Review by Jack Foley
IT’S difficult to know whether Waist Deep is intended as a genuine movie or merely an extended music promo for hip hop and R’n‘B stars wanting to cross over into a different medium.
Either way, it’s a wretched experience that’s both offensively violent and creatively inept.
The film stars former R&B singer Tyrese Gibson as ex-con O2 who is forced back into crime when the vehicle he’s driving is car-jacked while his son is sleeping in the back.
Enlisting the help of a sassy, street-smart call girl named Coco (Meagan Good, a former member of the singing group Isyss), O2 must raise the $100,000 bounty put on his son’s head by robbing banks and businessmen.
But even that might not be enough to appease the kidnapper in question, a former accomplice of O2’s named Meat (played by rapper The Game), who has a bitter score to settle with his former partner-in-crime.
According to actor turned director Vondie Curtis-Hall, Waist Deep is designed as a hard-hitting exploration of parent-child love that also examines the notion of trust and love.
Sadly, it plays out like a tacky hood flick that aspires to things that are way beyond its reach.
The uneven tone and moral ambiguity that exists is established from the outset when Tyrese is seen telling off his son (played by the director’s own son) for beating up a bully on the one hand, and looking proud that he’s done so the next.
Yet it becomes completely and utterly offensive by the time Tyrese goes about shooting any cop or hood that gets in his way in order to escape to a life of luxury with his son.
A comic attempt to portray O2 and Coco as a contemporary Bonnie & Clyde also feels spectacularly misguided given the gulf in quality that exists between the two movies.
Action fans may also be disappointed by the poorly handled set pieces – including a car chase that looks pedestrian – while the hopelessly contrived finale truly beggars belief.
It all adds up to a truly dismal action thriller that pretty much epitomises everything that’s bad about contemporary hip hop culture.
Running time: 97mins