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Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)

R 100 minutes

Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak
Written by John O\\\'Brien, Channing Gibson, Reggie Rock Bythewood

 · Jet Li
 · DMX
 · Tom Arnold

Review by Thom Stricklin

How many people saw this movie just because they liked the DMX song in the trailer? Let's see a show of hands.

I can't figure out what else the selling point for this film could be. Rapper meets martial arts star? It could work, I guess. And with Cradle 2 the Grave, I suppose it does, though it makes no attempts at greatness.




There's not much to the plot here. A band of theives get caught up in an international smuggling ring and must risk life and limb to save one of their own, not to mention the world. Yeah, we've seen it before. It plays relatively low-key, however, only going over-the-top for comedic purposes (namely Tom Arnold). By the end, however, it starts to fall apart... The task becomes less about world salvation and more about how they can get a half-dozen separate fights taking place at the same time.




Cradle 2 the Grave does manage to remain pretty entertaining, however, thanks largely to good visual directing. The stunts and action sequences are all filmed quite well, as realistic as possible, which invests the audience better than any half-baked Rap-fu storyline could. What stands out the most is Jet Li's cage fight scene. Picture an oriental guy taking on a dozen or more strapping redneck brutes, not to mention a pissed off midget who'd make a good match for Mini-Me, and you have an idea what the scene is like: solid Jet Li fighting, with an edge of humor that I imagine Jackie Chan wished he'd thought of.

Speaking of humor, I enjoyed comic relievers Tom Arnold and Anthony Anderson better than anything else in this flick. Bartkowiak should just bite the bullet and put the duo in a film of their own. They make an unlikely but hilarious pairing, so much so that the audience wouldn't really care what the film was about. Hey, it worked for this film.



Cradle 2 the Grave isn't a must-see film, but if you can't get enough of east-meets-west action you should give it a try, at least when it comes to video.

351 Words Published: 14 March 2003

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