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  • Cradle 2 the Grave
    • Cradle 2 the Grave
    • Runtime:101 min
    • Release Date:2014-04-24 03:59:34
    • Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak
    • Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Cradle 2 the Grave
Auhtor:

   

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Cradle 2 the Grave is set in Los Angeles & starts as a team of
professional hi-tech thieves lead by Anthony Fait (DMX) carry out a
daring robbery on a top security underground vault used to store
valuable diamonds. Fait & his team are after very specific black
diamonds which he has been told by his contact are worth a fortune (&
all the other millions of $'s worth of diamonds aren't?). However it
seems that the black diamonds are in fact mini nuclear weapons that
evil Taiwanese baddie Yao Ling (Mark Dacascos) wants to sell to the
highest bidder & kidnaps Fait's young daughter Vanessa (Paige Hurd) to
try & blackmail Fait into giving them back but the black diamonds have
been stolen so he doesn't have them. Fait has no option but to team up
with Taiwanese secret service officer Su (Jet Li) in order to get
Vanessa back & get the black diamonds & save the world…

Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak this is the third & final film in his
loosely connected action trilogy coming after Romeo Must Die (2000)
also staring Jet Li & the Steven Seagal flick Exit Wounds (2001) which
also starred the man named after a make of bike DMX, oh I'm sorry
that's BMX isn't it? Right where do I start? First of all I have to
admit to rather enjoying Cradle 2 the Grave for what is, basically a
loud flashy Hollywood action flick that ignores realism & plot & goes
for the wow factor. There are a couple of things that really stand out
about Cradle 2 the Grave for me, first the story is so poor & weak it's
untrue. There's no real plot to speak of, just a loosely connected
precession of overblown ever more outrageous action set-pieces. The
second thing are those action set-pieces which are often marvellously
entertaining, from quad bike chases through Los Angeles to spectacular
fight scenes to exploding helicopters to daring heists to shoot-outs to
all sorts of vehicular mayhem & carnage the one thing that Cradle 2 the
Grave delivers is on the action front. How can I hate a film that has
so many cool action scenes & moves along like a rocket? I can't. Sure
the story is secondary, the character's are bland apart from Tom
Arnold's funny performance as Archie & there are some seriously
questionable moments storytelling wise (someone killing an inmate in
prison & then just walking out, how did DMX get out of the car park
after his escape by quad bike through Los Angeles since it was
surrounded by police & DMX knows where the black diamonds are because
he can 'feel' it) but it's entertaining & passes 100 odd minutes. Keep
watching as the end credits play since there's a comedy sketch between
Tom Arnold & Anthony Anderson just like they did at the end of Exit
Wounds & actually end up making a cheeky little reference to that film
& director Bartkowiak.

Like most of Jet Li's US output there's plenty of martial arts fights &
I would have thought there would have been plenty of wire removal
during post production. The fights are well choreographed & often look
very flashy. There's car chases, plenty of crashes, bangs, shoot-outs,
explosions & action scenes. The film has a fairly light hearted tone
with some comic relief & it's nowhere near as gritty or violent as say
a Die Hard (1988) for instance. The film looks very flashy with nice
camera moves & angles, the hip-hop rap style music irritated me though.

According to the IMDb this had a budget of about $25,000,000 which
doesn't sound a lot by Hollywood blockbuster standards at all, in fact
there's a lot of action on screen here for a relatively low budget if
that is the case. Apparently main villain Mark Dacascos was cast in
Cradle 2 the Grave after a poll on Jet Li's website asked fans to vote
who they would like to see Li fight & Dacascos won which is somewhat
surprising. I would have voted for Pee-Wee Herman! Li isn't a great
actor & when he isn't fighting he just sort of stands around here &
barely says a word. A special mention for Tom Arnold here who puts in a
very funny performance.

Cradle 2 the Grave is a very entertaining Hollywood action flick & if
that's what your looking for then I suppose it delivers in spades but
if your looking for any sort of tight exciting story or character's to
care about then forget it. Overall I liked it.

|||

Yes, you heard it right. A movie with Jet Li, DMX, and Tom Arnold. And
yes, of the three, Tom Arnold was the worst. He tried to be funny, but
sometimes he just didn't fit in – just like Christ Rock in Lethal
Weapon 4.

The premise is simple. A new 'stone" stored in a bank vault is a new
sort of way to carry nuclear material. One group accidentally runs
across it while in a heist, another tries to kill for it, and Jet Li
tries to stop them both.

Problem when thinking about this movie was that: nuclear material, no
matter how sophisticated it is made, will still give off nuclear
radiation. Yet, it is treated almost like any other valuable rock with
almost no safety precautions.

Then there is the dumb ending, with Jet Li taking the rocks and a
non-conclusion on all the robberies by DMX and his crew. Fortunately,
Jet Li is a good actor and an even better action star, so he good to
keep the action nice. But everything else was average at best. "C+"

|||

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Okay, so Jet Li is always at the top of his game. He has a list of good
films under his belt ( Once Upon a Time in China series, Black Mask,
Hit-man, Legend of the Swordsman, The Bodyguard from Beijing, Lethal
Weapon 4, Hero, Danny the Dog, Born to Defence, Fearless, Fong-Sai Yuk,
High Risk ) and some real stinkers ( My Father is a Hero, Doctor Wai &
the Scripture w/ No Words, The Master, The One, Romeo Must Die, Kiss of
the Dragon ).

Rapper-Actor DMX is once again his co-star ( he had a brief role in
"Romeo" ) and doesn't speak that much, but when he does it is often
some 'ghetto' speech and/or expletive that isn't funny nor is it
meaningful to the script in any way. Fromer Cinematographer/Director
Andrez Bartoziak ( he directed the lame "Romeo" ) inserts anything
gratuitous that he can find. This ranges from a sexy striptease by
Gabriel Union to extra blood. The plot is almost non- existent and you
just might forget what it's supposed to be about if you go to sleep out
of boredom.

Rap and Pop music is churned out now and then, but it has no meaning in
this movie. Mark Dascascos is given hardly any character development;
Kelly Hu ( The Scorpion King ) is just a bad-girl who's bad for no
reason and ends up in a girl fight just because she can. Tom Arnold and
Anthony Anderson are literally the only saving graces in this entire
film due to their delicate sense of humor and timing, but they have no
real place in the story either besides helping our unlikeable heroes
help defeat their enemies with a tank ( Where'd they get a tank?) and
near the end of the movie, after Jet Li defeats Dascoscos in a
unrealistic "boss fight" w/ some nuclear crystal thing ( ? ), Arnold &
Anderson comment on how they should get the the entire cast and film
crew together to make a film where they are the stars and then they
comment on what the film should have really been like ! It's like they
intentionally made a bad film on purpose, even though this wasn't going
to make as much money as BAD BOYS II or THE MATRIX
RELOADED/REVOLUTIONS.

So in the end, it's like this film was trying to be a parody of itself
and other Action/Adventure movies, but didn't really convey it's
message ( which there is none to be found ) really well. It's just
passable and if you want to see the end credits for free, then you can
just go to online to "YouTubeDotCom."

Also, this director made other bad movies like "Exit Wounds" and
"Doom." Avoid him in the future if you want quality !

|||

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

China and Hong Kong aren't the only countries that can make cheap
martial arts flicks. That's what Cradle 2 The Grave is. It's one of
those "watch just for the action" type movies.

The plot is extremely unrealistic at times. First off, Tom Arnold is a
black market type dealer from the streets. How the heck did he get
ahold of an M1 tank and why was he trying to sell to DMX? Wouldn't
people be suspicious when they saw that thing rolling down the streets
doing a drive by? Then he claims that guys who robbed him had special
guns even he couldn't get. If you can get a tank, you can get anything.
Also, there is a big-time crime lord gangster who's in jail. Thing is,
he lives like a king there. His cell looks like an apartment, he's got
a cook, he's got two guards who even deliver mail to him, and he's
still running his business. There's some other ones but I won't name
them all.

This is how the story goes: DMX is Tony Fait, a small-time yet somewhat
brilliant thief who's got a few friends in a gang with him. One of them
is his girlfriend. He tries to be a "good" bad guy with his no gun
policy. During a heist where he is stealing black diamonds for someone
else, Jet Li gets in the way. Fait ends up barely escaping with the
black stones. Fait goes to Tom Arnold, an underworld dealer, and gives
him the stones to analyze them. However, the stones are stolen by a big
gang run by the jail gangster. Then the man who originally laid out the
plans to get the stones kidnaps Faits daughter and demands the stones.
Fait reluctantly teams up with Jet Li to rescue his child.

Although Jet Li's name is first on the movie cover, there is no way he
is the lead role. He lacks not only the speaking lines, but just
on-screen time in general.

The action is a step up from Romeo must die. There is not that much
wire-fu in this movie. However, Jet Li doesn't really have a whole lot
of fighting time in this flick. In the beginning he has two brief
one-on-one encounters. Then he briefly helps DMX in a fight. The main
fight is when he takes on the 20 cage fighters in the underworld
fighting club. The fighting was occasionally fake and weird, but not
too bad. Jet's climactic fight with Mark Dascascos was pretty good,
although they cut in and out of it too many times. As for DMX, he is
good at times in the fight sequences, but his martial arts is obviously
fake.

If you are a major Jet Li fan like me, then see this movie and admire
it for what it is. It is a cheap budget, low production, chopsocky
Hollywood martial arts flick.

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