Vin Diesel's Xander Cage was busy BASE jumping or making Asia Argento flans or something, so Ice Cube steps in for the second installment in XXX's Action! Explosion! Ramping Stuff! franchise. Samuel L. Jackson gives Cube's disgraced special forces guy a chance for redemption -- help him quell a plot against America -- and XXX: State of the Union (you have to love the title) is born. Stepping out of the Xander Xone allows for a purer read on the gunplay, speed, and fire. Similarly, State of the Union's soundtrack is less extreme sport metal/modern rock cocktail and more amplified hip-hop with rock tinges. It's still the music to a live-action video game. But XXX: State of the Union is at least a little more cohesive. J-Kwon's "Get XXX'd" is the lead single/theme song, sort of its own "Shake Ya Tailfeather." As a track, "XXX'd" is nowhere near the addictiveness of J's "Get Tipsy." But together with Petey Pablo and Ebony Eyez, he gives the Trackboyz' samey Dirty South production some zing. Ice Cube's "Anybody Seen the PoPo's?!" rides a tense rhythm, calls out Bill Cosby, and fires off a few choice lines ("Bloody-ass BBs pulled out your buttocks!"); Timbaland's production on "Here We Go" nods to the Neptunes; and "Oh No" is sharp and lyrical with strong work from Big Boi, Bubba Sparxxx, and scary-ass Killer Mike. The rapper/rocker collabo track has been an action movie cliché since Judgment Night, and State of the Union has its share. Korn and Xzibit pimp Public Enemy's "Fight the Power"; while Xzibit sounds hungry on the mike, everything else on the track -- including Jonathan Davis' vocal -- is way too sanitized. Likewise, a straight mash-up of Three Days Grace's "Just Like You" and Bonecrusher's "Wyle Out" (which also appears on its own) is a little unnecessary. And yet, both "Just Like Wylin'" and "Fight the Power" work in the context of XXX: State of the Union. Like the inclusion of Moby and Public Enemy's text-speak protest jam "MKLVFKWR," they show some creativity on the part of the soundtrack's compilers, who could've just tacked a hot single to a bunch of sound-alike drudgery.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus