Half Past Dead

Half Past Dead is the latest offering from an action star that looks like Steven Segal, just fatter. Heís once again teamed up with a rap artist, this time Ja Rule. The preposterous plot needs to be put out of the way quickly (the sooner I scribble it down, the sooner I can forget it forever).

Sascha Petrosevich (Steven Segal) and best chum Nick Frazier (Ja Rule) are a couple of criminal buddies who embark on a get rich quick scheme Ė involving stolen goods. Unfortunately their criminal activities are interrupted when FBI agent (Claudia Christian) gate crashes their party.

The duo are captured and sent to the new and improved Alcatraz to serve their time. On the flip-side, disgruntled Alcatraz security chief Donny (Morris Chestnut) and his team of heavily armed terrorists decide to take the prison over.

Donnyís real purpose for the take over is a prisoner who is about to be executed Ė a prisoner who has information on the whereabouts of $200 million. Information which Donny decides is worth taking the execution witnesses hostage for, include a Supreme Court judge.

With the FBI unable to reach the island, the only people left to save the day is Sascha, Nick and a host of rowdy inmates Ė thatís if they want to.

Half Past Dead seems to be on this planet to showcase bad acting. Steven Segal, who it can safely be said, isnít going to be walking up to the podium on Oscar night, hasnít changed his acting style since the early 90ís. Heís still got his limited acting ability, effeminate voice and smugness Ė heís just a little chunkier. Ja Rule, however, makes Segal look like one of the best actors on the planet. Itís rare to see a performance so bad; he spends the film shouting ĎAiyightí the whole time. Even Morris Chestnutís performance seems to be a matter of if no one else is going to bother then why should I? Itís a real shame that he hasnít achieved the potential that he showed in Boyz N the Hood all those years ago. The only cast member who manages to show a little class is Tony Plana, who plays an explicitly Hispanic prison warden.

The action sequences are ripped off from many other films and the whole proceeding has an air of a cable movie to it. The violence is much in style of The ĎAí-Team, i.e. lots of shooting but very little blood if at all. The villain has a female sidekick, played by Nia Peebles, who tries to play the silent but deadly routine, but comes across as a pseudo-Trinity.

Plot holes are evident in full in Half Past Dead Ė such as why would the worst prisoners in the USA who have a grudge against the world want to risk their lives fighting armed terrorists who havenít really done anything against them?

Director Don Michael Paul seems to have been watching Die Hard, The Rock and a lot of music videos. He also seems to have borrowed how-to-direct-action-movies-for-idiots from his local library. Half Past Dead is another gun fetish, pseudo-masochistic, no-brainer that should reach the bargain bins soon. Although itís already had a cinematic release in the US itís more than likely going to be a straight-to-video in other places. Itís a lot of noise and sound but in the end itís a film that just feels half dead.

SCORE 3/10

BACK TO THE REVIEWS