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Rated 3.02 stars
by 1160 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Hip-Hop Ho-Hum
by Jeffrey Chen

My friends and I were wondering why this movie ended up with the title Cradle 2 the Grave. There's certainly nothing in the plot hinting at the reason. After giving it more thought, I believe I finally found the answer -- it's a warning. Cradle 2 the Grave threatens either to put you to sleep or bore you to death.

I like my action movies as much as the next guy, but I have my standards. Make the fights creative, make the chases interesting, and don't let the story get in the way so much. Cradle 2 the Grave, another entry in the hip-hop-kung-fu-fusion genre, violates even these simple rules -- we get two main action sequences, but otherwise it's plot, plot, plot. Once in a while, Jet Li takes out a few people by dodging and blocking their attacks, then smacking them twice and ending the fight. Otherwise, it's ho-hum city.

The first main action sequence occurs midway through the movie. It's laborious in its set-up, silly in its execution, and not that big a deal to miss unless you specifically want to see Jet Li beat up a midget while fighting a horde of musclemen, or have an urge to watch DMX (or his stunt double) jump from rooftop to rooftop on an ATV. All-in-all, it's pretty forgettable -- not nearly as memorable as, say, the scene with the hose in Romeo Must Die.

The last action sequence is the finale, naturally, and it's mostly corny, although it briefly features tanks and helicopters. It concludes with three parallel one-on-one battles, featuring Jet Li in another fire-and-rain battle, DMX fighting no one particularly famous, and Gabrielle Union fighting Kelly Hu. Yes, you read that correctly. By the way, Union wins. (And you read that correctly, too.)

Collectively, the two action sequences amount to a shoulder-shrug, but they are still the only things worth seeing if this movie must be seen at all. Therefore, I'll do a favor for those who choose to wait for the video by describing what happens in between the action stuff -- so they can fast-forward through it. I was hoping MaryAnn Johanson, The Flick Filosopher, would do one of her famous script parodies on this one, but since she didn't, I'll offer my version.

The set-up: DMX steals some black diamonds, which are then stolen from him. MARK DACASCOS wants the diamonds and has kidnapped DMX's daughter to extort them from DMX. JET LI is a cop from Taiwan, trying to recover the diamonds.

JET LI: The diamonds are not what you think.

DMX: I don't care what happens! I just want my daughter back. Let's go, gang! Faith.




MARK DACASCOS, on the phone to DMX: Hear that? It's your daughter.

DAUGHTER: Daddy! Daddy! I want my daddy!

KELLY HU: I hate little girls! Can we kill her yet?

BIG BALD THUG: Yeah, can we?

DMX: I'm coming, sweetie! Have faith!

DAUGHTER clutches the necklace DMX gave her. Angelic music plays.

LI: Where shall we go next?

DMX: I don't care! I'm just doing this for my daughter!

DAUGHTER: I want my daddy!

HU: Can we kill her yet? Pleeeease???

TOM ARNOLD and ANDERSON intervene with racially-based humor while making idiots of themselves. As usual. DMX then goes after the third party who stole the diamonds.

DMX: Don't mess with me! I'm an angry father! Didn't anyone tell you not to mess with an angry father?!?

LI: I don't feel like fighting right now, but they made me do it.

(Insert first main action sequence.)

DAUGHTER: I want my daddy!

HU: Shut up! I hate little girls!


DAUGHTER clutches her necklace. Angelic music plays.

DMX: I'm doing this for my daughter!

LI: Why are you doing this again?

DMX: They messed with the wrong father! Did I mention I was doing this for my daughter?

DACASCOS: These diamonds really contain plutonium or something, and we will sell them to the highest bidder!

DMX: I don't care! I'm coming for my daughter!

(Insert final action sequence.)

GOOD GUYS: We did it.

DMX: Never underestimate the love of a father. Faith.

UNION: Faith.



LI: I'm going home.

DMX clutches DAUGHTER. Angelic music plays.


(Released by Warner Bros. and rated "R" for violence, language and some sexual content.)

Review also posted on www.windowtothemovies.

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