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Film / Cradle 2 the Grave

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Cradle 2 the Grave is a 2003 action film directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak and starring Jet Li and DMX. Despite the title, it's not a sequel to anything.

The film opens with a gang of African American criminals composed of leader Anthony Fait (DMX) and his lackeys Daria (Gabrielle Union), Tommy (Anthony Anderson) and Miles (Drag-On) performing a diamond heist, with particular emphasis on some black diamonds that their employer, Christophe (Paolo Seganti), is after. Alas, Taiwanese Intelligence Agent Su (Li), who is after the diamonds himself for unknown reasons, busts them. Despite this, Anthony manages to escape with the diamonds and bring them to a fence, Archie (Tom Arnold), for them to be appraised. That night, Christophe is murdered by henchmen of the man he was working for, Yao Ling (Mark Dacascos). Ling also sends some henchmen after Anthony, in search of the diamonds. Anthony and Su meet each other and are able to repel these henchmen, but then Anthony learns that Ling has kidnapped his daughter, Vanessa, and won't release her until he gets the diamonds. They then find that gangsters under the command of jailed crime boss "Jump" Chambers (Chi McBride) came to Archie, who possessed them, and took them. Anthony and Su decide to team up to get the diamonds and Vanessa back, in addition to uncovering why Ling and Chambers want the diamonds in the first place.


This film provides examples of:

  • Auction of Evil: Once Ling gets the diamonds, he tries to sell them off at one of these.
  • Artistic License – Military: When describing the abilities of the diamonds a Sidewinder missile is described as having enough power to take out a tank. A Sidewinder is an air to air missile, not an anti-tank missile and would be unlikely to hurt a modern tank much in the unlikely event it hit one as modern air to air missiles destroy enemy aircraft with high velocity fragmentation warheads - which is something tank armour is explicitly designed to stop.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: The final battle between Su and Ling takes place in a Ring of Fire, similar to that in Romeo Must Die, by the same director and also starring Jet Li.
  • Designated Girl Fight: Daria and Ling's assistant Sona, both relatively minor characters, engage in one.
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  • Distracted by the Sexy: Attempted at the beginning by Daria during the heist, only the security guard turns out to be gay. Cue Anthony Anderson's character (who is supposed to be just the getaway driver) performing Daria's role. Apparently, the security guard is a chubby chaser.
  • Fight Clubbing: Chambers owns an underground wrestling club.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Su uses a dwarf as an impromptu weapon.
  • Groin Attack:
    • Vanessa gives one to some mook in an attempt to escape (see below), and Daria gives one to some creep in a club.
    • Anthony gives one to the same mook later in the film using a plane propeller.
  • Hiroshima as a Unit of Measure: Used it as part of a quadratic scale to measure the power of the WMD.
    Sidewinder missile; enough power to take out a tank. Tomahawk cruise missile; enough to destroy a building. SCUD; that's a few city blocks gone. Hiroshima... Two Hiroshimas... New World Order.
  • Hypothetical Casting: During the end credits, two of the comic-relief sidekicks have a conversation about who would play them if somebody made a movie of what just happened.
  • Little Miss Badass:
    • Vanessa attempts to escape at one point by crying until one of the mooks lets her out of the van they're keeping her captive in, whereupon she kicks him in the nuts, steals the van's keys and tries to drive off. Sure, she fails, but a pretty good effort for an 8 year-old girl.
    • She later jumps in and bites the hand of a mook who is attempting to choke out her dad.
  • Papa Wolf: Fait has this choice quote after kicking the crap out of the guy who was threatening his daughter:
    "Wrong! Kid! Definitely the wrong father."
  • Techno Babble: How the diamonds work is explained via this.
    Creating a highly reactive radioactive isotope requires altering the atomic structure of the original material. Normally, this is accomplished by adding neutrons. Here, we're using electromagnetic distillation to strip away protons. In the process, the fragment's potential yield is increasing exponentially.
  • The Stinger: Ends with Archie and Tommy discussing who could play themselves in a movie based on their experiences, and who could direct it. They suggest Andrzej Bartkowiak, the director of the movie itself.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Tommy, although not as heavy as in some movies. Averted with Anthony and the rest of his gang.


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