Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, starring Jet Li, DMX, Anthony Anderson, Kelly Hu, Tom Arnold, Mark Dacascos, Paige Hurd and Gabrielle Union.
What do a kung fu master, a rapper and an eight-year-old have in common? Answer: none of them are actors. But luckily for Jet Li, DMX and Paige Hurd, 'Cradle 2 The Grave' is not the kind of film that relies on acting ability.
'Cradle 2 The Grave' is primarily about kicking people. That and riding quad bikes up stairs, crashing through windows, blowing up helicopters, jumping off sky-scrapers, swallowing weapons-grade plutonium and stabbing people in the back of the head with nasty spikes. Here comes the plot: Tony Fait, a thief with a heart of gold (DMX) robs some jewels that aren't what they seem. Taiwanese intelligence agent Su Duncan (Li) hits town to get the jewels back off him. Before you can say, "you and me are alike in many ways", the two of them are teaming up against a collection of villains ranging from a Suge Knight lookalike to a boss/nerd/fox trio of Asian arms-dealers. Meanwhile Archie (Arnold), the film's only white character, pops up to burble inane 'comic relief' from time to time. Soon Fait's daughter Vanessa is swiped by the arms dealers, leading to some choice sentimentality. "You're crazy," accuses someone. "I'm a father," snarls DMX.
Inadvertent comedy is the highlight of 'Cradle 2 The Grave'. "You won't have to fight," says Arnold as he and Li go undercover as manager and scrapper in a cage-fighting den. Yeah right. Before long, 15 assorted scumbag ultimate fighters have had their internal organs crushed and bones broken courtesy of Jet Li, whose acting inspiration is part Takeshi 'Beat' Kitano, part Roger Moore.
A few homophobic routines and a tragically curtailed Gabrielle Union striptease round off this testosterone orgy. The whole caper screams of a wet Tuesday. 'Cradle 2 The Videoshop'.