'Cradle 2 the Grave' pleasing but predictable

If “”Cradle 2 the Grave”” were a restaurant, it would be Fresh Choice. Neither is really great, but they earn big points for variety. The cast, comprised of DMX, Jet Li, Anthony Anderson, Tom Arnold and Gabrielle Union make sure that no one goes home feeling unsatisfied.

Fast-paced throughout, the story follows DMX and crew through a heist and the calamity that follows. Some of that calamity includes DMX fighting Li, Anderson coming on to a homosexual, Arnold making racially charged jokes, DMX fighting with Li and Union giving a lap dance, then kicking ass shortly thereafter. With just what is listed here, the film already offers a little something for each race and sexual preference. Fill in the blanks with explosions, bad acting and rap music, and this movie is sure to delight everyone, excluding intellectuals and females.

While the film will more than likely exceed average expectations, it is by no means original or thought-provoking. It plays the same game with different faces, and scores big in choosing the right faces. The standout performance in the film comes from Anderson, who plays a comic relief role. Amidst the other amateur actors, Anderson shines as brightly as the elusive black diamonds that DMX is trying to steal throughout the film.

While the film doesn’t intend to stop at simply entertaining the audience, the message it hopes to send isn’t fast enough to keep pace with the rest of the film. While it’s unclear what the title “”Cradle 2 The Grave”” has to do with anything, it does sound cool. DMX’s promise to reform himself for his daughter’s sake at the end of the film comes off as only slightly less trite than when his crew says “”faith in unison”” before its last heist. Other low points include when DMX runs up a wall (only Li and Jackie Chan can do that), and when he tucks his daughter into bed.

Despite its flaws, most that saw the film went home satisfied and a few, spurned on by DMX’s infamous lead foot, even sped out of the parking lot.

‘Cradle to the Grave’


Starring DMX, Jet Li and Anthony Anderson

In theaters Feb. 28

Rated R