Cradle to the Grave

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Like its title, "Cradle 2 the Grave" means absolutely nothing. Lacking sense or even attitude, this martial-arts action-adventure is basically a series of fight scenes strung together.

You know the drill: Rap plays on the soundtrack, and people kick one another in the head. Anything that moves is quickly commandeered for a chase scene; anything that doesn't move is eventually blown up, in slow motion.

Andrzej Bartkowiak is the director, and although he has a certain skill with this sort of train wreck -- he made "Exit Wounds," the only passable Steven Seagal movie in a decade -- there's not much he can do for "Cradle." Trying to paper over implausibilities with excess, he gets three fistfights going at once and intercuts among them.

DMX, who co-starred in "Exit Wounds," tries to make the move to mainstream action status. Taut as his tattooed triceps are, though, he still delivers lines as if they were groceries.

Jet Li, who was in Bartkowiak's "Romeo Must Die," plays the 007 from Taipei. Although the billing suggests he's the star, he remains an afterthought. Typical of Hollywood's treatment of Asian actors, the movie sees him only as workaholic cipher, the sexless action doll with a kung-fu grip. (Adding insult to insult, one character refers to him as "the Chinaman.")

There are a few lively action scenes. Li gets drawn into a no-holds-barred brawl that involves bone-crunching, groin-crushing and even a bit of dwarf-tossing; DMX takes an all-terrain-vehicle on a ride up flights of stairs and across roofs. And the film features what might be filmdom's first Death by Lobster Claw.

None of this excuses the script's absurdities -- things like jewel thieves equipped with anti-tank missiles -- or the lack of respect shown Li. The action film that begs to be made stars Li, Jackie Chan and Chow Yun-Fat taking on all the Hollywood agents, writers and directors who keep relegating them to supporting parts in the genre they helped invent.

Final Grade - D-

Prince Of All Saiyans
I agree with you 200%.
Jet Li is really being totally misused as a martial artist.
He gave an excellent performance in Lethal Weapon 4.

And now they want to star him in a Green Hornet movie as Kato, and talk abounded of a remake of Enter The Dragon. Now THAT's blasphemy.
It's sad that, as a whole. Asian actors are still taking back seat to Hollywood and it's endless supply of plastic charms.

Example: Bruce Lee was passed up for the Kung Fu TV series because they said he was 'too short and too Chinese.' Instead they gave the role to, guess who? And I've met David Carradine at conventions and he is one of the BIGGEST A-holes you will ever meet alongside of Adam West's PR agent.

It's apparent that Bruce Lee's breakthrough with Enter The Dragon was just the tip of the iceberg in the fight for Asian respect in Hollywood. The road is still very long.

Tuna's Avatar
I agree, I didn't even want to see this movie because i knew it would be like that. Loud rap with Jet Li having maybe 2 minutes of fighting and DMX stealing diamonds for 2 hours...Yay..They need more movies like Kiss of the Dragon. That was perfect.

Viscuoa's Avatar
Movie Explorer
The movie was alright or just plain good at best in my opinion.
I went and saw it the day it came out. I didn't expect anything major either, I already had a feeling that this wasn't gonna be as good as 'Kiss of the Dragon'.

DMX was alright but yeah I do agree with him trying to be all sad and **** turning out a bit lame.

However, I did like Jet Li fighting the UFC guys and Tom Arnold's humour and of course Kelly Hu just cause she's hot

The final fight scene should have lasted longer and should've ended a better way rather than a plutonium explosion...*don't wanna spoil anything in detail*

Anyway, I think Jet Li's best american movie is 'Kiss of the Dragon'. I know at least I liked that one better than this one.

I rented 'The Enforcer' a few days ago and man, the action in that movie kicks so much ass compared to any of Jet Li's american flicks. Hong Kong all the way.

Oh yeah, and I also had to watch 'Fist of Legend' just for the last fight scene...that scene lasted so long, that's how Jet Li's american flicks should be like...lasting long with lots of martial arts action.