If you're going to make an action movie, think big; that's what I say. XXX: State of the Union thinks big - and then some. I'm not a huge fan of action films, but this one is truly the bee's knees (hey, I'm just trying to avoid saying "This film is awesome" here). I don't really see how anyone could be disappointed in this thriller. Is it realistic? Well, no - but action movies are never realistic. That's why they're called action movies and not documentaries. And, actually, the basic scenario brought to life here might be more possible that many people think - you'll never count me among the crowds chanting "It can't happen here." I'll admit, when I saw the film's PG-13 rating, I was a little wary. PG-13 never bodes well for violence and explosions and bloodshed and general destructive mayhem, but the lack of an R rating turned out to be meaningless here - as there is plenty of stuff that goes boom throughout the entire film.
America loves an anti-hero, especially one with the unsurpassed attitude and general bad-a, uh, steel-plated ba-, uh unsurpassed self-confidence of Darius Stone (Ice Cube). Nine years in a maximum-security prison, courtesy of a corrupt general now serving as Secretary of Defense, hasn't done anything to sugar-coat Stone's outlook on life. (Of course, only civilians can serve as Secretary of Defense, but let's just pretend we don't know that; while we're at it, let's also pretend that said Secretary of Defense is in charge of Presidential security, since the Secret Service is nowhere to be found in this movie). If you're NSA agent Augustus Gibbons (Samuel L. Jackson) and your whole crew of good men has just been taken out by the most elite of attacks, Stone is just the kind of man you want on your team - and so it is that the good guys bust Stone out of prison to christen him the new XXX. Many extremely expensive explosions, not to mention gunfights and hand-to-hand combat scenes, quickly follow. There are a number of twists and turns along the way to the truth of the unprecedented plot playing out in the Beltway, but let's just say there are no locked doors as far as Stone is concerned. He's a door-crasher from way back. Maybe the elements of the final scenario are a little unrealistic, but I didn't care, since I was watching rather than analyzing the movie at the time.
Others may disagree, but I thought XXX: State of the Union was a great action movie; it had everything I want in this kind of thriller, and there's nothing more enjoyable than getting to the truth of a vast conspiracy - especially when the path is filled with as many explosions as the filmmakers can pack into 100 minutes. It's true that a lot of innocent civilians and a fair share of good guys are killed in the process, but this is just a movie -a wildly entertaining one that I thoroughly enjoyed.