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Film / xXx: State of the Union

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xXx: State of the Union is a 2005 action movie starring Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson and Willem Dafoe. It is the sequel to 2002's xXx.

The NSA headquarters is attacked by a mysterious team of special operatives. Agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) recruits another "xXx" agent to get to the bottom of the conspiracy—disgraced former U.S. Navy officer Darius Stone (Cube). It soon becomes clear that Secretary of Defense George Deckert (Dafoe) is planning to overthrow the U.S. government to stop the dismantlement of military bases which he feels will put the country in danger.

This film provides examples of:

  • Army of Thieves and Whores: How do you get past the U.S. military and the Big Bad's traitorous elites? You gather up the local carjacking ring and arm them with heavy weapons.
  • Artistic License – Military: The carrier, just to start. Ships don't drop anchor when they're docked. AT-4 shells don't go that slow or leave a smoke trail. And what were all those barrels on that tank?
    • Darius is somehow able to traverse turret of M2 Bradley IFV and fire its cannon from the driver station. While driving.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • There's no way the car in the final scene would have the necessary traction to drive as fast or as fluidly as it does when it was riding train tracks on just its rims. When you see trucks do this in real life, they have a fold-up set of train wheels precisely for this purpose. That is the accommodate for the difference between the wheelbase on the train and the wheelbase on the car if they are both the same then a car can ride the rails like that. Hell they did it in Back to the Future Part III didn’t they.
    • Not to mention that from the various speed indicators on the train and car, the car should have overtaken the train at least a half dozen times during the chase.
    • When Stone's IFV are hit, explosive tear large chunk from it's body. Such a blast would render whole vehicle inoperable and pulverize Darius inside.
  • Badass Boast "If it got wheels, we can jack it". Boy, do they live up to it too (see Tank Goodness below).
  • Cars Without Tires Are Trains: Deckert and Cobb abduct Sanford while he is making the State of the Union Address. They escape on a bullet train. Jackson arrives with a car, and Stone uses it to infiltrate the train by driving along the tracks.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Stone is said to hold the Navy record in diving at 250 ft. Guess how he avoids death during the final showdown.
  • Cool Guns: Deckert's goons use XM 8 assault rifles (actually disguised G36s).
  • Death Faked for You: Deckert does this for Gibbons, who he plans to use as a fall-guy later.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Happens to Xander. Or so we thought...
  • Dynamic Entry: A convoy of "hustlers and thieves" working for Gibbons and Stone mousehole their way across Washington DC, plowing through walls with their vehicles to bypass roadblocks around the city.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Stone and Steele are both former Navy SEALs.
  • Final Exchange: In the climax in confrontation with the Big Bad.
    Deckert: I've been waiting for this moment, Stone!
    Stone: Well, you better keep waiting! (jumps out, a missile blows up the train and kills Deckert.)
  • General Ripper: Deckert is a retired example, now being a Secretary of Defense Ripper.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: As part of the cover up after the failed coup, Deckert is hailed as a hero who gave his life to save the President, while Stone quietly disappears and goes underground. He is given a commendation as a "nameless soldier", though.
  • Informed Attribute: Darius being "tougher and nastier" than Xander Cage. Aside from seeing through Gibbons' "lion speech", which does imply a certain degree of cunning, the only real difference between them is Darius having formal military training and being a lot more direct than Xander.
  • Innocent Innuendo: After his prison escape, it's implied that Darius immediately sought out a woman to have sex with. But the camera reveals that all the slurping and the "Who's your daddy?" comments are just him ravaging a cheeseburger.
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: The president's speech about taking a more diplomatic approach is intercut with Darius and the carjackers violently breaching the DC blockade.
  • Legacy Character: xXx is a designation given to the NSA's best agents.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Deckert does this with Gibbons, making it look like he was killed in a gas explosion in his home. In fact, Gibbons isn't even dead.
  • Military Coup: It features an attempt by the U.S. Secretary of Defense and rogue members of the military to overthrow the sitting President during a State of the Union address in a False Flag Operation. Specifically, his reasons for this are that the President is closing down overseas bases, and in the Secretary's opinion putting the U.S. in jeopardy through appeasement.
  • Moment Killer: Darius is about to get intimate with Lo, so Shavers chooses that moment to announce his success in hacking the DoD.
  • Monumental Damage: A tank fires on the Capitol Building. Pretty minor compared to most examples, as it will only require a floor or two of structural repair on the outer wall, and maybe additional fire damage repair.
  • Ms. Fanservice: The movie throws in two contrasting ones: the first is Lola Jackson, Darius' old flame who became an expensive car saleswoman (African American and clad in a black suit); the second is Charlie Mayweather, who turns out to be The Dark Chick and part of the military conspiracy to overthrow the President (blonde, Caucasian, and initially clad in white until her allegiance becomes clear and she switches to black). Their outfits emphasized their cleavage in particular.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Darius Stone is going to save the country, but not before he gets his hands on a good hamburger. And throw in some fries and a shake while you're at it.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: President James Sanford is President Target with some President Personable mixed in: as he mentions in his initial scene and the State of the Union address, he is trying to change America's approach to international politics by being more understanding and compassionate, which of course in the eyes of a hard-core War Hawk like Deckert it means the man needs to go. Now.
  • Quote Mine: Secretary Of Defense General Deckert has the President at gunpoint as part of the former's plan to overthrow the U.S. Government. The President asks why Deckert is doing this, to which he responds by quoting Thomas Jefferson selectively and gets called out on it by the President. Which, given the context of the rebel speaking to the leader he's overthrowing, should not be as devastating a retort as it's played as. Shooting himself in the foot really, unless Deckert genuinely thinks of himself as the tyrant in that situation.
    General Deckert: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots."
    President James Sanford: "... and tyrants." That's the end of the quote.
  • Refrigerator Ambush: The main character uses the fridge to chill himself so he can hide from the thermal imaging cameras of a SWAT team he's ambushing.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Complete with Pre-Mortem One-Liner
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Xander does not appear in the sequel, cover story is that he was killed in Bora Bora.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Deckert uses this as a vague threat against Kyle, noting that the house fire which supposedly killed Gibbons "could happen to anybody".
  • Soft Water: It appears to be subverted as Darius specifically breaks the surface tension with an explosion, but there's no way he wouldn't die in real life, as Mythbusters confirmed, thus the trope is actually played straight.
  • Soul Brotha: Darius Stone without a doubt is this type character. It's also a plus that he is played by Ice Cube.
  • Spies Are Lecherous: Subverted. Darius Stone is recruited by the agency out of a military prison to save the country from a sinister conspiracy, but he routinely ignores pursuing women to focus on his real vice: food. When a bored Trophy Wife takes him back to her villa for some hanky panky, he asks for fries and a shake when she offers him "anything you want". While it's implied that Darius and Lola used to be lovers, they are not so in the present, and their interactions never go beyond mild flirting.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Xander was killed off-screen in Bora Bora before the movie begins, so that Gibbons would have an excuse to go to another criminal, one the Big Bad actually knows. This is actually discussed at several points, with Gibbons' associate wishing for Xander. The third film reveals he didn't actually die.
  • Take That!:
    Darius: The fate of the free world in the hands of a bunch of hustlers and thieves.
    Kyle: Why should tonight be any different?
  • Tank Goodness: "Welcome to the first tank-jacking in history."
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: Featured tanks are looks much like Abrams, but with strange two-gun turret over the main one (right where ammunition bustle should be) and very spacious inside.
    • Mockup of M2 Bradley is mirrored - real Bradleys had driver position on left side. And they are not supposed to be manned by single driver to be combat-capable.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: Stone spies on Well-Intentioned Extremist (at least in his own mind) Deckert meeting with a prominent general who he tries to recruit for his mysterious plot (later revealed to be the overthrow of the U.S. government). The general refuses to join him, saying that it goes against the Constitution. Shortly afterward, Stone is tricked into visiting a mansion where he finds the general's body, right as the police show up after having been tricked into thinking Stone is the killer.
  • Title Drop: Deckert's Evil Plan is to stage a Military Coup on the day of the President's annual "State of the Union" address, right in the middle of said address, so of course we have President Sanford saying "Our State of the Union is strong!" as he begins it.
  • Treachery Cover Up: The Secretary of Defense is given a hero's funeral despite his misdeeds.
  • Villainous Cheekbones: Deckert has some.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Darius spouts "Wars come and go, but my soldiers remain eternal". Gibbons assumes it was by Jefferson or Patton. It's actually from "Ballad of Dead Soldier" by Tupac Shakur. Becomes a Brick Joke when the president uses the quote in a speech. Lola Jackson knows her rap artists better than Gibbons does because she gets it right in one guess.
    Lola Jackson: Did the president just quote Tupac?
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Deckert believes he's protecting the country from a president whose foreign policies would leave it vulnerable to aggressors. It's clear the man is just extremely unhinged, though, no matter how well he hides it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the short film The Death of Xander Cage, Jordan King shows up from the first film as Xander's lover. The last we see of her is some of Cobb's men covering her mouth and shoving her into their getaway car, but what happens to her is never stated.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Gibbons tells Darius that he should have killed Charlie after knocking her out. Later on, Gibbons does it for him, and repeats himself.
  • Written-In Absence: In another case of Poor Man's Substitute as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute, Ice Cube gets the job previously held by Vin Diesel, and we're told that the Vin Diesel version has died in a jet-skiing accident. The end of the film even has the government already searching for a new one.