Waist Deep

A deep waste is more like it: Director Vondie Curtis-Hall squanders a perfectly decent cast on a corny and surprisingly dull urban thriller. Ex-con Otis (Tyrese Gibson), or "O2" as he was once known on account of his ability to vanish from a crime scene like oxygen, has done his time and is now determined to stay out of trouble and never leave his young...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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A deep waste is more like it: Director Vondie Curtis-Hall squanders a perfectly decent cast on a corny and surprisingly dull urban thriller. Ex-con Otis (Tyrese Gibson), or "O2" as he was once known on account of his ability to vanish from a crime scene like oxygen, has done his time and is now determined to stay out of trouble and never leave his young song, Otis Jr. (H. Hunter Hall), ever again. When O2 shows up late to pick up his son from school one afternoon, he even pinky-swears that he'll always come back for him. That promise is put to the test just moments later when O2's cherry vintage Chevy convertible is stolen from him at gunpoint in the middle of a crowded Southland intersection — with Otis Jr. in the backseat. O2 chases the car and gets into a nasty gun battle with the carjackers — circumstances that then make it impossible for this parolee to now go to the police — but to no avail. He does, however, catch up with Coco (Meagan Good), a hottie in hot pants who sells stolen suits on the streets for a thug named P Money. O2 knows she's the one who marked him for the carjacking, and forces her to help him get his kid back. Lucky (Larenz Tate), Otis' unreliable brother who works for Big Meat (played by rapper The Game), the brutal leader of the Outlaw Syndicate, also offers to help, and after a few hours on the street, he comes back with some bad news: Meat's got Otis Jr., and he's demanding O2 deliver $100,000 by midnight the following night or the kid gets it. Otis claims that he's broke, but Meat thinks otherwise: Meat was once O2's partner in crime, and he thinks O2 is still holding onto the $100K they made off their last job together — the job that got O2 sent up for six years. Desperate to raise the cash, O2 comes up with a plan: He and Coco will rip off P Money's and Meat's own operations, staging it to look like the one is ripping off the other, and thereby triggering a gang war that will hopefully take them both down. The backdrop of a revitalized South Central that refuses to tolerate gang violence makes for a refreshing change, but it's still a town populated by cliched characters. The dramatic sequences that lead up to the inevitable love scene are drably paced, the action sequences are so frantically edited it actually hurts to watch, and the dialogue is so obvious that a character actually tells Coco that she and O2 "are like a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde." You know you're in trouble when the former Mrs. Russell Simmons, Kimora Lee, has the best moment in the whole picture.

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