We got in quite a few DVDs in the past two weeks, and a huge amount of them are new 2 disc sets of films already out on DVD. What is funny to me is that a lot of them are 2 disc sets of films that only came to DVD a few months ago. Man the studios are really pushing that window now. One film that has a new 2 disc version, is XXX, which thankfully first came out on DVD a while back. Tying in with the new sequel film just out in theaters, this new version of XXX is a new extended, unrated directoré─˘s cut of the film. Cané─˘t say that big title adds too much, but a few scenes are there, as is a touch more violence, so such is probably enough for fans of the film.
xXx begins with an elaborate and rather silly chase scene ending in a corvette flying off a bridge. Seems Xander Cage is an extreme sports junkie who also likes to pick on hypocritical politicians. Due to his outrageous and evidently well known stunts, he is recruited against his will by NSA agent Gibbons (Sam Jackson). Xander easily defuses a mock robbery scene, but then is thrown into a real scenario involving Columbian drug traffickers. He survives (and they all get blown to pieces in a sequence of numerous explosions) and Gibbons puts him on the case he was recruited for. Seems he is to infiltrate Anarchy 99, a Russian group of high tech thugs who are ultra hip to go along with their plans of world chaos. Xander gets in just fine, courtesy of a lot of action scenes and such, but complications arise when he falls for the bad guyé─˘s girl. Turns out she might be more than she seems.
The Uncensored Unrated Directoré─˘s Cut of XXX features a 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer. The new version of the film is not quite up to the quality of the SuperBit XXX DVD, but it is on par with the original regular release of the film on DVD. The new video is well incorporated with no noticeably splicing or pauses. Quality seems the same. The image is sharp and well defined, with only a few daytime shots looking sort of softer or less detailed. Colors are high contrasted, looking good and quite vibrant. Blacks are strong, as is just about everything. The SuperBit version just too it all up a notch, but here the presentation is very good and really leaves few complaints for the nitpickers. Those who have the original DVD, well this one is about the same in presentation so quality is assured.
Audio for this new cut of the film comes in the form of a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. This is a great track with active channels almost always firing. Tons of highs and lows, great mid-range, and a superb balance of effects, music and dialogue. Nothing is overshadowed; it all just comes together nicely. Despite being a bit of a crapfest popcorn film, the audio is rather good and is what really drove me to be able to sit through this film again and again for all these DVD releases. Thank goodness I didné─˘t have to do the UMD review for this film.
This new release is a 2-disc set with a large section of extras on both discs. The first disc houses the film plus a number of supplements. Up first is the Starz making of special (15m) followed by two multi-angle stung galleries, some previews, several XXX trailers, some XXX: State of the Union trailers, plus a couple of featurettes on the new film with Ice Cube. Also included are a few extras from the prior DVD release, such as director Rob Cohené─˘s audio commentary.
Disc 2 of this set begins with A Filmmakeré─˘s Diary (40m) from the prior DVD, as well as some recycled featurettes. You again get the Building Speed: Vehicles of XXX, Designing the World of XXX, Diesel Powered, The GTO is Back, plus several visual effects pieces that cover the avalanche scene, the shack explosion, and few other big sequences from the film. Al recycled but nice to have them again as you can get rid of your first DVD if you want and still have all the same pretty good extras.
Next comes a new extra, which is a newly filmed bridge between film one and film two, now out in theaters. Basically it has a stand in guy for Vin who we see get killed. Such is sort of silly and not too well done, but it does bridge the films. Other new items include some storyboards, a music video, another music video (by Hatebreed), plus an extended end credit sequence all put together sort of like a Bond film.
The extended version really doesné─˘t add that much, but not being much of a fan at all of this film, well my naturally I wouldné─˘t get much out of extending it. True fans will want more and this film does give you a bit more, so by all means go out and get it. The video and audio are the same as the prior regular release, and even the extras are mostly the same with a few new nuggets here and there. I recommend it only to really big fans of this film such as our new reviewer Luis who really digs this brain-dead film.