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MPAA Rating
Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Asia Argento
Rob Cohen
Bob Smithouser

XXX is the title, not the rating. Beyond that, there’s nothing the least bit confusing about this by-the-numbers, PG-13 spy thriller bent on turning Vin Diesel into the next big action hero.

Diesel plays Xander Cage, a bald, buff, tattooed rebel with a cause. An extreme sports junkie and lover of hot cars ("I like anything fast enough to do something stupid in"), he pulls death-defying stunts to frustrate the establishment—all recorded for an underground Web site. We meet him as he’s stealing and wrecking the car of a senator opposed to point-and-shoot video games and rap music. Then the feds close in. Needing an expendable operative with street smarts, the National Security Agency shanghais him, promising to wipe his slate clean if he cooperates.

Xander winds up in Czechoslovakia playing spy games in order to keep anarchists from unleashing a biological weapon on the world’s major cities. He’s a quick study. Duties range from gathering data to having sex with strange women and amassing a sizable body count. He’s just another in a long line of amoral agents loaded down with guns and gadgets, assigned to fuel male fantasies.

The content isn't far afield from a hip James Bond film. Lots of explosions and gunplay. About 40 profanities. Scantily clad women. Promiscuity. Alcohol. But XXX swaps 007's sophistication for Gen-X attitude and a blistering industrial-metal soundtrack. Apart from an anti-tobacco jab and the hero's budding conscience, there's no moral value. Diesel told USA Today, "Always stay really close to the pulse of the youth of America." He's doing it, and the payoff has been fast and furious.