XANDER CAGE

 
Full Name: Xander Cage
Codename: xXx
Nationality: American
Organization: NSA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Rich Wilkes
Time Span: 2002 - 2017
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Xander Cage, aka xXx, is an agent of the NSA.
       Unofficially, of course. Definitely unofficially, so much so that no one at the No-Such-Agency would ever admit to knowing him let alone associating with the likes of Cage, outlaw and renegade. And Cage would hand that feeling right back at any suit who had the nerve to face him. Cage did not like suits. He did not like authority. He most definitely did not like anything related to law and order.
       Cage "lived for adrenaline highs", where that chemical made him "feel alive like nothing else in the world ever did". He got that need for the rush as a young kid in a family that barely scraped by so there was little to make his life easy. This meager lifestyle would easily explain why he learned to make his own entertainment but not his obsession with danger and excitement. That came from inside him and at the age of nearly 30, it had only intensified.
       So with the constant need to push it to the edge and often, literally, over it, Cage could have picked several extreme venues. Crime was definitely one he might have chosen but did not. Breaking the law, on the other hand, went part and parcel with the avenue he did choose. Technically that did make him a criminal but not in the traditional sense.
       Cage went for outrageous stunts, activities that, should he make the slightest miscalculation or be faced with an x-factor from out of nowhere, it would be all over for him. Then he had them videoed. And then sold. And his reputation as a crazy man doing crazy things for other would-be crazy people to watch grew.
       Which is what brought him to the attention of Augustus Gibbons, a special agent with the NSA and a man tasked with pulling off some pretty insane missions. Saddened by and tired of losing highly trained agents in the field, he decided that some of his assignments did not really call for men trained in spycraft and skilled in cloak-and-dagger work. These suicide ops needed people who might be ruled suicidal by normal people but who really didn't want to die - they just wanted to be extreme.
       People like Cage, so in love with eXtreme he tattooed the letter three times on his neck.

BOOKS

Number of Books:1
First Appearance:2002
Last Appearance:2002

1 xXx xXx
Written by Mel Odom
Copyright: 2002

Novelization of the movie. A group of Russian extremists are plotting something very nasty using a very nasty formula called 'Silent Night' and each American agent who gets close to learning the truth gets dead. What is needed, thinks the agent-in-charge, is not an operative pretending to be an outsider but a real outsider who could function like an agent.

2 xXx: Return of Xander Cage xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Written by Tim Wagonner
Copyright: 2017

Novelization of the movie. The weapon known as Pandora's Box can cause great destruction and Xander Cage is brought back from rumored death to lead the charge to get it.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:4
First Appearance:2002
Last Appearance:2017

1 xXx xXx
Director: Rob Cohen
Writer: Rich Wilkes
Actors: Asia Argento as Yelena, Samuel L. Jackson as Augustus Gibbons, Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, Marton Csokas as Yorgi
Released: 2002

Russians extremists have their hands on a formula called "Silent Night" and are planning to use it to bring about disaster around the globe. When normal agents for the NSA have failed to stop them, spymaster Gibbons calls upon an extreme thrill seeker named Xander Cage, nicknamed xXx, to give it a try.

2 xXx: State of the Union xXx: State of the Union
Director: Lee Tamahori
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Actors: Ice Cube as Darius Stone, Samuel L. Jackson as Augustus Gibbons, Willem DeFoe as General Deckert
Released: 2005

With Xander Cage not available for another outrageously impossible mission, Gibbons calls upon another agent in the xXx program, Darius Stone, to head to DC and stop an attempt on the life of the President and prevent a coup.

3 xXx: Return of Xander Cage xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Director: D. J. Caruso
Writer: F. Scott Frazier
Actors: Deepika Padukone as Serena Unger, Samuel L. Jackson as Augustus Gibbons, Vin Diesel as Xander Cage, Donnie Yen as Xiang, Ice Cube as Darius Stone
Released: 2017

The weapon known as Pandora's Box can cause great destruction and Xander Cage is brought back from rumored death to lead the charge to get it.

MY COMMENTS

       I take a lot of guilty pleasure in having gotten so much pleasure out of the movies. I love action movies. The older I get and less likely to ever do any of the things I see in the films, the more I love them (mind you, even at my youngest and most capable, I never would have done anything like Cage does but ...).
       Pure adrenaline escapism and I loved it. The second xXx movie for also a lot of fun and I really liked Darius Stone (Ice Cube) but I missed Cage (Vin Diesel). A decade later he was back, now a bit too old really for the role but still as bald and bad as before. Highly impressive considering the actor was 49 when he made it.
       When I learned through a friend that there were two novelizations made of the first and third movies, I took delight in the fact that I could add the series to this compendium (and watch the first two movies again ... for research!).
       One great thing about a decent novelization is that the author can put in a lot more of the back story to the characters than you can get in the usual line or three thrown into a script. This is definitely the case with the books penned by the highly gifted Mel Odom and Tim Wagonner. They let you see where the character came from and, in the case of Cage's long absence, where he went. Good reads for fan of the series. Like me.

GRADE

My Grade: B

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