XXX: State of the Union

In this sequel to the 2002 spy thriller "XXX," rebel NSA agent Augustus Gibbons (Jackson) busts convict Darius Stone (Ice Cube) out of prison to become the newest XXX agent and help thwart an assassination plot against the president. With a small group of friends from the hood, and the support of the lone NSA agent who believes him, Stone takes on a nefarious military splinter group led by the Secretary of Defense (Dafoe).

  • Starring: Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Willem Dafoe, Scott Speedman
  • Director(s): Lee Tamahori
  • Producer(s): Neal H. Moritz, Arne Schmidt
  • Screenwriter(s): Simon Kinberg, Rich Wilkes
  • Distributor: Revolution Studios
  • Animal Coordinator: Mike Boyle
  • Release Date: Friday, April 29, 2005
  • Rating: Acceptable

Featured Animal Action

This production filmed on Murmur Farm, a 133-acre high-end thoroughbred breeding operation in a rural area of northern Maryland. All the horses used in filming were show horses accustomed to a large volume of activities. According to American Humane's Certified Animal Safety Representative on the set, the director and producer were very cooperative and requested that the representative "sign off" on any special effects, regardless of whether horses were included, since filming took place on a working horse farm and the production did not want to cause any harm to the animal actors or the horses in residence.

The film opens with shots of horses trotting, standing, and grazing in the soft light of dawn. Moments later, a man enters the stable area and passes several stalls with horses that whinny and mill about.

To capture this first footage unobtrusively, the camera crew set up outside the paddock and filmed the horses' natural actions against a beautiful backdrop of rolling hills. In preparation for the next part of the scene, the head wrangler checked out each stall for safety, and during filming several wranglers crouched down in the stalls with the horses to keep them still and near the stall doors and windows. Although guns are seen, these were fake and there was no gunfire.

Later in the paddock area, a group of commandos sets off explosive devices that bore into an underground bunker. Horses can be seen deep in the background. For this scene, special effects crew set up five mortars with .25 grains of gunpowder in each hole topped with mulch and grass clippings. On action, the mortars were detonated and the horses remained in the background 100 feet from the first mortar. The debris from the blast flew only 10 feet, and the noise level was mild enough that the horses did not require ear protection. In post-production, computer generated imagery (CGI) made the explosions look bigger and closer to the animals.

With Gibbons at the wheel, the souped-up muscle car hurtles out of the barn and sends a shower of splinters into the road. Two horses in the distant field run in the opposite direction. The horses in this pasture were actually a half mile away from the action and trainers had them run from point A to B to make it look like they were reacting to the crash.

During a reconnaissance mission at the farm, Gibbons uses a hand-held grenade launcher to blow up an agent's car while horses are seen in the pasture nearby. The car explosion occurred in the far background approximately a quarter-mile from the animals. The explosion was very soft and, according to American Humane's Certified Animal Safety Representative, went unnoticed by the horses that continued to investigate the new pasture, graze, and play. Grain was placed on the ground to keep the horses close to camera.

The horse-drawn carriage that briefly appears at Decker's funeral was stock footage purchased from Search Works.