Cradle 2 the Grave


Cradle 2 the Grave
Jet Li as Su
DMX as Tony Fait
Mark Dacascos as Ling
Anthony Anderson as Tommy
Kelly Hu as Sona
Gabrielle Union as Daria
Tom Arnold as Archie
Paige Hurd as Vanessa
Chi McBride

“Cradle 2 The Grave” suffers from a boring rapper as the lead, a generic plot, and bad rap music. However, some great action and humor make the movie fun and worth checking out.

Tony Fait is the leader of a group of thieves. Highly trained and professional, they follow a code of honor in which they don’t carry guns and they only steal from other criminals. Their latest target is a set of “black diamonds” in a heavily guarded safe. They successfully steal them, but fall into trouble when they discover just how many people want the diamonds. Hot on their trail is Su, a secret agent for the Taiwanese government.

When Fait’s buyer is killed and a rival gang steals the diamonds, he realizes just how much trouble he’s in. When Ling, the owner of the diamonds, arrives on the scene and demands their return, things go from bad to worse. Ling kidnaps Fait’s daughter and holds her hostage until the diamonds are returned. Fait must team up with Su in order to get the diamonds back and save his daughter. Little does he know the fate of the world relies on his success or failure.

“Cradle 2 The Grave” is rated R for some violence, language, and some sexual content.

What Worked:
I went into this movie not expecting much. I was expecting bad acting from a rapper, loud rap music, a weak plot, and a bunch of mindless action. I was right. Fortunately, thrown into the mix were some much needed humor, some really impressive fight sequences, and even more humor. The combination made “Cradle 2 The Grave” worth checking out.

This film has one of the coolest, best edited fights scenes I’ve seen in a while. There’s a moment where everything that can go wrong for our heroes does go wrong. Jet Li’s character gets thrown into a cage match fight with 11 fighters and a dwarf martial arts expert. He has to fight them all just to get out alive. Intercut with these scenes is a chase between DMX’s character on a stolen ATV, most of the Los Angeles cops, and the guy he stole the ATV from. It’s quite funny to see the guy whose vehicle is stolen get ticked off and chase him down. You know you’re having a bad day when that happens. The two scenes are edited into one of the most fun, energetic action scenes I’ve seen in a while.

While DMX and the other lead stars aren’t particularly noteworthy, they do have an impressive supporting cast. Mark Dacascos (“Brotherhood of the Wolf”) is pretty cool as Ling. He seems to be more than a match for Jet Li and has some pretty impressive moves of his own in the final battle. Kelly Hu (“The Scorpion King,” “X2”) looks pretty and acts tough as Sona. However, the real scene stealers are Anthony Anderson (“Kangaroo Jack’) and Tom Arnold (“True Lies”, Roseanne’s ex). These two guys provide much needed comic relief for the movie and really elevate it above your generic action film. They have a particularly funny ad-lib that runs through the entire credits that you’ll want to see.

If you’re looking for a dumb popcorn flick and some mindless entertainment, “Cradle 2 The Grave” may fit the bill.

What Didn’t Work:
This film is obviously not intended to be fine cinema, but it had a few problems that, if fixed, could have made it an excellent film as opposed to an OK one. First off, DMX is as stiff as a board. He has no personality at all and you never really feel sympathetic with him or close to his character. I think there are a lot of better actors out there who could have played Fait better and possibly made the character part of a franchise. Jet Li is obviously the straight man, but he’s pretty boring as well. About the only time he’s interesting is when he’s kicking butt. Fortunately, he does that often. I would have liked to see a little more life in him, though.

If you hate rap, you’ll hate this soundtrack. I hate rap. I hated this soundtrack. The opening scenes featuring Eminem music blaring really turned me off initially. Fortunately it got better from there, but there were numerous follow up numbers. Your enjoyment will depend on your own personal music tastes.

Other than these gripes, “Cradle 2 The Grave” is an enjoyable enough film. You get what you see in the commercials.