xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Godard said that one way to criticize a movie is to make another movie. "Pariah," a raw and unblinking look at the skinhead subculture, is a movie I'd like to show to those admirers of "Fight Club" who have assured me of their movie's greatness. This is the real thing, with the implicit skinhead doom-worship of "Fight Club" made visible. Its characters don't take the high road in rejecting straw targets like "consumerism," but the low road, in rejecting everything outside their small, infected circle of hate. The movie understands that it's not what you reject that defines you, but the act of rejection--the very decision to scorn and offend. "Fight Club" is "Pariah" made palatable.
To be sure, the demented subjects of "Pariah" are racists, and the heroes of "Fight Club" are not. But there are scenes in "Pariah" that look uncannily like scenes in "Fight Club," except that they are uglier, more violent and more brutal. And the group dynamic is similar: Society is corrupt, so we will set ourselves against society, behaving in such a way that citizens will fear and hate us.
"Pariah" takes place within a Los Angeles neighborhood that is mostly devoid of ordinary people. Everyone seems to live by violence and fear. If the skinheads attack gays and attempt the murder of a transvestite in a park--well, there is a gay gang, too, to pound the skinheads with baseball bats. And if white gangs attack interracial couples because the woman is black, black gangs attack them because the man is white. When not enforcing their dating theories, the gangs fight with each other.
As the film opens, we meet Steve (Damon Jones), a peaceable white guy who dates a black woman (Elexa Williams). They are attacked by skinheads in a parking garage, and he is beaten and then made to watch while she is raped. He attempts to comfort her, in an observant if somewhat awkward scene, but she is beyond comfort. Rage then transforms Steve into an instrument of vengeance, and he becomes a skinhead, tattooed, belted and booted, and joins the gang that attacked them. He wants revenge, especially against David Lee (David Lee Wilson), who led the attack, and Crew (David Oren Ward), the pack's top dog.