Action / Martial Arts

Cradle 2 the Grave

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Iím a fan of Jet Li's films, so when I discovered that I could purchase two Jet Li films for the price of one, I jumped on the chance.  After all, one of the movies was Romeo Must Die and I loved that film.  So how bad could Cradle 2 the Grave be?  I decided to find out.

            Cradle 2 the Grave features DMX as Anthony Fait, a thief who leads a crew through a high-stakes heist at the Diamond Exchange.  Their goal is to extract some rare black diamonds for a very special customer, while still snatching enough loot to keep them in good money for quite some time.  Unfortunately, Anthony is about to learn that not everything is as it seems and he has been double-crossed.  Without the help of Taiwan Special Agent Su (Jet Li), Anthony will lose everything he holds dear, including his daughter.

            Okay, so the storyline is a bit used up, but the action in the film more than makes up for it.  Jet Li is the man when it comes to action and there is no denying that fact.  He doesnít have a great many lines in this film, but the whole fun of it is watching this man in action.

            Who would ever think that DMX would portray anything but a thug in this film.  Certainly not me - I mean, thatís the rapper image that he portrays in life, so it wouldnít be much of a stretch, right?  Well, DMX does play the role of a lawbreaker, but this is a thug with a heart.  He refuses to use weapons on any of his jobs, he saved his girlfriend, Daria (Gabrielle Union) from a life as a prostitute, and he loves his daughter, Vanessa (Paige Hurd), to no end.  Interesting, huh?  I would have never thought he could pull this off, but DMX has some expression as an actor.  True, much of what he does is yell and fight, but there is true caring in his expression when dealing with Vanessa.  There is a definite softening of that hard exterior in every scene in which the two are together.

            This movie pulls out all the stops where action is concerned.  First, we have the heist itself which is rather daring and includes a ride on top of a train.  Second, we have Jet Li scaling a building from the top floor down with no rope.  Then, there is fight scene after fight scene, one of which involving Jet Li in a cage with real-life members of the UFC (Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture and Chuck Lidell are just some of the guys in the cage with Li).  Thereís a car chase involving the police, a dirt biker and DMX on an ATV.  Thereís a fully operational tank.  Oh, and did I mention amazing fight scenes featuring Kelly Hu, Gabrielle Union, DMX, Jet Li and Marc Dacascos (who I havenít seen in an action setting since the television show, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven).

            The DVD version of Cradle 2 the Grave features three featurettes which explain the various stunts performed in the film and how having different camera angles available helped to make the action scenes more exciting and believable.  A DMX music video and cast and crew bios are also accessible through the DVD extras section.

            So, the verdict?  I bought this DVD for the film Romeo Must Die, but actually ended up with two exciting action films for the price of one.  Cradle 2 the Grave has tons of actions from fight scenes to vehicle chases to unbelievable stunts.  Any action film aficionado would be happy to add this film to their collection.


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