The action-franchise “xXx,” about daredevil athletes who become super-agents, has always seemed like Vin Diesel’s side project, the occasional solo album without his “Fast and Furious” band. The “xXx” movies allow Diesel, who plays the adrenaline junkie Xander Cage, to hog even more attention, more women and more script pages. Like its two predecessors, “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” isn’t nearly as good as a “Fast and Furious” film, partly because it doesn’t have the top talent and high budget, but also because it doesn’t feel like a team effort.

There are other actors here, of course. As in the “Furious” films, they’ve been curated for maximum ethnic and international appeal. The males, who mostly take a back seat to Diesel, include martial-arts star Tony Jaa (“Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior”), Scotland’s Rory McCann as a thug named Tennyson Torch and Donnie Yen (“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) as Xiang, a rogue agent with lightning-fast fists. Slightly more interesting are the women: Nina Dobrev as oversexed techie Becky, Deepika Padukone as idealistic Serena and Ruby Rose (TV’s “Orange Is the New Black”) as gay sniper Adele Wolff, arguably the film’s only fresh idea.

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As for the plot: The “xXx” team has splintered into factions chasing a satellite-hacking device called Pandora’s Box. It’s actually the same plot we just saw in “Fast and Furious 7,” which called the same gizmo The God’s Eye. Running the operation is government sourpuss Jane Marke (Toni Collette), taking over for Samuel L. Jackson’s jocular Gibbons (though he appears, too).

Director D.J. Caruso piles on the loud noises and rock music, but he can’t cover up for F. Scott Frazier’s low-reading-level screenplay. The action lacks even minimal plausibility (downhill skiing . . . through a rain forest?) and the one-liners sound like T-shirt slogans. “The good, the bad, the extreme and the totally insane,” says Xander, appraising his team. “Is she always this much fun, or only on special occasions?” he says with a sidelong glance at Marke. Then there’s that old three-fingered salute, “Read between the lines.”

With even halfway-decent material, Diesel’s substantial charisma might not feel so thinly stretched. “The Return of Xander Cage” may please his die-hard fans, but others should wait until he gets the band back together for “The Fate of the Furious,” aka “Fast and Furious 8.”