Cradle 2 the Grave

Bomb Rating: 

(Sorry, but SPOILERS again. Revealing spoilers often becomes necessary when a movie tries to use its own stupidity as an excuse to prevent critics from talking about its ending.)

This movie has Tom Arnold in it. That alone should provide half the U.S. population a good reason not to go anywhere near a theater showing this film. He's the "comic relief." Tom Arnold is to comedy what Osama Bin Laden is to globalization.

"Cradle 2 the Grave" plods along in a not-so-horrible fashion as an action film, but then the filmmakers get to the end, are forced to rely on their limited brainpower, and suddenly the movie implodes like a stopped up toilet. Imagine that you're having a perfectly good bowel movement. Everything feels pretty good. You finish. Then when you go to flush the toilet the pipes begin to gurgle and the entire thing starts bubbling up until everything that was in the toilet is suddenly on the floor. That's what the end of "Cradle 2 the Grave" feels like.

Here's what happens at the end: The supposed "black diamonds" Fait (DMX) and Taiwanese intelligence officer Su (Jet Li) are looking for turn out to be something called "inert plutonium." You hit this stuff with a laser and it becomes "active" plutonium, I guess. As the laser is activating the plutonium during a demonstration for some kind of World Terrorist League, there's actually a guy standing there saying, "One Hiroshima, two Hiroshimas..." like some very deranged version of "Sesame Street." So, you know this stuff is powerful. Somewhere after the plutonium reaches the power of two Hiroshimas, the bad guy, Ling (Mark Dacasco), takes what looks like a Tylenol 3 with a radioactive sign painted on the side, and puts it in his pocket. Later, Su uses this to kill Ling (who I guess was a Panda in a previous life). Su forces him to swallow the pill and then chops him in the throat so the pill breaks, presumably releasing its radioactivity into Ling. Ling then burns up.

I'm not sure an explanation of radioactivity is necessary to explain just how stupid that is. This is what happens when people who didn't graduate from elementary school start making films. Other than that, the movie is mostly a martial arts film where the director, Andrzej Bartkowiak, once again demonstrates that nobody in Hollywood understands that martial arts fans just want to see the fighters fight. What does Andrzej do? He aims the camera at their heads and shakes it about so that following the action is next to impossible. I wish somebody would jostle this guy's brain like he handles that camera -- he'd be lucky if he could successfully drool on himself after that.

I laughed when, during a brief fight scene between DMX and Jet Li, DMX manages to hold his own. DMX can enjoy all the masturbatory fantasies he likes, but I wish he'd do it on his own time. Just to set the record straight: DMX would get his ass kicked harder than Chuck Finley at a Whitesnake reunion. Fait and Su team up to find these black diamonds and rescue Fait's daughter, who we're apparently supposed to care about even though Fait is a career criminal. It doesn't help matters that the kids main line in the film, which she repeats ad nauseum after her kidnapping, is: "Daddy! I want my Daddy!"

It was actually a nice touch that the Plutonium pill resembled a Tylenol 3. Just the thought seemed to dull my pain a little bit, and given the disintegration of "Cradle 2 the Grave", was better than nothing.

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