Waist Deep

Rated NR

Vondie Curtis-Hall, the notorious director of bombs such as Glitter and Gridlock’d, earns no “Honestly, I can direct” points with this gangsta near-catastrophe. Wannabe artsy-fartsy close-ups of protagonist Tyrese Gibson, trying to recall painful memories, come off as distracting and amateurish. While the mayor of Los Angeles preaches to a boisterous crowd about safe streets, armed thugs do a whole lot of unsafe crime right under her nose. Gasp at the irony! This film’s one saving grace is the sexy Gibson, who plays a recently paroled felon who gets carjacked while his son (played by Hall’s son) is sleeping in the backseat. The enraged father stops at nothing to get the boy back, whether it means midday shootouts against gang-bangers or a string of bank heists with a streetwise hustler (Meagan Good). Gibson’s power and no-holds-barred attitude are endearing and captivating. Hall owes him big-time for giving her film a small degree of redemption.

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