xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
There's a kitchen fight in "Central Intelligence" pitting a man with a butcher knife against a man with a banana. The man with the banana wins. I love scenes like this, where the movie seems to be saying, "This is the kind of movie I am—the kind where you can kill a man with a banana. Enjoy." And you do.
The film is a buddy action comedy in the vein of "The In-Laws" and "Midnight Run," with a splash of 1930s movie slapstick. Kevin Hart plays Calvin Joyner, a deadpan worrywart who was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" in high school. He has a good job and a charming wife but still feels like a failure. Dwayne Johnson plays his old high school classmate, Robert Weirdicht, aka Bob Stone, a bullied fat kid who grew up to become a muscular CIA agent but still wears a fanny pack and can't stop talking about "Sixteen Candles." Bob is six-foot-four and built like an action figure, which comes in handy in scenes that require him to do battle with a nunchacku-wielding assassin on a motorbike, or pirouette through a battle zone tossing tiny explosives from his fanny pack like Bugs Bunny as Brünnhilde strewing flower petals in her wake.
Bob says he just wants to hang out with Calvin, the only guy in high school who was ever nice to him, on the eve of their 20th high school reunion. He's secretly a renegade agent accused of killing his partner and committing treason, and he needs Calvin's accounting expertise to thwart a terrorist plot and clear his name. But his adoration of Calvin is sincere. He loves Calvin the way little kids love superheroes. Worships him. Adores him.
He tells Calvin he needs his help and asks if he's out or in. Calvin says he's not in. Bob says he's in, that he was always in. Calvin wants to know why Bob asked him if he was in or out if he was always in regardless. Bob says it's because he wanted to feel the pride and excitement of hearing Calvin tell him he's in. "I'm not in," Calvin says. He says this again and again, all through the movie: "I'm not in." He screams it while Bob is pushing him in a mail cart through a hail of gunfire and telling him to relax, everything's gonna be fine. This is their relationship.