Cradle 2 the Grave
2 out of 5 stars
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Director Bartkowiak combines the stars of his last two films--Jet Li from Romeo Must Die, DMX from Exit Wounds--for this action thriller that keeps our attention but has nothing remotely meaningful in it. Tony (DMX) and his gang (Anderson, Union and Drag-On) have just completed a massive heist in L.A. when they're undermined by Taiwanese cop Su (Li). But he's not the real enemy, and soon they're all working together with a goofy arms dealer (Arnold) to track down some rare black diamonds. The forces of evil include the vile Ling (Dacascos) and his sidekick Sona (Hu), who kidnap Tony's daughter (Hurd), apparently just to make things more interesting.

At least it looks good. Bartkowiak has a way with the camera that keeps the images fresh and interesting. On the other hand, the film is atrociously edited, chopping up the action sequences to cut back and forth between two or three scenes and losing the momentum in each one in the process. This is a bit irritating because some of the scenes are quite fun to watch, even though most are ludicrously contrived and essentially irrelevant to the plot (such as Li battling a room full of Ultimate Fighters for no reason at all). The whole film is fairly irrelevant, actually. None of the characters or settings are remotely believable, so you just sit back and watch it all rush past, explode, and so on. The fight scenes are well staged in a choreographed sort of way. The storyline is ridiculously stupid, ending exactly as you knew it would. And then there's the funny bit worth sitting through the end credits for. By the time you get outside the cinema you can hardly remember anything about the film at all.

cert 15 themes, violence, language 10.Mar.03

dir Andrzej Bartkowiak
scr John O'Brien, Channing Gibson
with Jet Li, DMX, Anthony Anderson, Tom Arnold, Gabrielle Union, Mark Dacascos, Kelly Hu, Drag-On, Paige Hurd, Chi McBride, Paolo Seganti, Michael Jace
release US 28.Feb.03; UK 28.Mar.03
Warners
03/US 1h40

It could happen: After surviving a helicopter crash, Dacascos faces off against Li in a ring of fire while water showers down on them...

li x union
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send your review to Shadows... bad 2 the bone Asaad, Peterborough: 4.5/5 "I think this is a brilliant movie, was watching on dvd a while back and i liked it so much that i bought 1 copy on dvd 2. This is a film for people who like action movies. Its 1 of the best movies i seen in ages." (12.Jan.06)
2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall

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