Even as a contemporary blaxploitation picture, Waist Deep strikes an awkward balance between its pandering violence and its supposed social message. Tyrese Gibson stars as 02, an ex-con whose son is kidnapped, leading to a vengeful trip through the South Los Angeles underworld. Director Vondie Curtis-Hall seems oblivious to some ironies while unwisely playing up others. Especially telling is the carjacking that takes place in the background of a community rally protesting violent crime. Curtis-Hall doesn’t seem to realize that a crime-glorifying movie such as Waist Deep is the same sort of thing the community in his movie is protesting.