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Fighting boredom

IF THE best thing about a martial arts movie is its soundtrack, you know that something must have gone wrong. The makers of Cradle to the Grave based their movie on a "hip-hop meets kung-fu" idea. But the clash of Western street culture and martial arts did not quite work out.
The two opposing and then collaborating sides are Jet Li as a Taiwanese cop named Su and rapper/actor DMX playing Tony, a gangster doing business on the black market. Su works for the secret service and is chasing a load of black diamonds that Tony has stolen for a "customer". What Tony does not know is that there are more people interested in the treasure because it can be used for the production of a nuclear weapon.


JET LI provides some action in this mediocre thriller.
photo:Continental Film

Cradle to the Grave

Starring: Jet Li, DMX, Mark Dacascos, Kelly Hu, Anthony Anderson
Directed by: Andrzej Bartkowiak
Running time: 100 min.
Rating: 2 out of 10

IF THE best thing about a martial arts movie is its soundtrack, you know that something must have gone wrong. The makers of Cradle to the Grave based their movie on a "hip-hop meets kung-fu" idea. But the clash of Western street culture and martial arts did not quite work out.

The two opposing and then collaborating sides are Jet Li as a Taiwanese cop named Su and rapper/actor DMX playing Tony, a gangster doing business on the black market. Su works for the secret service and is chasing a load of black diamonds that Tony has stolen for a "customer". What Tony does not know is that there are more people interested in the treasure because it can be used for the production of a nuclear weapon.

As a result, the criminal has to join forces with the lawman to find the vanished diamonds and to rescue his daughter, who has been kidnapped by one of the rival groups. Though the plot attempts to be elaborate, it is still overshadowed by the fighting scenes, in which you sometimes lose track of who is fighting whom and why.

The most disturbing element is the fact that you often get the feeling that you are watching a video game, not an action movie. Despite the fact that most of the actors, above all Jet Li, are experienced martial artists, the film is shot in a rather ridiculous way. Some of the most absurd scenes involve a 9-year-old driving a truck, a man getting out of a crushed helicopter unharmed, and one of the female characters finishing a battle with her hair and make-up as perfect as if she had just walked off the catwalk.

Some parts of Cradle to the Grave resemble r'n'b or hip-hop videos, with fancy cars, thick gold chains, hard bodies, and girls in sexy clothes shaking their butts.

Although it is an action movie, the film's energy comes not from the car races or the fighting but from its music - by Eminem, Foxy Brown, and DMX. However, the music is not going to save you from boredom.

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