Movie Reviews: Waist Deep




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     Rogue Pictures/Universal (1 hour 37 minutes)
     An ex-con trying to go straight is pulled back into the underworld by the kidnapping of his young son.
     Tyrese Gibson, Meagan Good, Larenz Tate, The Game, H. Hunter Hall
Bottom Line:

Samantha Ofole-Prince

O2 (Gibson) is a two-strikes ex felon who now works as a security officer at a mini mall after spending several years in the penitentiary for robbery (one would guess he passed the mandatory background check). Upon completing his shift, he forgets to hand in his gun, scoops up his son Junior (Hall), and after an amiable banter heads home. Sadly, their journey is interrupted by a street hustler, Coco (Good) who sets him up for a car jacking. After a fruitless chase on foot down several blocks with guns blazing back and forth, he later discovers Junior has been kidnapped by the drug czar Big Meat (The Game), a vicious street hustler with a penchant for butchery who demands $100,000 for Junior’s freedom. Thus, O2 teams up with Coco and both device a plan with a financial incentive that will 1) get Junior back and 2) supply Coco with enough loot to escape the ‘hood.’ Hence, they become the urban Bonnie and Clyde. Larenz Tate plays Lucky, 02’s shady and unreliable cousin, a character he claims was initially called Wannabee, but was changed because the name sounded more like a caricature, and rapper The Game makes his movie debut in a role that is far from a stretch for him, bringing his well publicized street credibility to the part.

"Waist Deep" supposedly takes place in 36 hours – a tad unrealistic for certain events which occur in that timeframe, but that’s just a minor flaw in the art of movie making where everything is not always explainable. It would be an overstatement to say this is a great flick, the action scenes are consistently lackluster and the camera moves far too rapidly to decipher the nature of events, taking that fast-paced, gritty camera effect much too far in several scenes. Still, the emotional connection between Good and Gibson’s character make up for those shortcomings as both have very appealing screen presence. What really saves "Waist Deep" is that it isn’t the typical ‘gangster gone good’ type flick, and although it is riddled with stereotypes, to its credit, it explores the bonds of family and friendship with maturity and emotional depth and has some decent twists.

It marks a nice step forward for director Vondie Curtis Hall, who after directing "Redemption" has finally started to shake off the ‘dud dust’ from "Glitter," his earlier directing effort.



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