Directed by: Vondie Curtis-Hall
Premise: An ex-con’s (Tyrese Gibson) son is kidnapped in a gang related car-jacking. With the help of a street hustler (Meagan Good) he begins to pit different gangs against each other in order to recover his son.
What Works: Waist Deep is a mix of the contemporary street film with elements of the Western thrown in for good measure. The mix works well and the film is reminiscent of the early work of John Singleton, before he sold out and began making crap (Four Brothers). Rapper The Game plays the lead villain and unlike many recent films in this genre, the villain of Waist Deep is a character who possesses real menace. The characters and their motivations are credible and they avoid the kind of gangsta posturing that is the downfall of a lot of these films. The action sequences are well done, but they go beyond the violence to convey a sense of character and drama.
What Doesn’t: In the film’s rush and energy, it shortchanges some elements of its story. The love story between Gibson and Good’s characters comes about too quickly and too easily. The relationships between the gangs and between the antagonist and protagonist are never detailed and so the audience is left to fill in the blanks. The ending of Waist Deep is dragged out a little as the film has multiple climaxes. The resolution to Waist Deep is a bit conventional and too tidy.
Bottom Line: Waist Deep is fine film, above average for its genre and better than most of the action films released so far this summer. Tyrese Gibson is a competent actor and hopefully he continues to pick good material.
Episode: #104 (July 23, 2006)