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Waist Deep
2006 - R - 95 Mins.
Director: Vondie Curtis-Hall
Producer: Tony Brown
Written By: Vondie Curtis-Hall, Darin Scott
Starring: Tyrese Gibson, Meagan Good, Henry Hunter Hall, Larenz Tate, The Game
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.waistdeep.net/
   

In the money.
An ex-con descends once again into the crime underworld to save his son who was in his car when it was taken at gunpoint. To accomplish his task, he enlists the aid of the hooker whom he believes distracted him during the jacking. Tyrese Gibson ('Four Brothers') and Meagan Good ('Brick') star in a film directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall in a futile attempt to recover from directing the Mariah Carey debacle known as 'Glitter.'

O2 (Tyrese) is an ex-con who is determined to go and stay straight after getting out of prison. He gets himself a job as a security guard, complete with a gun (what kind of firm would give an ex-con such a job?) as part of a rehabilitation program. He wants to stay out of trouble for his son Junior (H. Hunter Hall, the son of the director). His plan goes to the wayside when his car is jacked with his sleeping son inside while he is distracted by Coco (Good), a lifelong hooker. Understandably angry, O2 forces Coco to help him find his son. It isn't long before they realize that her employer may have something to do with his disappearance, along with a drug dealer known only as "Big Meat" (Rap artist The Game) whose identifying characteristic is a prosthetic eye.

'Waist Deep' is empty, vacuous, overindulgent, and otherwise pointless filmmaking at its "finest." Director Hall may be a nice guy but he clearly has no business directing films after 'Glitter,' and now this exercise in violence for the sake of violence. The production has zero narrative momentum even though its simple premise should provide some inherently. Instead, the film stop and starts like a car badly in need of an oil change. What are supposed to be plot "twists" can be seen a mile away even for someone who has only cursory knowledge of film formula.

Much of the film seems to be killing time in expectation of the inevitable big showdown between O2 and those who kidnapped his son. Overlong love scene between two leads? Check. Playful banter coupled with revelations about the shady pasts of our beloved anti-heroes? Check. From frame one this film seems content to reuse cliches. This in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. What film is truly original anymore? It boils down to what the filmmaker does with said cliches that will differentiate bad films from good ones.

Unfortunately, director/co-writer Vondie Curtis-Hall brings absolutely nothing new to the film. Even the look of the film is your typical gritty style, complete with annoyingly long stretches filmed using handheld cameras. Terilyn A. Shropshire's haphazard editing, in the overused style of an MTV music video, does nothing to help matters. The best thing that can probably be said for the film is that production designer Warren Alan Young obviously had fun with Big Meat's hideout, complete with dog kennels housing mean-looking pooches of various breeds.

The film's performers aren't able to make already poor material anymore watchable. Tyrese seems bored most of the time, phoning in his performance. Meagan Good gives a little more effort but it is all for naught because of her criminally underwritten character. Hunter Hall is cloying and otherwise annoying as the kidnapped son. Rapper The Game snarls and growls his way through his role, letting a machete that would make Jason Voorhees envious do most of the work.

Perhaps predictably, 'Waist Deep' is indeed a waste of celluloid.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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