xXx: Return Of Xander Cage – 4K UHD Review

xXx: Return Of Xander Cage or as it’s known as xXx: Reactivated in some countries is a 2017 American action film that was directed by DJ Caruso and was written F. Scott Frazier. The film features stars like Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette and Samuel L. Jackson and is the third installment of the xXx franchise and serves as a direct sequel to the 2002 film xXx and 2005 film xXx: State Of The Union.

The film starts off after four skilled people had infiltrated a highly guarded CIA office in New York City and stealing a Pandora’s Box device that is capable of hijacking and controlling satellites to crash into specific locations as warheads. CIA Agent Jane Marke tracks down the former xXx operative Xander Cage, who had been living in self-imposed exile in the Dominican Republic and convinces him to return to active duty and retrieve the device.

Originally, Jet Li was brought on board to star as the films main antagonist, Xiang. However on February 12, 2016 news came out that he dropped out and was eventually replaced with Donnie Yen. Unlike the previous films, which were distributed by Columbia Pictures, this release was made available by Paramount Pictures on January 20, 2017 in 2D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D. This also marks the first film to be produced by Revolution Studios in ten years since the 2007 film The Water Horse: Legend Of The Deep. xXx: Return Of Xander Cage received mixed reviews from film critics and ended up grossing over $346 million worldwide against its $85 million production budget, making it the eighth highest-grossing film of 2017 and the highest-grossing film from the Revolution Studios franchise.

The Film Itself (5/5):

xXx: Return Of Xander Cage is a film that you have to go in with absolutely no expectations whatsoever.  Films like this are loaded with on the edge of your seat action and excitement and if you’re not paying attention throughout the film, you can easily get lost in the story line.  That said, this new release to the franchise did an absolutely fantastic job at falling right in line with the two earlier films and it kind of brought things full circle overall.  The story that we are given is one that myself and my wife both found to be interesting and very well maintained throughout and we had absolutely no issues with the movie itself.

Picture Quality (4/5):

The visual presentation that xXx: Return Of Xander Cage was absolutely stunning.  Allowing for a crystal clear look into this governmental agency and all of the off-the-wall action their most notorious agents go through allowed for an all out immersive experience.  Experiencing what seemed to be absolutely no distortion in the picture quality at all, I thoroughly enjoyed the visual experience that was provided.  I only have one small complaint with this release and is with the CGI effects.  Granted, 4K is still a considerably new technology, there were definitely some spots where the CGI was obvious.  The use of HDR with this release was fascinating in that it offered an extreme boost to the color palette and allowed for everything that was unfolding to feel that much more real.

Audio Quality (5/5):

Packaged with a Dolby Atmos audio track, xXx: Return Of Xander Cage offers an all out immersive experience for those who have the ability to make use of the technology behind it.  The overall quality of audio is one that I would say is one of the best action soundtracks to hit the 4K market.  It’s so good that it absolutely compliments the full throttle action in the film.  The audio track definitely makes its presence known from every speaker that’s in the mix and with that experience, it offers that much more of a lifelike experience for home theater enthusiasts.

Blu-ray.com reports that there is an issue with Xander Cage’s dialogue around the 19-minute mark, where it sounds “scratchy and tinny” however I did not experience that while watching this movie tonight.

The Packaging (3/5):

xXx: Return Of Xander Cage comes packaged in your standard 4K UHD amaray case.  Contained within that case is the standard 4K UHD release of the film as well as the standard Blu-ray copy of the film.  The discs are generic in that they do not feature any artwork whatsoever and only contain the necessary text that’s related to this release.  There is also a digital copy redemption pamphlet for on the go streaming and there is a slipcover that’s been made available in the initial pressing of this film.  The artwork for the slipcover features the same art as the amaray case.

  

Special Features (4/5):

Just like every other (with the exception of a couple of releases), there is no additional content available on the included 4K UHD disc.  All additional content that is provided is on the included Blu-ray disc; and with xXx: Return Of Xander Cage, there definitely is a good amount of content that allows consumers to dive deeper into the film and its production.  Included with this release is:

  • Third Time’s The Charm: Xander Returns
  • Rebels, Tyrants & Ghosts: The Cast
  • Opening Pandora’s Box: On Location
  • I Live For This Sh#t!: Stunts
  • Gag Reel

Technical Specs:

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Audio

English: Dolby Atmos

English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)

French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles

English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Final Thoughts:

When xXx: Return Of Xander Cage was originally announced, I will admit, I got rather excited as I had thoroughly enjoyed the first two films respectively.  However, given the recent rise in sequels and reboots, I was slightly nervous that they would royally screw this film up.  That said, this movie was extremely fun to watch and I was not disappointed by it at all, with the exception of the obvious computer-generated images that were used in some of the action sequences.  The audio and visual presentation of this release was stellar and allows for this addition to my collection to be a new feature piece when showing off my living room setup to guests.  If you’re looking at picking this film up, I’d highly recommend ordering it now.  Even if you don’t have the capability to make use of the 4K, get the UHD because down the road, should you decide to upgrade; this release is one that you should have in this format at hand.

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Doug

Movie lover, technophile, moderator of /r/dvdcollection and just your average, everyday movie viewer. Haven't heard of our subreddit? Check us out!

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