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MOVIES
Bond vs. Cage
Does the Masterspy have to worry about a young upstart?

by S.E. Shepherd
October 3, 2002

Bond vs. Cage_S.E. Shepherd-Does the Masterspy have to worry about a young upstart? Recently I wrote a review of “XXX” for the Partial Observer. In that review, I called Xander Cage the “anti-James Bond.” While that perception still holds true, I now like to think that Xander Cage is really the son (perhaps illegitimate son) of James Bond. And to paraphrase the old car commercials, “this is not your father’s James Bond.”

To Xander Cage, James Bond is that dorky dad (authority figure) that doesn’t have a clue in what is cool. And like the too-hip son, when Cage realizes what his “dad” actually does, James Bond, and the Bond-like characters become “cool.”

To the Gen-X and Gen-Y crowd, Bond is kind of a dork. He wears stuffy tuxedos everywhere; he’s always well dressed; he’s a “company” man. He works for “Queen and country,” and his gripes about his position are mainly kept to himself. He believes in his causes, and as younger people fear, he buys into the company line.

Xander Cage, however, is a rebel. He doesn’t listen to authority, and challenges conventional wisdom at any and every chance. Cage did not choose his profession; the profession chose him. He does not fight for his country, but rather because he was suckered into it. If he had his way, Cage would continue to be an outlaw, doing wild stunts and defying authority.

But here’s where things get tricky, Cage LIKES doing all the spy stuff. There’s something about serving his country that’s kind of cool. And maybe Bond isn’t so stuffy after all. Sure, he seems like he’s all straight-laced, but isn’t there a bit of rebel in him too? Isn’t he cocky, arrogant, self-assured? Doesn’t he sometimes think he knows better than M, and doesn’t he kind of do his own thing, going against the powers that be?

If James Bond and Xander Cage sat down at a table together, they would hate each other. Cage would see a smug, stuffed shirt, know-it-all, who thinks he’s better than everyone else. Bond would see an arrogant punk, who smells bad and doesn’t have a clue on how to dress. Yet, if stuck on a mission together, I think they would find they worked well together. Of course, it would be like the “Odd Couple” becoming spies.

With all the “buddy-cop” movies surely a Cage and Bond collaboration would be successful. Would the Bond producers/owners ever consent to such a movie? The XXX franchise would have to be a lot more successful, and even then, I highly doubt it.

Given a choice, I think I would still rather be James Bond. Maybe that shows my age a bit, or maybe I’m more of a snob than I choose to admit. Maybe Bond just seems to know what he’s doing more. Perhaps with time, XXX’s Xander Cage will become as endearing a the superspy Bond.

Until then, hand me a Walther PPK, rev up the Aston Martin, and make me a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. Junior’s got some growing up to do.

About the Author:
The name is Shepherd, S.E. Shepherd. And I once dated a girl named Ivana Dooyu.


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