xxx The return of Xander Cage

Vin Diesel is an action hero known for distinctive and iconic characters. Over the course of his career, he has established himself with badasses like Dom Toretto, Riddick and Groot, but he's not finished carving out his silver screen legacy just yet. As the title of the film pretty much suggests, xXx: The Return of Xander Cage has allowed him to once again embrace one of his most iconic characters by bringing the extreme sports aficionado/super spy back to the silver screen. What compelled Diesel to bring Xander Cage back after a 15-year absence? According to the actor at a recent xXx press conference in Los Angeles, there were many reasons, but the primary focus was to portray a more lighthearted character. Diesel explained:

I needed to do xXx for myself because I needed to play a character where I could laugh again and smile again and really really enjoy myself.

If you look back at the recent performances on Vin Diesel's resume, you will notice quite a few brooding characters. Xander Cage is a distinct departure from guys like Riddick and Dom Toretto because he's more fun-loving and far more willing to crack a joke in the face of danger. Cage is a stark deviation from the typical Vin Diesel archetype, so xXx represented a unique opportunity to mix things up and try something new and refreshing for the actor. It had to be refreshing for him to actually smile on camera for once.

Of course, it's not all about Vin Diesel. The actor went on to admit that the opportunity to assemble a diverse and "global" ensemble for the third xXx film was simply too good of an opportunity to pass up as well. The actor said:

I also felt like it was time to introduce to the world a global cast in the way that we have introduced the world to a global cast. There's something so cool about the idea of going into other film markets and recruiting their celebrated heroes and incorporating them into this franchise.

He's not wrong in his assessment. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is somewhat unprecedented regarding its global nature. In addition to the American Vin Diesel, the film has tapped performers like Australia's Ruby Rose, Thailand's Tony Jaa, China's Donnie Yen and India's Deepika Padukone. It's already a proven fact that diversity helps improve the global appeal of the modern blockbuster, and xXx 3 is the embodiment of that idea.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Diesel pointed out the fact that he wanted to make a movie that would create a palpable sense of fun for audiences. He explained:

In addition to that, I don't think people have been having that much fun in movies. On the way over here my son Vincent was saying how much he loves xXx and his sentiment was 'it's just fun, dad.'

The action genre has more or less become defined by grim spectacle over the course of the last decade, and the core purpose of the xXx franchise is to defy that very idea. It's not just about creating a fun hero; it's also about creating a fun movie around that hero. That said, those darker action movies have done great business at the box office in recent years, so we will have to wait and see whether or not xXx 3 resonates with audiences.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage is currently in theaters.

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