Cradle 2 The Grave (2003)
Main cast: Jet Li (Su), DMX (Tony Fait), Anthony Anderson (Tommy), Kelly Hu (Sona), Tom Arnold (Archie), Mark Dacascos (Ling), and Gabrielle Union (Daria)
Director: Andrzej Bartkowiak

Jet Li, I love you, you sexy puglisitic hot stud you. But if you're that hard up for money, I suggest you come over to my place and do the housework instead. I'll pay you generously. At least that will give your story a better happy ending than what Cradle 2 The Grave might - will - do to your career.

This movie is truly terrible. There's no entertainment value, no campy fun, not even riveting fight scenes. The story, if you must know, is our thief Tony Fait and his accomplices (among them poor Gabrielle Union - what happened, hon?) stealing some black diamonds that turn out to be some sort of tiny weapons of mass destruction. DMX encounters our Taipei agent Su who is also after the diamonds. But Su isn't the only one wanting the diamonds. Ling wants it too and in case Fait doesn't get the message, his people kidnap Fait's kid for good measure. So Fait, Su, and the underground weapon supplier Archie plus Daria all band together to find the bad guys.

The camerawork is annoying in that it never allows me, the audience, to appreciate Li's fancy leg and fist work. Bartkowiak is a twit who seems to assume that the more he hires epileptic cameramen, the more exciting his movie will be. That guy seems to miss the point of most Hong Kong action movies he plunders his ideas from: the audience must be able to watch and appreciate the pugilist in action. The pugilist soars and the camera follows. Not the pugilist chasing after the camera!

It's a pity that the martial arts movie scene in Hong Kong is pretty much dead. Hollywood is killing the likes of Jet Li and Mark Dacascos whom the niche is tailor-made for. If watching dull, badly-made rubbish like Cradle 2 The Grave is the best Hollywood can offer Jet Li, please, Jet, come over and clean my fridge instead, okay?

To see Jet Li and believe that the man actually is a decent actor, I'd suggest taking a look at this year's flawed but still watchable Chinese movie Hero.

Rating: 40

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