Director: Don Michael Paul
Writer: The same poor bastard.
Half Past Dead was Steven Seagal’s last movie released theatrically in the U.S. (not counting Machete) and I can honestly see why Steven’s career is now half past dead. The movie is clichéd, tired and uninspiring to say the least. But let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?
So Seagal plays this Russian (Okay…) dude Sasha, who pals up with a low life thug Ja Rule and ends up arrested and sentenced in jail with him. They’re sent to the newly opened Alcatraz state prison which is having its first execution in history there. The man sentenced for death got sent in for making a train robbery that gained him large amount of gold that he managed to hid before he got caught. At the moment the execution is supposed to take place the prison is invaded by a bunch of professional mercenaries led by Morris Chestnutt. Their plan is to capture the convict before he is executed and make him tell them where the gold is hidden. That is probably the stupidest thing in a long while.
Seagal gets into the action and the movie, like so many others, turns into yet another Die Hard clone. At the end of the movie the audience learns that Steven Seagal is actually an undercover F.B.I. agent (what a twist!) and is not a criminal after all! He’s plan to get revenge to a man that killed his wife is handled so clumsily it’s amazing that they decided to even include this bit of information in the film. You do not get to see Seagal confront his wife’s killer. It’s just mentioned in the epilogue (“So yeah, I found the guy. It’s cool now”). The movie is more concerned with more important dilemma: will Ja Rule still love Seagal after he finds out that he’s actually a cop?
Well, the movie sucks. It is moronic and badly edited. And It’s boring. I recently watched Seagal’s DTV assfest Out Of Reach and that movie was shit too, but it was hilarious. This, sadly, is not. I tried to get good screen grabs for this review, but there’s not much going on in the film. Sure, Nia Peeples’ character is greatly out of place (remember, The Matrix was still a thing in 2002) and Seagal’s head scarf is mildly amusing, but that’s pretty much it.
What did I like in the movie? Like I said Nia Peeples was fun and her stunt work is surprisingly passable. I liked Tony Plana as the warden El Fuego. And I liked TV veteran Bruce Weitz as Lester, the Death Row inmate. Morris Chestnut is a terrible actor and his delivery on what was supposed to be his signature scene (the part where his character verbally breaks this middle-aged lady judge by dissecting her persona out in the open) fails miserably, because not for a second I believed this is a guy whose sanity is in question. You need a better actor to pull this off. And Ja Rule…I see he really tries. However the guy has zero charisma. Fuck rappers aspiring to be action stars. You know, also fuck action stars wanting to be singers.
They’re both terrible.
Avoid this film at any cost, not worth it. Not worth it at all.
Best Scene: The scene during the end credits. That’s almost a Michael Bay level of stereotypical humor.
Most Memorable Bit: Ja Rule flying out of a car. Funniest thing in the movie.