Dumb, funny, and shamefully enjoyable, this dunderheaded actioner from Joel Silver sets new standards in mindless entertainment.
It ramps up the action and idiocy of the portly producer's atrocious "Exit Wounds" and "Romeo Must Die", but by trying to make the arch eight-beers-and-a-pizza style movie, Silver has created a picture which satirises itself.
Everything is taken to an extreme. From the ridiculously contrived plot - which sees Jet Li's Taiwanese agent teamed with DMX's heist-master to track down some sinister 'black diamonds' - to the gloriously OTT action sequences, one of which pits Li against 15 gigantic foes in a bout of Ultimate Fighting (the no-holds-barred scrapping sport beloved of blood-hungry morons).
The formula for success is simple: double it. Chop-socky icons? Two please. Li and and the villainous Mark Dacascos (who - and this is too wonderful for words - landed the gig after a vote on Li's website revealed he was fans' top choice for a face/off).
Comedy sidekicks? Deux. The hilarious Anthony Anderson and, er, Tom Arnold. Hot fighting chicks? Oh, just a couple: Kelly Hu's evil bitch and Gabrielle Union's hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold.
This is a movie that revels in its own stupidity. There's a tremendous vigour to the action scenes, coupled with story and dialogue so dumb that in the final act they border on genius. Whether it intends to or not, "Cradle 2 The Grave" manages to play to fans of kick-ass action, while simultaneously vilifying the genre.
Thus, we have the charismatic Andrews camping it up in a possibly homophobic, certainly funny, scene where he distracts a gay security guard, before the action cuts to DMX's bulging muscles, as he wields a decidedly phallic safecracking device.
The fact that the macho rapper - an impressively dreadful actor - is taking everything so seriously merely cranks up the mirth.
Laugh with it, laugh at it, love it and loathe it.