Although 2017 has only just begun, we're already due for our first big action release of the year. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is slated to hit theaters later this week, and the long-awaited sequel will bring Vin Diesel's titular super spy back into action after a decade and a half away from the silver screen. If you ask me, it's a welcome return, and fans of the franchise should be rightfully excited about what's coming. In the words of Mr. Cage: you've just entered the Xander Zone.

That said, the original xXx sometimes gets a bad rap among action movie aficionados that I think is wholly undeserved. After all, between all of Vin Diesel's major franchises (Fast & Furious, xXx, and Riddick), xXx is the lowest rated first installment. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of reasons why xXx is an underrated action flick from the early 2000s. Check out our arguments and let us know what you think of this under-appreciated spy thriller! To kick things off properly, let's get the ball rolling with one of xXx's most obvious strengths.

XXX Vin Diesel

The Action Is Really Fun

Let's get the most obvious thing out of the way right off the bat. xXx is packed to the brim with some pretty stellar action. No, it's not quite as gritty or brutal as the post-Nolan PG-13 action films that came out a few years later, but Rob Cohen nevertheless brought his considerable knack for chaos to this movie and put that skill on full display. The incorporation of extreme sports into intense espionage action is a delightful combination, and the film takes particular care to avoid using the same trick twice. From a badass bridge jump at the beginning of the movie to pulse-pounding and explosive motorcycle chase through the streets of Prague, to the final zip line to stop the Silent Night virus (a scene that tragically killed a stuntman when they shot it), xXx brings non-stop action that's impossible to ignore.

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