Lee Tamahori

The single moment of interest in XXX: State of the Union comes when Samuel L. Jackson and Ice Cube trade barbs while on opposite sides of prison glass. Jackson needs Cube to fight off the attacks on the NSA, Cube wants no part of it, and for once one black man pulls rank on another black man on matters of real importance. Unfortunately, the rest of the film is a cheap knockoff of an only marginally better film. The NSA thing is part of a plot by Willem Dafoe to stage a coup against a peace-loving American president (that'll be the day), with Scott Speedman as the sympathetic inside man who could stop everything if he were only played by someone more famous. But it's all for naught as our hero is put through humiliation after humiliation, including some sexual frustration, the occasional servant joke and nothing like the MAXIM spread that greeted Vin Diesel. There's no excuse for replacing the supremely photogenic Diesel with the furrow-browed Cube, or for slapping a plea for world peace on an orgy of military might, or for including a bunch of buxom women whose only function is to rev motorcycles, but such is the state of the film's union, which falls apart rather early. Extras include a commentary by director Lee Tamahori and writer Simon Kinberg that's bland and uninteresting, an FX commentary that would be slightly interesting were it not delivered by insurance salespeople, a semi-involving "making of" featurette dealing with changes to the early Diesel drafts, an interactive comparison of storyboards, digital pre-visualisation and an actual scene, the de rigueur gadgetry featurette, some Ice Cube hagiography, and four deleted scenes. (Columbia/Sony)