starring Ice Cube, Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman, Peter Strauss
screenplay by Simon Kinberg
directed by Lee Tamahori
by Walter Chaw Just a total waste of life no matter how you slice it, xXx: State of the Union is cinema as penance. Forget the rosary--watch this colossal turdbath a couple of times and short of actually being responsible for it, you're instantly absolved of most any sin. The screenplay, by the suddenly-ubiquitous Simon Kinberg (also the scribe behind the upcoming X-Men 3, Fantastic Four, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith--let me go on record first saying that this film does not bode well), is a foul compost of flaccid catchphrases and boggle-eyed declarations, squeezed like old cheese between action sequences so poorly conceptualized and executed that not only is it impossible to ever tell for a moment what the hell's going on, but the film also actually reminded me in its over-processed way of outtakes from Tron. Ice Cube is awful, Samuel L. Jackson (who used to claim he would never work with a rapper) is awful, Scott Speedman is awful, Sunny Mabrey is awful--everyone is awful. Everything about xXx: State of the Union is awful, from its stupid prologue on some dairy farm to its stupid epilogue, in which another sequel is set up in as many words. It's possible to see the entire exercise as a postmodern smirk, but being aware that you're stupid doesn't always make you meta--sometimes it just means you're tragically self-aware and no less stupid.