We saw a used copy of Cradle 2 the Grave (2003) in the video store, and it looked interesting, but we passed it by, even at $3.99. But we did remember to queue it up from Netflix.
It's part of a kind of trilogy from director Andrzej Bartkowiak. It stars Jet Li and rapper DMX - like Romeo Must Die stars Jet Li and Aaliyah and Exit Wounds stars Steven Seagal and DMX: Martial arts meets hip-hop. DMX is a high-tech jewel thief who takes down a bank vault and makes off with some mysterious black diamonds. Jet Li is the Taiwanese detective sent to keep the diamonds out of the hands of arms dealer Mark Dacascos.
Dacascos is why we almost bought the disc. You may remember him as the Mohawk martial artist in Brotherhood of the Wolf. Making him the Final Boss was good, but I would have liked to see him fight Li a few more times. But mainly what he does is kidnap DMX's daughter. So DMX and Li join forces to get the little girl and the diamonds. They get a little help from fence/arms dealer Tom Arnold, obviously broad comic relief. If you can stand him, you going to make it through this movie.
Although I don't seem to have blogged it, I remember Romeo Must Die as a pretty gritty movie, with a great hip-hop soundtrack. Cradle is much less realistic, what with the sophisticated jewel thieves and the comic relief - it's pretty much a comic book. The girl, for instance, is adorable and spunky and annoying as all hell, but not much like a real kid. And for some reason, the soundtrack did not grab me. I never felt like it was driving the action.
Still, Jet Li gets a workout, DMX is a pretty good jewel thief and I thought the goofy parts were fun (it starts and ends with missiles). I guess it's somewhere between Romeo and Exit Wounds, and I haven't even seen Exit Wounds.