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The Razz: Movie reviews: Ice loses cool as Xman; XXX2: THE NEXT LEVEL 12A.

Byline: ALAN MORRISON

NOPE, Ice Cube is not the new Vin Diesel. He's the new Steven Seagal. So bulky is the rap star-turned-actor that for the fight scenes the camera moves in close and keeps its focus above the waist.

When both Diesel and director Rob Cohen jumped ship from this XXX sequel, the producers signed up Ice Cube and Die Another Day director Lee Tamahori.

The result should have gone straight to video. Even then, its biff-bang-pow approach to storytelling should only be witnessed by teenage boys.

Samuel L. Jackson returns as Augustus Gibbons, who recruits ex-Navy Seal Darius Stone (Ice Cube) for his latest undercover mission. A rogue military group, led by George Deckert (Willem Dafoe) is heading for Washington DC. They're going to kill the President. Though it's at its mediocre best during car chases and explosions, XXX2 still needs to cut down on the intrigue and increase the stunts.

The 'stealth tank' commandeered by Ice Cube is hardly the niftiest of action movie vehicles. But, then again, Ice Cube is hardly the niftiest of action movie stars. Dafoe has done this paper-thin villain to death in better movies. Jackson is clearly just picking up an easy paycheque to fund some golf trips. No one comes out of this with merit

CAPTION(S):

ACTION MAN: Ice Cube
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 29, 2005
Words:220
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