At the movies… Slow Death

Cradle 2 the Grave
by Lauren Spitzer
1.5 Hatchets

Wow, kids, it’s a movie in which martial arts meets hip-hop – again. Director Andrzej Bartkowiak (Exit Wounds) gives another go at the action flick only to find himself tangled in a mess of confusing plot lines and consumed by a hopeless, ludicrous ending.

Cradle 2 The Grave meshes three or four subplots into an action film that needs only one simple story backed with fight scenes and stunts. Tony (DMX, Exit Wounds) and Su (Jet Li, Kiss of the Dragon) attempt to restore the film’s interest with intriguing fight scenes yet leave the audience with a question: who, or what, are they really fighting for?

What is most amusing is the ridiculous political subplot. It is discovered the black diamonds contained synthetic plutonium and have that ability to create a “new world order.” The characters now must defeat the villains and rescue Tony’s eight-year-old daughter, all while saving the world from mass destruction.

In an attempt to keep the kids happy and relay some laughs, Tony’s crew includes Archie (Tom Arnold, Nine Months) and Tommy (Anthony Anderson, Kangaroo Jack) as caricatures whom, as Archie says, “everybody likes.” Yet the simple dialogue delivered by the duo seems futile within the poorly- edited and choppy, unexplained scenes.

What leads the action film in the right direction is Su’s impressive martial arts mastery, combined with the natural strength of Tony.

Even after simultaneous fights between the female and male adversaries, Cradle falls short of delivering an effective and worthwhile action film, aside from Li’s renowned martial arts. Most of the time is spent trying to figure out the bad guy from the goo, and the characters’ role in the tangled web of diamonds. Third time was not a charm for director Bartkowiak’s martial arts/street fighting genre. This Cradle needs to accept its place in the grave and stay there.

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