xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
The detective in "The Caveman's Valentine" is a raving lunatic on his bad days, and a homeless man on a harmless errand on his good ones. Once he was a brilliant pianist, a student at Juilliard. Now he lives in a cave in a park. His dreadlocks reach down to his waist and his eyes peer out at a fearsome world. You'd be fearful, too, if your enemy lived at the top of the Chrysler Building and attacked you with deadly rays.
Romulus Ledbetter is one of Samuel L. Jackson's most intriguing creations, a schizophrenic with sudden sharp stabs of lucid thought and logical behavior, whose life is changed one day when the frozen body of a young man is found outside his cave in a city park. The police believe the man, a transient, froze to death. Romulus thinks he knows better, and his desire to unmask the real killer draws him out of his cave into a daring foray into the New York art world.
Romulus is not without connections. His daughter Lulu (Aunjanue Ellis) is a policewoman. But she is hardly convinced by his first suspect: his enemy in the Chrysler Building. By the time he discards that hypothesis and zeroes in on a fashionable photographer named Leppenraub (Colm Feore), it's too late for anyone to take him seriously--if they ever could have in the first place.
The challenge for Jackson and his director, Kasi Lemmons, is to make Romulus believable both as the caveman and as a man capable of solving a murder. Too much ranting and raving, and Romulus would repel the audience. Too much logic, and we don't buy him as mentally ill. Even the clothes and the remarkable hair have to be considered; this is not a man you would want to sit next to during a three-day bus trip, but neither does he tilt over into repellent grunge (like the aliens in "Battlefield Earth"). It's remarkable the way Jackson begins with the kind of character we'd avert our eyes from, and makes him fascinating and even likable.