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XXX: State of the Union
by Adam R. Davidson

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Greetings, loyal subjects, and welcome to yet another edition of Review of the Review. This week, we will be analyzing the rare breed of journalist that actually enjoyed the unqualified non-success that is XXX: STATE OF THE UNION, by director Lee Tamahori. In my quest to scour the Earth and drag incompetant film reviewers kicking and screaming into the searing light of accountability, this week's trio of remarkably idiotic "critics" all hail from widely-read (if not widely-validated) publications. "Who they is," you ax? Well, they be:

Brad Brevet of RopeOfSilicon.com, Ron Henriques of LatinoReview.com, and Owen Gleiberman of the magazine Entertainment Weekly. Remember those names, dear readership, for those be the names of fools.

We'll pick on Monsieur Brevet first. Pourquoi nous l'accusons?
- Begins his foray into stupid waters with the sentence, "[the] action of these popcorn flicks is really hitting home with me lately . . ." which really strikes me as odd, because the phrase "hitting home" typically refers to something reminding you of your own life experiences. Now, I'm not accusing M. Brevet of *not* being a street-tough, kung-fu-fighting, black secret agent, but . . . well, maybe I am.
- Also states that he "saw no way Cube could step into the role as an action star but for his first time in unfamiliar shoes [Cube] walks the line just fine." I don't claim to have an in-depth knowledge of the filmography of Ice Cube, but IMDB.com sure does, and according to them, Cube played a hard-ass gun-toting action hero in no fewer than SEVEN films *before* XXX2 was released. That new math must really be tough.
- In listing the merits of the film, Brevet cites the use of "some of the sweetest vehicles you have [ever] seen." Sweetest? Are you. For. Real? Are you eleven? And from 1995?

It's ridiculous how completely moronic this review is. And someone has seen fit to waste bandwidth by posting it.

Next, Señor Henriques' ramblings on the majesty of this shlock-fest. Por qué, Maria, por qué?
- Compares the XXX2 to it's predecessor, citing the former's higher quality and lessening the origninal by stating, " . . . the Vin Diesel action thriller "XXX" . . . had the clever premise of turning an extreme sports player into a secret agent, but never lived up to its potential." Here's the deal: if your "concept" involves extreme sports, an action movie starring Vin Diesel is the absolute pinnacle of any possible efforts to make that movie entertaining at all. End of story. Bringing in Mr. Black-N-Scowly doesn't do anything against the awesome B-movie charisma of The Vin. As far a shlock goes, if it ain't Vin, it ain't crap.
- Explains how Cube delivers this film, noting "the confidence and 'blackness' he projects are almost like a force of nature." Aside from erring on the lazy side of racism, Henriques fails to address that Ice Cube actually was officially stripped of his "blackness" once he signed on to films like ALL ABOUT THE BENAJMINS, TORQUE, and ARE WE THERE YET?
- Attempts to deconstruct the political undertones of XXX2 (did I just really type that?) by "exposing" the juxtaposition of a black street thug trying to "defend white America." Which is about the most carelessly racist thing I've read in a movie review all year long, even a year that saw the release of HUSTLE & FLOW, ROLL BOUNCE, and CRASH.

This review is dumber than DUMB & DUMBERER.

Lastly is a review from Herr Gleiberman, who writes for EW, a magazine that asks you to pay them money to read their "reviews," of which a large number of positive ones are mysteriously given to the entertainment companies that sponsor them. Remember when TIME magazine devoted a whole issue to explain just how awesome the MATRIX sequels were, even though we all knew it was B.S. because both the magazine and the films were owned by AOLTimeWarner? Yeah, it's just like that.
- Like partner-in-dumb Brevet, above, Gleiberman is astounded(!) that Ice Cube appears in an action(!) film(!!). Like I said: Seven. Seven times has Cube played some variation of the bad-ass/hard-ass/big-ass black dude in an action capacity. Seven. The number after six and preceding eight. Also known as "the lucky number" and "the number of the last grade the reviewer completed."
- Claims that XXX2 one-ups the Diesel original, with "Vin Diesel and his cornball monotone" not being on-par with the "gut-level stirrings of power and retaliation" that the Cube brings along. That's like the pot calling another pot a pot.
- Opines that "if Ice Cube's performance keeps hitting the same note of disgruntled cool, it's a note you never doubt." And that's funny to me, because I always thought being a one-trick pony was a bad thing, not something to be acclaimed for. But what do I know?

Sad thing is, unlike most of us media critics, Gleiberman actually gets paid to be stupid on paper.

I'll see you radical bad-ass dudes and dudettes, brimming with your street cred and blindin' me with yo' bling, laters. Keep it real and stay gnarly to the max.

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Review of the Review
Every other Thursday

Adam R. Davidson holds the critics' feet to the flame in making them accountable for the reviews that they publish.

Other Columns
Other columns by Adam R. Davidson:

Special EW Summer Re-Cap

A Sound of Thunder


The Perfect Man


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Adam R. Davidson
Adam R. Davidson is a struggling writer with a heart of gold and a bank account of hopes and dreams and little else. He probably knows way too much useless crap for one person's lifetime, and wears a size 8 hat.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Adam R. Davidson by clicking here.

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