The intriguing cross-pollination of rap and kung-fu continues with Cradle 2 the Grave, co-starring high-profile rapper DMX and Hong Kong superstar Jet Li. Master thief Fait (DMX) hits a diamond exhange but comes away with a bag of black gems of mysterious origin. When a crime kingpin steals the gems from Fait, an international arms dealer kidnaps Fait's beloved daughter--and Fait can only get her back with the help of Su (Li), a Taiwanese intelligence agent tracking the gems himself. A summary of the plot doesn't do Cradle 2 the Grave justice; while the basic story elements suggest a dozen generic action flicks, the cast (including Anthony Anderson, Gabrielle Union, and Kelly Hu) has genuine charisma and the movie layers action on top of action to strong effect. All in all, a much more engaging thrill ride than you'd expect. --Bret Fetzer
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