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A formula action movie with a sub-standard plot.

"Cradle 2 The Grave" includes some superb action choreography, very original fight scenes and stunts, a very overdone storyline, and Jet Li!

The story takes off with master thief Tony Fait (DMX) and his team, Daria (Gabrielle Union) and Tommy (Anthony Anderson), pulling off a robbery in order to get their hands on a set of valuable black diamonds in Taiwan. Taiwan sends one of its own men, Su (Jet Li), to retrieve those diamonds. Su approaches Fait, and tries to "convince" him to hand over the diamonds. Fait, on the other hand, is only willing to hand them over at a price.

Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Fait's beloved daughter, Vanessa (Paige Hurd) is kidnapped by Su's treacherous ex-partner, Ling (Mark Dacascos), who now operates as an arms dealer, along with his beautiful yet ruthless accomplice. It is now up to Su and Fait to retrieve the diamonds and free Venessa.

Although this movie does not exactly have the best plot in the world, it does flow smoothly and holds the viewer's attention throughout. This movie offers some very professional stunt work and action choreography. The director, with past credits including "Romeo Must Die" and "Exit Wounds", serves up another dose of his formula action flicks.

The acting was quite average, with Jet Li hardly saying anything (his action is supposed to speak louder than words, I guess). DMX does need to take a few acting lessons, although in my opinion he does manage to pass off quite well in such a movie. The ever-annoying Tom Arnold makes his presence felt, and Anthony Anderson adds the perfect comic touch.

Overall, "Cradle 2 The Grave" is the perfect action flick, with some great choreography, but an average storyline. It packs all the right punch and intensity needed for a movie of its genre, and works quite well with the audience. Worth a watch for all you action buffs.

Cradle 2 The Grave | 2003 | 101 min
starring Jet Li, Earl Simmons, Gabrielle Union and Anthony Anderson
directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak
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