Ice Cube

The poster art can or could be obtained from Paramount Pictures.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

xXx: Return of Xander Cage is the third installment in the Triple X Franchise. This go around Vin Diesel returns as the titular character after taking the second film off while Ice Cube took the reins for a film. The franchise is built on over the top action and while poking fun at the spy thriller genre. xXx was a fun popcorn flick that had a lot of enjoyment in it. State of The Union, the second film was definitely forgettable in the eyes of most. Diesel returning to the franchise had its ups and downs. While his Fast and Furious films have been on the rise, his projects outside of F&F have not been received well.

Joining Diesel in this action pack sequel is Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, and Nina Dobrev. Back again reprising their roles from previous films includes Samuel L. Jackson as NSA Agent Augustus Eugene Gibbons, Ice Cube as the 2nd xXx Darius Stone. D. J. Caruso takes over the director’s duties and it was written by F. Scott Frazie

If you’ve watched the trailers for xXx: The Return of Xander Cage you pretty much know what you are getting. It is a popcorn fun over the top action film in the vein of 90s action flicks. There are one liners, unbelievable action, and a plot that makes no damn sense, and even with all that it is so much fun to watch. The film keeps you entertained from start to finish. Not because of the plot or story but because it’s just fun to shut your brain off and enjoy the ride.

I was forced to see this film in 3D, and we all know I am not the biggest fan of 3D. If you have the choice of to 3D or not to 3D, I suggest not going 3D. It did not add anything to the film, or was even really that much to it. It didn’t necessarily distract from the film, but it definitely didn’t lend anything extra to it.

This cast is pretty incredible. Maybe not in acting ability, but in the fact that it’s fun to watch these guys beat the hell out of each other. Vin Diesel is once again dialed into the Xander Cage character like he never left it. While he is very much a like when you compare Xander to Dominic Toretto, there a little differences that Diesel portrays that amount to enough to distinguish a different personality. Samuel L Jackson is of course Samuel L Jackson once again. They make some small jabs and jokes at the Avengers and his character of Nick Fury that really had me laughing.

The new comers to the film are really what make this one fun. I am pretty much in love with Ruby Rose. Her character is the over the top female badass and she drives the role perfectly. Seeing Michael Bisping take his first steps into the world of acting is pretty awesome too. They use him in a way that plays to his strengths of being a badass fighter, hiding any shortcomings he may have in his first outing. Nina Dobrev is the breakout performance though. Her quirky attitude with the right amount of humor and sexual tension aligns perfectly with the feel of this installment.

I’d be remised if I didn’t mention how awesome it is to see both Tony Jaa and Donnie Yen out there as well. These two are iconic when it comes to martial artist in film. They are on a level that few have made to. Names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li. Jaa and Yen deserve to be mentioned in that conversation. And their fight choreography in this film is just another example of that.

The film is shot pretty well. While there is not much to call “ground breaking direction” D. J. Caruso does a great job of bringing to life some killer cool action sequences. The action scenes are intense and over the top, and fun to watch. They keep you excited and entertained. And that is what we are looking for in a film like this. It is not about being enthralled in the story of the film, but just being able to watch a lot awesome action and some funny one liners. And this cast and crew brought that to life.

Jeebus Comments

Look, no one was going into xXx: Return of Xander Cage expecting an Oscar caliber film. We go to see crazy action, hot girls, and a dumb fun story. The issue is can the studio make it dumb enough to be a fun film, but not so bad that it’s Independence Day Resurgence. And in the case of xXx 3 I think they did a great job. It is fun, it is action packed, and it is just dumb fun. There is enjoyment to be had in this film if you can look passed the lack of story, and over the top acting. I gave xXx: The Return of Xander Cage a 3.3 overall, with Jeebus bonus of .3 for Ice Cube’s cameo. It would have gotten a full .5 bonus had they not put it in the trailer!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

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Barbershop: The Next Cut

First off I was a huge fan of the first 2 BarberShop films. I cannot tell you how many times I have rewatched the first one. Cedric The Entertainer kills me every single time! I continually laugh at it no matter how many times I watch it. I was extremely excited to see we were getting to go back to the shop. Excited to learn new life lessons and have a lot of fun with these characters. While the film has not been heavily promoted I enjoyed the trailer and was quite ready to see this film. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

Now this is not your hyper smart comedy. Do not go looking for the next Oscar winning comedy in Barber Shop. These films are just fun the characters are enjoyable, and they are a great way to escape and have laugh. And there are plenty of laughs in this installment of the franchise. Dare I say the most laughs of the entire franchise?  This go around sees Ice Cube, Eve, Cedric the Entertainer, Anthony Anderson, and Sean Patrick Thomas return in their respective roles. They are joined by Regina Hall, Nicki Minaj, Deon Cole, Margot Bingham, Common, J.B. Smooth, Lamorne Morris, Michael Rainy Jr., and Utkarsh Ambudkar

The Comedy is incredible. There are constant laughs brought up by numerous different characters. Weather it is by way of one liners, or just situational comedy. Everyone brings a unique brand of humor to this film and it is great to see. As well the chemistry between the cast is wonderful. You feel the connection between them, and you want to just hang out at the Calvin’s Shop!

The new editions were all fun. I was especially surprised by Common’s comedic timing. He hits a lot of one liners that almost come from out of nowhere. Also Nicki Minaj was a lot of fun in this film. I was very surprised by that. I enjoyed her character, and loved what she brought to the film. Plus she is really hot. SO that definitely helped.

The story is pretty simple, and that’s all it needed to be. I did not go to this film for over bearing story that makes me think to keep up. I just want to have some fun, and be invested in these characters lives. And the story did just that. This seemed like the next step for Calvin’s Shop, and fit within the world they have set up.

However it is not all great. There a few glaring weakness. Most notably the absence of Michael Early, Leonard Earl Howze, and Deray Davis as Ricky, Dinka and Hustle Guy respectively. Yes I know DeRay Davis is only credited as “Hustle Guy” but I found myself waiting for him to walk into the shop all film long. I think it was a missed opportunity not to have him cameo. Troy Garity cameos as Isaac in the opening scene, but other than that he was missed as well. There is no explanation for the characters absences, they just aren’t there. As well there are some sports inaccuracies. Now bear with me as this is very nitpicky. The film opens with Ice Cube’s character Calvin giving a voice over in which he explains how Chicago life is now. He talks about everything Chicago has given the world, including the great baseball team the Cubs. Then in the next shot we see Calvin, in a White Sox hat. No White Sox fan would promote the Cubs. Sorry that stuck out to me. There are also some insane edting cuts that jar you out of the film

For the most part Barbershop 3: The Next Cut is a fun movie. A movie you will enjoy if you enjoyed the first films. If you were not a fan of the first 2, you probably won’t like this one. But it is honestly a fun, hilarious, and over all heartwarming film about family, and friends. I was definitely not disappointed. After being such a fan of Ice Cube and the first to films, I was not let down by this one. I am even hoping for a fourth installment! Hopefully with the missing cast members from this go around! More Ice Cube, more Cedric, more Nicki, and definitely more of the insanely beautiful Eve! Ruff Ryders all day! All in all, I am giving Barbershop 3: The Next Cut a score of 2.9, with a Jeebus Bonus for Nicki Minaj and Eve of .3, giving it a Jeebus Score of 3.2! If you have some free time in the next few weeks, liked the first 2 films, and want to laugh, give it a go!

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 5 points with a .5 bonus. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Entertainment Value, Story/Writing, Performance, Direction, and Production. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 5.5 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton follows the journey of Eazy E, Ice Cube, and Dr. Dre as the build the empire that was the N.W.A. The rise and fall of one of the most influential groups in Hip Hop. An idea born from Dr. Dre is built upon thanks to the funding of Eazy E. They became one of the biggest and most iconic artists of all time. The police and American government fought to censor them, but they fought back for their neighborhood and for the streets to be built up. They were the first to bring their real life experiences that they witnessed and lived through to modern music. The style, the attitude and mixture of personalities set them up to be remembered forever.

Everything about this film is fun, and deep and, in my opinion, relatable. The timing of Straight Outta Compton couldn’t be more perfect. In our time where we are dealing with backlash toward the police forces due to excessive force, The NWA lived through a time where it was so much worse. They were treated as gang bangers and thugs, when all they wanted was to spread their voices through a true art form. The Film follows the problems they incurred. Inside and outside of the group. Money issues, hatred from the police, jealousy of each other.

The Casting was on par. There are times in this film, when you are watching Ice Cube do his thing on stage, or in certain iconic scenes, that you don’t really know if this is stock footage of Ice Cube, or is this his son? They look so much alike, and Jackson was able to channel his father perfectly. He has that signature Ice Cube glare down to a T. Watching Corey Hawkins play Dr. Dre, at first I wasn’t on board. Mostly because I saw Ice Cube in Jackson, however I couldn’t see Dre in Hawkins. But as the movie got going, Hawkins disappears and Dr. Dre is on screen. He brought together every aspect I know of Dre. And Jason Mitchell brought Eazy back to life. He puts on an incredible performance, especially a pretty pivotal scene in the third act. Paul Giamatti, like the pro he is, shows us why he is the superstar we know and love, and not Rhino.

The Script was not perfect, but it was extremely well done. The Story is pretty spot on from what I knew from N.W.A. from the birth of Ruthless Records, to the Rise of Death Row. From Eazy E the Dope Dealer, to one of the most influential rappers of our time. You see why Dre is the Dr. of hip hop. The story really helps you sink back into this world. The chemistry between the cast, you feel for them, and hurt when they hurt. You believe these guys are the brothers that N.W.A. was. And you sympathize with both sides as the splits become apparent.

The Music. A+. Now I might be bias, because I love this period of music. It’s still all I listen to today. But knowing that these guys all got together and completely rerecorded the masterpiece Straight Outta Compton album is incredible. They didn’t just dub the music over; they completely bring these hits back. The scenes in concerts, you feel the energy, like you were there in Detroit when N.W.A. was arrested for their iconic song.

Filming was beautiful. Every scene, no shot is spared. There is no moment that is wasted. The weight of every situation is shot and framed perfectly. The score, aside from the actual music of the group, sucks you in and brightens every scene.

No film not named The Godfather or The Empire Strikes back is perfect. And this one is no exception. It has its issues. Not many. But a few. There is a big lack of female characters in this film. Which I understand due to the nature of the group. But all of these rappers where married. And they wives are portrayed in the film, but as very minor characters. I would’ve liked to know a little more about them.

If you know the story of N.W.A. you know these guys were not the best guys. They fought for their neighborhood, and for freedom of speech, but they weren’t always angels. I was particularly excited to see how they handled Dre and the interview with Dee Barnes due to the beef and split between N.W.A. and Ice Cube. They completely glossed over it. There was a small throwaway line about assault charges, and nothing ever shown. The only person portrayed as the monstrous thug he was, is Suge Knight.

The third act begins and kind of wraps itself up a little too quickly, but that’s really because I would’ve loved this movie to go on. Tupac and Snoop both show up as minor characters, and I wanted more of them. But honestly, that, and most of my negatives are very nitpicky. This film has these minor problems, but it is incredible.

So that is Straight Outta Compton. An incredible film, that tells the true and amazing story of one the most influential rap groups that include some of the greatest and most iconic artist of our generation. Artist that have gone on to create and influence hip hop in all sorts of aspects of life. Giving it a score of 4.2, plus a full .5 bonus for the Music and O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Ice Cube. Giving Straihgt Outta Compton a Jeebus score of 4.7. So Jackass Nation have you seen Straight Outta Compton Yet? Are you excited for it? What is your favorite N.W.A. song? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, keep on nerding.

The Jeebus Score explained

The Jeebus score is out of a possible 6 points. Films are giving a max of 1 point each for Acting, Entertainment, and Casting, and a max of .5 for Dialog, Cinematography, and Direction. There is also a possible bonus up to .5. Any film between 2.5 and 4 is considered a good film. 4-5 is a great film. Anything over 5 is an incredibly amazing film. To get a perfect score of 6 a film will pretty much have to be The Empire Strikes Back or The Godfather.

22 Jump Street

21 Jump Street was arguably the best comedy of 2012. Bringing in a grand total of $201,585,328 on a budget of only $42 Million. It was destined to have a sequel. The problem is when comedies try to recapture the magic they produce with a sequel, they tend to basically make the same movie. Same jokes, same story, same situation. And 22 Jump Street does just that. Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Ice Cube return, with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller returning as well. Nearly the same plot, and nearly the same jokes. Problems is, this sequel that is the same story as the original works perfectly, and fires on all cylinders!

The best part of 21 Jump Street was that it didn’t take itself to seriously. It knew it was a washed up remake of an old TV show. It poked fun at the fact that Hollywood has “ran out of ideas and are just rehashing the same old stuff” This film takes that theory to the an entire new level. Calling itself out for being a sequel, when sequels are notoriously weaker than their original counter-parts. As well as the fact that they are literally giving us the exact same story, with very minor twist. They literally remind you every chance they get that you are in fact watching a movie you have seen before. This self-aware comedy has been used before, even though it doesn’t always work properly. The Scary Movie films do it over and over and over and yet those films are terrible. 22 Jump Street however does it flawlessly.

The cast all returns and are phenomenal together. Tatum and Hill’s chemistry together is incredible. When it was first announced Tatum was going to be in the first film, I was definitely skeptical. Channing Tatum, in comedy? That’s not a good fit. But now, I couldn’t imaging these films without these two together. Tatum comedic timing plays off of Jonah Hill so well, you forget that these two are the superstars that they are and you buy into the characters themselves. Ice Cube has a much bigger role in this go around, and he honestly steals the show. Two of the best scenes in the film are centered around Ice Cube. He is goes all out, and it is a hit. There are a lot of cameos, if you can call them that, or pop ups. Peter Stormare plays a villainous role like only he can.

There aren’t very many negative points to the film. I guess it can drag a little at a few times, but you need the down time to stop from laughing and take a little break. And when it does start to drag, it is defiantly not for long. Sure you’ve seen the story, you’ve heard the jokes, and you’ve seen a nd heard it Al by the same cast and movie. But like I said, it works, incredibly. That said, this far, I have to call 22 Jump Street the best comedy of the year, I gave it a Jeebus score of 4.6 with a .4 bonus for 5.0, Multiple Viewings Required!