When his daughter is kidnapped and held in exchange for priceless diamonds, the leader of a crew of highly skilled urban thieves forges an unlikely alliance with a Taiwanese Intelligence officer to rescue her. Their race against the clock to find the precious stones ultimately unravels a plot to distribute a deadly new weapon of war.
In teaming Jet Li with the rapper DMX, the director Andrzej Bartkowiak perpetuates the unwieldy generic hybrid he helped invent in which chest-beating hip-hop attitude fuses with airy kung-fu magic. As the movie whips you around locations that include a subway tunnel, an extreme fighting club, a poshly appointed jail cell and a warehouse, it never stops to catch its breath. That may be good news for those who enjoy the bumpy thrills of a cheap amusement park ride. For everyone else "Cradle 2 the Grave," whose horror-movie title bears no relation to what happens on the screen, suggests the prequel to a video game. — Stephen Holden
2003-02-28 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Cradle 2 the Grave