I feel unprepared to write this review. Not because I didn’t see Waist Deep or I don’t exactly know what to talk about, but because I have not seen the other two theatrical releases by director Vondie Curtis-Hall, those being Gridlock’d and … drum roll please… Mariah Carey’s Glitter, a film I believe is considered by many to be one of the worst films of all time. My reason for mentioning this is that I have no way of telling whether or not Curtis-Hall is getting better, getting worse or staying on par with his past features. I can’t tell you whether he is better with a rapper, a diva or an R&B singer. It is obvious he has a preference of working with musicians turned actor (in this case two of them), but does he know what to do with them?
First off, Waist Deep is not a horrible movie… To go along with that it is not a great movie, and I can’t even call it good. What it does have is a decent premise and a sexy lady (Megan Good), and man-o-man is she sexy. Legs up to here and wrap them around there sexy. Nevertheless, after a satisfying start the film soon loses its way before its Shawshank Redemption of an ending.
We begin by meeting Otis, or O2 as he is referred to by those that know him because he is like Oxygen. Yup, Oxygen. I am saving the specifics on that doozy for those of you that go see this flick. Anyway, O2 is a single father, just got out of jail and is working as a security guard. One day after work, he picks up his son from school and soon becomes the victim of a car-jacking. Only problem is that his son is asleep in the backseat. This is where it gets good, at least for a few minutes.
What proceeds is a foot/car chase through the streets of Los Angeles that involves running, driving, crashing, shooting, more running and ultimately an empty street with O2 alone, minus one son and one car. Fortunately the hooker (Good) used to distract him, allowing the jackers to sneak up on him, is nearby and he chases her down and our story begins. It turns out taking the kid wasn’t a mistake as L.A. kingpin Meat (rapper The Game), yeah Meat, wants the $100,000 he thinks O2 has. Little does Meat know, not only is Meat a stupid name, but O2 doesn’t have the money anymore. Little does O2 know though, not only is O2 a stupid name, but he better get that cash in 24 hours or it is bye, bye Junior.
So, with the help of the hottest hooker ever, who wants to get out of the hooking life, they set out to break-in to houses, rob banks, steal from “associates” and whatever else it takes to get the cash to save the little man. Oh yeah, they also do their best to start a turf war between Meat and another local kingpin, but for some reason that plotline is abandoned and we never hear about it again after about 30 minutes.
Digging into the specifics, after that opening sequence it is pretty much downhill for no bigger reason than it is just boring. The only plus sides to the film are Good’s body and a mediocre performance by Larenz Tate as O2’s idiot cousin. I have loved Tate since Menace II Society and while he isn’t that good here, he is a breath of fresh air after watching Tyrese’s stale performance and watching The Game convince us that he should never be asked to do a movie again.
To compound the whole thing we have our director, Mr. Curtis-Hall. Someone needs to tell this guy to follow the action and once he finds it he needs to stick with it. I could hear one lady near me mumble under her breath that she couldn’t handle the movie after the first 10 minutes, she was too dizzy, and that is how it seemed. On top of that, someone should have told this guy that this was a Rogue Pictures release. Get your hands dirty; give us more of what the opening promised… How about a little grit? Instead we bounce around all over the place and never seem to find ourselves getting into the world this movie is set in. If he had taken lessons from Wayne Kramer’s Running Scared or even Jean-FranÃƒÂ§ois Richet’s remake of Assault on Precinct 13 we would have had a better picture.
Overall, the movie is a rental at best. The only way to see it is with a somewhat rowdy crowd, like I did, and hope there is someone with some sort of sense of humor to keep your attention. Oh yeah, the 60 year-old woman that sat next to me, the one that belched about three times during the picture, she was a really nice touch.
While I wanted Waist Deep to show me that Tyrese may have some actual chops, he came off as slightly better than 50 Cent in Get Rich or Die Tryin’, and that is far from a compliment.