’XXX’: more than triple awful

If you are a 12-year old boy who loves skateboarding and video games, “XXX” has “Oscar winner” written all over it. If, however, you have at least an eighth grade education or know someone who does, you should steer clear of Vin Diesel’s latest comic book-based epic.

“XXX” is billed as the James Bond of the next generation, and if this is true, I want to be cryogenically frozen and remain in this generation. Diesel is the ringmaster of this loud and flashy spy thriller and plays the renegade criminal hired by the powers-that-be to save the world.

Diesel’s character, Xander Cage, is an extreme sports superstar who begins the movie by stealing a senator’s Corvette. We know that the senator is evil, however, because the lone decoration on his car is a huge bumper sticker with the phrase “Skateboarding is for criminals” plastered on it. Xander immediately and ridiculously goes on to inform movie viewers that this senator has tried to ban video games because they aren’t educational, in addition to not liking MTV. I guess the logical punishment for these teen-unfriendly offenses is to drive the senator’s ‘Vette off a bridge, which Xander promptly does. Eat that, baby boomers!

After Xander’s bridge stunt, he is visited by an agent from the NSA played by Samuel L. Jackson. A terrorist organization in Prague called Anarchy 99 is threatening to blow up European cities with chemical weapons, and the only person who can stop them, apparently, is someone who can skateboard really well and look cool.

Enter Xander Cage. He’s big and tough and plays by his own set of rules. Guided by Jackson’s character and a NSA geek who gives him a set of binoculars that can see through clothing and brick walls (I swear I didn’t make that up), the rebel agent XXX is born.

The rest of the movie pretty much writes itself. The good guy kicks booty, gets the hot foreign girl who’s also a spy (played by Asia Argento) and delivers such witty Generation Next lines as “Dude, you have a bazooka. Stop thinking cop and start thinking PlayStation. Blow s—- up!”

In fact, that was probably my biggest beef with this movie: its dialogue is about as well-written as a porno film. Even the title screams porno. Look up “XXX” on Google.com and see what sites pop up. Just make sure your little brother isn’t in the room.

Diesel is an entertaining actor, but the movie is so ridiculous even by spy movie standards that you are tempted to cover your ears whenever someone is about to speak. Rammstein, everyone’s favorite German metal band, plays prominently throughout “XXX,” and when coupled with the movie’s emphasis on extreme sports, the picture seems more like a two hour music video rather than a major motion picture. Director Rob Cohen valiantly tried to make this movie as entertaining as possible, but if I wanted to watch two straight hours of the X-Games, I would have tuned in to ESPN-2 and saved myself eight bucks.

Movies don’t have to be brilliantly written in order to entertain. Cohen proved this with his earlier picture “The Fast and the Furious,” which, unsurprisingly, also starred Diesel. But “XXX” was just too brainless, loud and excessive for me to enjoy. The same can probably be said for many of the 12-year old skater punks who now consider Diesel to be the coolest man on Earth not named Tony Hawk. But then again, I don’t drink Pepsi or watch MTV, so maybe I missed out on the subtle nuances and brilliant teenage references in “XXX.”

This scenario aside, “XXX” was a terrible excuse for even a bad movie; Jackson has given his most irrelevant performance since “Star Wars: Episode II,” and a crappy new movie franchise has been born. You can tune in for another scathing review when “XXX II” comes out in 2004. Until then, keep on sticking it to the older generation.