects of any film is that you care about the characters. i didn&#39;t care about shit in any of the aforementioned films. but oh boy, did i care for Peter and co. in Spider-Man. Spidey is simply one of the best action blockbusters ever made. it&#39;s a great movie. and Men In Black II i also truly enjoyed. why? because i cared about the characters. there was a gentleness at play in that movie that was truly touching. and the CGI really worked for me. which is really REALLY rare. so what&#39;s my point? this year, we&#39;ve seen some of the worst and some of the best the genre has to offer. where will XXX end up? i&#39;ll have to wait and see.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 6:19 p.m. CST

    I can&#39;t understand how XXX will be a huge hit.

    by JohnnyTremaine

    Does anyone here have friends or family members that have expressed an eager anticipation to see this movie, the same way they did for, say, "Spider-Man"? Not me. I&#39;ve read reviews in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times which tear this movie apart, but which include caveats from the critics that XXX will probably make a pile of dough. I still don&#39;t get it. I wouldn&#39;t be surprised if it opens at #2 or #3 after Austin Powers 3.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 6:55 p.m. CST

    I boned Vin when he was still Mark Vincent

    by PrestoChango

    Everyone&#39;s making such a big deal about him before he&#39;s even REALLY proven himself. I think we&#39;re witnessing a oncoming case of Gretchen Mol syndrome

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 8:11 p.m. CST

    Guzman, congrats on whipping that straw man

    by Kieran

    Aren&#39;t you special? You&#39;ve listened to the Fast&Furious commentry. Well done. For the record, precisely *no one* here was trying to bust Cohen over Furious being a Point Break remake -- As you so rightly said, everyone knows that. There were no sly jokes in Moriarty&#39;s review or in any of the comments below. It was simply taken as a given and mentioned. Just because people have said stupid things to Cohem about it in the past, that doesn&#39;t mean you have the right to imagine people are saying similar things here. Paranoia is not helathy, seek treatment. Oh and P.S. Moriarty also didn&#39;t say that he liked Point Break. Just the opposite.

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 8:11 p.m. CST (Sorry if someone already mentioned this)

    by 16candles

    Vin Diesel, who has been receiving an extraordinary amount of media attention in advance of today&#39;s (Friday) opening of XXX, in which he stars (see below), has told a Canadian newspaper that he turned down more than $20 million to appear a sequel to The Fast and the Furious. "I don&#39;t like to be bought," Diesel told the Toronto Sun. "I have real issues with stuff like that." Diesel said he was determined "to do the right kind of work" and decided to reject the $20-million deal that would also have given him "back end" participation that "would have gone through the roof." He added: "The reality is that I have enough money. I&#39;m not really worried about the money. But my artistic integrity is important."

  • Aug. 9, 2002, 11:56 p.m. CST

    What the hell is this?

    by Osgood Sigerson

    Moriarty, our last, best hope for a negative review of this tripe, has succumbed to the "charisma" of Vin Diesel. All intelligence this site had has gone out the window. It&#39;s a brainless action movie. Get over it. I&#39;m just waiting for these guys to wake up. Especially Moriarty. You&#39;re smarter than this. I mean, come on! This represents a new low for this site. I&#39;m sad now. I think perhaps I shall drink copious amounts of alcohol until my sight is impaired and the pain of this mortal blow to geekdom subsides. Ow.

  • Aug. 10, 2002, 2:06 a.m. CST

    xXx SUCKED!

    by JohnBigbooty

    I saw it and it sucked. The movie was cheeky as an excuse to not even try. The editing was extremely poor and disrupted all the "cool" stunts... these are the coolest stunts you NEVER get to see... anyway... don&#39;t know why anyone would care to review this one at all... and why the film makers would try to make a PG-13 Bond movie for the y-gen is beyond me. The movie sucked and save your money.

  • Aug. 10, 2002, 6:16 a.m. CST

    Ever been punched in the face for talking too much?

    by RainJacket

    If this movie is anything like "The Fast and the Furious," then I know how I will feel like when I come out of "XXX," or "xXx" or "Triple X" or whatever the hell they&#39;re calling it... that feeling? Pure boiling rage and unadulterated hatred toward fellow man. I came out of that race-car specticle wanting to find the nearest "ricer," rip off his upside down, backwards tennis visor and bust his head in. I guess I won&#39;t be able to find any extreme-athlete-turned-super-spies who perform death-defying feats for a website to bust on when I come out of "Triple xXx," but whatever. I guess another ricer will have to do.

  • Aug. 10, 2002, 11:52 a.m. CST

    XXX Rants & Raves And How I&#39;ll Get Banned From Doing This A

    by saboteur

    I&#39;ve never contributed to talk back before and I&#39;ve never really thought that my opinion mattered anyway like 98% of the people&#39;s opinions here but I must warn the masses about this movie. This is a James Bond movie. This isn&#39;t even one of the good ones. It&#39;s like the worst of the Roger Moore&#39;s. This movie has taken a character who in the beginning is the exact opposite of Bond. Someone who believes in nothing except to cause chaos. By the end though he becomes James Bond. Even the story is a generic Bond story. Spy goes undercover, infiltrates evil organization, evil organization discovers undercover agent&#39;s identity, agent is held hostage, agent escapes, and agent saves the world. This is nearly every James Bond movie plus a few. The only thing that seperates this from other movies is the number of stunts and explosions but does that really make a movie? Does it really make it "cool?" And what about this Vin Diesel cat? Before going into this movie I think I had seen one of his movies before and he didn&#39;t leave much of an impression on me. I had heard that he had charisma and that he could act. After seeing this movie I now know that I have been misinformed. I thought that through most of this movie he showed about as much emotion as Steven Segal. You would think that someone who supposedly has such a love and appreciation for film would not like this movie at all. You would think that he would tear this movie apart. He would say that it was a cheap knockoff of a hundred other movies. Once again he gives a really bad movie and really good review. From now on I&#39;m avoiding all of the movies you give good reviews for. Have you sold out? Your reviews are showing up in ads for movies now, and you&#39;re selling your book now which I&#39;m informed that to the left of this space that I&#39;m typing in right now is 30% if I order it right now. You&#39;ve become just another critic, and not even a good one a that. So what are you really, Harry? Are you a film lover or a movie lover? Ain&#39;t it cool this is not.

  • Aug. 10, 2002, 12:55 p.m. CST

    I walked out of Pitch Black

    by Portnoy

    Pitch Black was the first movie I ever walked out on. It was goddawful. There were so many reality problems and coincidences that it became a wannabe Predator or Aliens. Pitch Black I&#39;m sure would have been great for anyone who can spend a full two hours not thinking at all.

  • Aug. 10, 2002, 5:07 p.m. CST


    by screenplaywriter

    This movie kicked ass. It didn&#39;t waste a minute on the action and it made the spy business look like it was fun and not so formal and James Bondish (even though James Bond will remain the king of all spy movies). The plot was good, the bad guy was lame, but oh well...most diabolical villians are, Asia Argento is a HOTTIE, and Vin was alright as "XXX", but the few disappointments were the hardrock music blasting in your ears almost every scene and the fact that Samuel was just an M for Vin and not kicking ass like he usually does. Oh well...still a good movie that excells at being named "Better than a Bond movie" and cooler than some of the other action-flicks.

  • Aug. 10, 2002, 10:40 p.m. CST

    Plants and studio publicists

    by FimbulWinter

    I think it&#39;s still hilarious as hell that studios, executives and publicists still feel it necessary to pimp their terrible marketing platforms (not films) in these forums. That LordZanthos post above is a perfect example. They are so transparent and dumb that it&#39;s not even funny. I know this will be like the 50th movie to break a box office record this yeat so it will be a big success and all.....just keep telling yourselves that while you hope to God that it sells on DVD. What passes for "action adventure" these days is just a freakin shame. Christ - even SpiderMan couldn&#39;t be made without stopping the film for a 30 second Cingular Wireless ad during the Times Square scene. Buy your tickets and then ask yourselves why this is all we see anymore....... Just because there aren&#39;t any good movies of this kind made anymore with any attempt to be anything but a vulgar shot at a demographic group doesn&#39;t mean you have to heap praise on crap that looks like something you like but smells like something you don&#39;t.

  • Aug. 11, 2002, 2:23 a.m. CST

    O.K., Lazarus Long and Shade, I have a question for you two.

    by Noriko Takaya

    What EXACTLY is it that was so bad about this movie? Seriously! I just got out of it a few hours ago and I&#39;m gonna go see it again tomorrow. Why? Because it FUCKING ROCKED, that&#39;s why!! Really, what was wrong with it? I could find no flaw. The acting was great, the script was smart, Vin was perfect in his role (he was NOT "marble-mouthed"), the SFX were top-drawer and the soundtrack (both symphonic and otherwise) kicked. No, it wasn&#39;t revolutionary or new. It was simply the best James Bond flick I&#39;ve seen in *years,* only without Bond. It was WAY friggin&#39; better then "The World Is Not Enough" (shite) and even better then "Tomorrow Never Dies" (rocked). Easily a match for Goldeneye, my fave Bond flick. Way better then ANY FUCKIN&#39; THING with Rodger Moore (yuck)!! And we won&#39;t even mention such raw sewage as MI:2. So what was wrong?? I got the same crap about loving AOTC, and I thought that kicked seven levels of ass! Maybe I need to rent more Kurosawa or something. Toppu o Nerae!

  • Aug. 11, 2002, 10:58 a.m. CST

    This sucked

    by rcinvb

    Um. This has got to be right up there with Driven as the worst action movie ever!

  • Aug. 11, 2002, 1:37 p.m. CST


    by SonnyKoufax

    Come on;s a popcorn action flick!!! It was never being presented as a work of art. I liked it. And eventhough it had some flaws, it was exactly what it was meant to be... a summer action flick. Most of the people who post here are so full of themselves and they have no intentions of liking the movies they see. They just want to come here and rip them apart so that they seem smart and important.

  • Aug. 11, 2002, 7:03 p.m. CST

    XXX - $46.0 million at weekend box office

    by Ernie_is_evil

    Hardly that great. XXX will be lucky if it passes the 100 million mark considering the bad word of mouth, maybe the the start of a franchise isn&#39;t in the offing afterall. Vin is probably wishing he took that F&F2 cheque right about now.

  • Aug. 12, 2002, 12:12 a.m. CST

    I really felt bored during the movie.

    by Arcaneman

    I usually can&#39;t say that about action movies, because...there&#39;s usually a lot of action. But the stuff in this movie was boring. I looked around to see what else was going on in the theatre. I went with two friends and they thought it was okay. But I hated it. Vin Diesel can still be a great action star. But it won&#39;t be because of movies like Triple X, which was really, reall BORING.

  • Aug. 12, 2002, 12:35 a.m. CST


    by EliCash

    His reviews are entertaining but I don&#39;t always agree with them. The Majestic anyone?

  • Aug. 12, 2002, 7:16 a.m. CST

    Vin charisma?

    by tav

    I think he does have charisma and it&#39;s in the voice. Fettastic, I don&#39;t think Vin has a monotone voice--- *********spoiler********* after the first test when Vin says, "That stockbroker over there is reading the newspaper on Sunday, but oKAaaaay I can go with that" there was such warmth in his voice that I was charmed. ****end spoiler*** I would put him in the same catagory as Arnold, not necessarily Clint Eastwood or Sean Connery-- all of whom have great distinctive voices. As for Harrison Ford, his voice was great in the Star Wars trilogy because there was a lot of inflection, but in his later films I think he got too monotone. A good voice adds a lot to charisma and in my opinion Vin has it. On a different topic, the comparisons to James Bond are off in one crucial respect. In this film, Asia was more of a partner or main character than the female roles in the Bond films. XXX wasn&#39;t classically great, but it was good and I felt a lot of sincerity between the main characters. I&#39;m not a big James Bond fan at all because (as a girl) I find it really hard to identify with the character. I can understand why he is so popular and loved as a cinematic icon, but for me the character doesn&#39;t hit a nerve. Although I love guy movies like Platoon (which f**king rules) and The Dirty Dozen, stuff like that, so it&#39;s not just that James Bond is a guy... anyway, this is a good summer movie and I agree with Mori&#39;s review EXCEPT when he dissed Sly as getting lucky for working with director Avildsen on Rocky... I mean, Sly wrote Rocky and I really like that film so... yeah, he got a good director, but he wasn&#39;t just "product" in the process. He had a lot of heart in that film. I hope ol&#39; VD makes more action films, too. :)