A jewel thief joins forces with a Taiwanese cop to track down a
collection of priceless black stones in exchange for his daughter's life.
Cradle 2 the Grave (2003)
Directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak
Written by John O'Brien and Channing Gibson
Starring Jet Li, DMX, Anthony Anderson, Gabrielle Union,
Tom Arnold, Mark Dacascos, Kelly Hu, Drag-On, Paige Hurd
Jet Li had a difficult time making the transition from Chinese to American action films for one simple reason. Li is a great stuntman and a phenomenal fighter, but he's an appalling actor and this comes across painfully clear in Cradle 2 the Grave. From its ridiculously nonsensical title to the equally nonsensical pair-up of Jet Li and rapper DMX, this film is just a roller coaster of bad decisions and horrendous dialogue. It's only redeeming qualities are funnymen Anthony Anderson and Tom Arnold, who do their best to enjoy what they've got. Beyond that, the pace is uneven, the story is hard to follow, and the action sequences are so choppily edited that it may just induce a seizure.
Jet Li plays a Taiwanese cop trying to track down a stolen set of black stones which are diamonds at first but later turn out to be synthesized plutonium (what?). He finds out that jewel thief DMX has already stolen the stones and is trying to sell them. When the stones go missing and a Chinese gangster kidnaps his daughter, DMX joins forces with Li to clean it all up. From the get go, the audience is left with very little to go on. It's never made all that clear what Li's motivations are or why he helped create the weapon in the first place. Nagging questions like these are what takes me out of the movie.
While the soundtrack is pretty good and some of the performances are passable, Cradle 2 the Grave just takes itself too seriously for me to enjoy it. It wants so badly to be a serious Rush Hour that it falls flat on its ass. I think it could've been saved, and it wouldn't have taken much. Step one, change the dumbass title.