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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 101 minutes, two audio commentaries, deleted scenes, documentary, and featurettes.

STUDIO: Columbia/ Revolution Studios

RELEASE DATE: 7-26-2005

ANALYSIS: XXX: STATE OF THE UNION is a terrible by the numbers sequel which is on auto pilot without a thought of how to make a great sequel with action sequences that aren't as half as impressive as the first film. The sequel is missing the energy that Vin Diesel and director Rob Cohen brought to the first XXX. With both the director and Xander Cage, you only have cardboard characters except Gibbons which Samuel L. Jackson does as much as he can with what his character is given. Other than that, Ice Cube is no XXX. This sequel is like a skeleton missing some of the meat to fill it out. Great action sequences, good supporting actors (Dafoe, Strauss, and Sam Jackson), and groan inducing one liners don't make a great sequel.

VIDEO: Widescreen and Full Screen versions are available seperately.

I am reviewing the Full Screen version. It is a horrible transfer. Artifacting was spotted in two places. Grain is very visible in some scenes. Colors don't look good in a few scenes. Even worse, I don't like Full Screen because you are missing out on part of the picture that the director intended for everyone to see (not in the proper aspect ratio).

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 2.0 Dolby Surround

Subtitles: English, French

The sound does fare better than the video.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Three deleted scenes (with optional director commentary)are included (only the second one is of any interest). The people invovled have plenty to say on the audio commentaries for the movie. Director Lee Tamahori and Screenwriter Simon Kinberg are on the first commentary while the Visual Effects Supervisor and CG supervisor chat it up on the second one. FROM CONVICT TO HERO: THE MAKING OF XXX: STATE OF THE UNION is an interesting two part documentary that makes me wonder what everyone involved saw in the movie that I didn't. They talk about the original script with Xander Cage (and Darius as a sidekick) before they threw it out and used the premise of the sequel), the cars, the CG effects, the music score, and more. BULLET TRAIN BREAKDOWN is a multi-angle look at the sequence from storyboards to high-res previs to the production footage to the final product. TOP SECRET MILITARY WAREHOUSE is a look at the design of teh weapons for the movie (and how they tried to make them believable and base them off what the military has in the works). XXX: ACCORDING TO ICE CUBE has cast and crew discuss Ice Cube while Ice Cube talks about playing Darius Stone.

PREVIEWS: The big suprise is the trailer for THE LEGEND OF ZORRO. Other trailers included are for THE CAVE, STEALTH, XXX Director's Cut, and other Sony pictures releases.

FINAL ANALYSIS: If you liked the first film (or even hated it), XXX: STATE OF THE UNION is a sequel for some to skip. I may not like the sequel, but the extras are top notch.

this DVD Review is (c)7-31-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia