Ex-con Otis, or "O2" on account of his ability to vanish from a crime scene like oxygen, has done his time and is determined to stay out of trouble and never leave his young son, Otis, Jr.
When O2 shows up late to pick Junior up from school, he swears that he will always come back for Junior. That promise is put to the test just moments later when O2's vintage 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS Lowrider convertible is stolen from him at gunpoint in the middle of a crowded Southland intersection with Junior in the back seat. O2 chases the car and gets into a nasty gun battle with the carjackers, but to no avail.
O2 catches up with Coco, a woman who sells stolen suits for P Money. O2 knows she is the one who marked him for the carjacking, and he forces her to help him retrieve Junior. The two steal a car (a 1996 Impala SS sedan) and Coco's boyfriend savagely beats her. Upon hitting a woman O2 pistol whips him with his gun before the two retreat to Lucky's home. Lucky, Otis' unreliable cousin who works for Big Meat, the leader of the Outlaw Syndicate, offers to help.
After a few hours, Lucky comes back with some bad news: Meat has Junior and demands that O2 deliver $100,000 by midnight the next night, or Junior will die. Meat was once O2's partner and thinks O2 still has the $100,000 they made off their last job together.
O2 comes up with a plan: he and Coco will rob P Money's and Meat's own operations, staging it to look like one is stealing from the other, and triggering a gang war that will hopefully eliminate both and help O2 and Coco rescue Junior. After a successful robbery of one of the Big Meat's locations, O2 and Coco come across a set of safe deposit box keys belonging to numerous banks. The next day, they stage a number of bank robberies and are able to retrieve expensive jewelry, which Lucky offers to get rid to prove his worth. When Lucky takes the jewelry to Big Meat unknowing that it belongs to Big Meat, Lucky is forced to set up a meeting between himself, O2, and Coco, with Big Meat along to end O2.
They take the car to an alley and give him the money. It is revealed that Big Meat never intended to let Junior live and signals one of his men to kill Junior. Lucky sees this and tackles him as the man shoots, one shot hit Lucky in the side of the chest. O2 kills Meat and his men and retrieves Junior.
They stop at a gas station to attend to Lucky's wound. O2 tells Lucky they will get him to a hospital, but Lucky dies from his wounds. O2 hides in a parking lot and tells Coco to take Junior to the Mexican border while he outruns the cops. As Junior and Coco escape, O2 is tailed by the cops. They run him to a dead end where the lake is. O2, realizing he has no choice, drives into the water.
Five days later in Mexico, Coco and Junior are living in a house on a beach. They are walking on the beach when they see O2 in the distance and then reunite.Tyrese Gibson as O2/Otis
Meagan Good as Coco
Larenz Tate as Lucky
The Game as Big Meat
Henry Hunter Hall as Junior
Kimora Lee Simmons as Fencing House Lady
Julius Denem as P Money
Thomas Abate as Gas Attendant
Waist Deep grossed $9,404,180 from 1,004 theaters with a $9,366 average in its opening weekend. Altogether, the film grossed $21,353,303,.Film: Outstanding Hip-Hop Movie, (Nominated) BET Hip-Hop Movie Awards
Tyrese Gibson: Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor, (Nominated) Black Movie Awards
Meagan Good: Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress, (Nominated) Black Movie Awards, Choice Breakout Performance (Female), (Nominated) Teen Choice Award