Half Past Dead (Review)

The big, the dumb, and the stupid

First up, there should be mandatory minimum sentencing for whoever came up with this all too lame title. I mean ‘Half Past Dead’…

But before I got the chance to wipe the vomit from my chin I witness the other horsemen of the shitty movie apocalypse in the form of titles proudly announcing the imminent appearances of both Steven Seagal and Ja Rule, all while some of the shittiest DMX type rap rapes my ears in the background.

I am filled with regret and no-one has even said anything yet.

Seagal plays Sascha, a car boosting specialist freelancing for Ja Fool Nick’s gang of surly male models. When Nick comes over all gangsta when faced with half of the state’s police force in a pointless and painful display of mismanaged bravado, both he and Sascha end up in ‘New Alcatraz’, a refitted and incredibly high tech facility built to house the ‘most dangerous criminals’ around.

I guess that includes mystical pony-tailed car thieves and sub-par rappers who can’t grow a moustache now?

Once in the prison they meet the four foot six Spanish speaking warden who calls them homies – because he is relateable – and lets the new inmates know that his nickname is ‘the Fire’. Oh while you’re there why not lend them your comfy slippers and sit around the fire singing Kumbayah ‘Senor Flamey’?

He also says don’t bother trying to escape, because this remote island is escape proof… ya heard homies?

Well in fairness he didn’t say it was entry-proof, because it takes only 6 minutes for a team of all black clad individuals to ‘break in’ to Nu-catraz. And on opening night no less? You’d think that the security team would at least focus for the first 24 hours wouldn’t you?

The incursion team are after a death row inmate scheduled for execution, a man who holds the secret to the location of 200 million in stolen gold, but it seems a man who would rather take the secret to the grave than tell these gits.

With the security ‘force’ dismantled in a single coffee break and the high tech security system out of action, all that stands between the terrorist/thieves is a squint eyed white guy with skills and his black streetwise offsider… John McClane and Al Powell…

… of course I mean Sascha and Nick and their associated recently emancipated prison pals.

Many films in the last two decades have been labelled Die Hard clones including Seagal’s own ‘Die Hard on a boat’ in Under Siege. But this one is such a patent replica that it deserves its own more grandiose title; Die Hard in prison… made by chimps… with learning deficiencies…

Every scene is filled with inexplicable and entirely random slo-mo moments, some mid sentence. Capping this off are a squillion pointless explosions and patently obvious stunt doubles.

Over the course of many films Steven Seagal’s stubborn insistence on acting like a constipated self-absorbed douche – or more likely the fact that he is one – has been allowed for, and even lousy filmmakers like whoever made this realise it’s just better to let him go and pretend it’s tongue in cheek. No such luck for Ja Rule, who acts just like he raps, clumsily and badly.

At least the soundtrack to such a lousy film is even, it’s atrocious from beginning to end as well.

For those wondering why Steven Seagal has such a slim window of forgiveness for his films when Arnie, Sly and to a lesser extent Van Damme seemed to be given a clear path consider this;

Arnie was self-aware (and willing to poke fun at himself), Sly vulnerable and insecure, Van Damme frankly goofy, (Jackie Chan was funny). Steven Seagal is the action star that you’d be least likely to have a beer with, in fact were it not for his fighting skills there is zero chance he would ever appear in a film.

Half Past Dead deadens his fighting skills and in doing so kills off any possible entertainment value. Then again what would you expect with a film starring Ja Rule and titled Half Past Dead?

Final Rating – 4 / 10. It says a lot that this is the worst Steven Seagal film that I have personally been unlucky enough to see.

About OGR

While I try to throw a joke or two into proceedings when I can all of the opinions presented in my reviews are genuine. I don't expect that all will agree with my thoughts at all times nor would it be any fun if you did, so don't be shy in telling me where you think I went wrong... and hopefully if you think I got it right for once. Don't be shy, half the fun is in the conversation after the movie.
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