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Cradle 2 the Grave

By Tom Siebert | Posted

A bottom-of-the-barrel gangsta/martial arts/family/buddy/action flick from the usually more reliable shoot-'em-up producer Joel Silver (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, The Matrix). Rapper DMX, well, er, "stars" isn't quite the right word, but he has the biggest part as Tony Fate, the principled leader of a crew of highly skilled jewel thieves. When his daughter is kidnapped, Fate is forced into an alliance with an unflappable Taiwanese intelligence officer (Jet Li) to rescue her, as well as recover a collection of mysterious black diamonds. It's no surprise that the dialogue sucks and the plot is totally predictable, but director Andrzej Bartkowiak (Exit Wounds, Romeo Must Die) even blows a bunch of potentially exciting action sequences by inexplicably editing between parallel events so that neither builds momentum. The acting isn't even laughably bad; it's flat and hollow from both top guys, who are the most charismatically challenged mismatch that I can think of in the history of rancid buddy teams. As a powerful mob boss, the uncredited Chi McBride (of television's Boston Public) is the only actor who realizes he is supposed to embody a character. If you can stick around for the credits, second bananas Tom Arnold and Anthony Anderson improvise a mildly funny bit.

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