Monday, September 25, 2023


 by Adam Riske

Nominated for “Best Fight” (Jet Li versus the ultimate fighters) at the MTV Movie Awards. They lost to Christopher Lee versus Yoda in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

• Best Scene/Moment: The chase sequence with DMX driving an ATV across rooftops.

• Best Song: “X Gon’ Give it to Ya” by DMX.
• Best Merch: A pack of 33 promotional Cradle 2 the Grave drink coasters for $34.89. It’s a very practical way to show your friends you still support the movie 20 years later.

• Director Check: Cradle 2 the Grave was directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak. He began his career as a cinematographer debuting with a James Ivory television film called 3 by Cheever: The 5:48 in 1979. Bartkowiak was the cinematographer for many popular movies throughout the 1980s and 1990s including Terms of Endearment, Twins, Falling Down, Speed, Species, and The Devil’s Advocate. Bartkowiak made his directorial debut with 2000’s underrated Romeo Must Die and became a go-to director for early 2000s action films that blended hip-hop and martial arts including Exit Wounds in 2001 and Cradle 2 the Grave in 2003. Cradle was reviewed poorly and performed modestly at the box office. After directing what became his DMX feature film trilogy, Bartkowiak directed a couple of maligned video game adaptations with 2005’s Doom and 2009’s Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li. In recent years, Bartkowiak has continued to direct and returned to working as a cinematographer on smaller action films and thrillers, the best-known being 2011’s Trespass starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman.

• Double It with This 2003 Movie: The Rundown

• Year 2003 Movies to Trailer Before It: Biker Boyz, Bulletproof Monk, The Medallion

Draft Day or Cradle 2 the Grave? Draft Day

• Mall Movie? 100% yes. Warner Bros. action programmers are mall gold.
• Only in 2003 (tie): Multiple DVD player jokes and a soundtrack featuring Eminem, DMX, Joe Budden, Clipse and Saliva.

• Scene Stealer: Chi McBride.

• I Miss: The early 2000’s martial arts/rap action movie wave.

• I Don’t Miss: The comedy team of Tom Arnold and Anthony Anderson.

• 2003 Crush: Kelly Hu.

• 2023 Crush: Gabrielle Union.
• What I Thought in 2003: I was pretty let down by Cradle 2 the Grave when I saw it in theaters. I thought it had some good moments here and there, but I was chasing the heights of Kiss of the Dragon and Cradle 2 the Grave was weak by comparison.

• What I Think in 2023: It’s the same movie I remember. Cradle 2 the Grave is my least favorite of the DMX trilogy (which also includes Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds) in large part because it’s so plotty and the characters aren’t interesting. I love a couple of the action sequences (the ATV chase and the final showdown between Jet Li and Mark Dacascos) but the movie is pretty boring otherwise.


  1. Why can't you enjoy hotdogs and a ballgame with both Gabrielle Union and Kelly Hu? I refuse to choose.

    1. Fair. Remember though hot dogs and a ballgame is being friend zoned.