Half Past DeadReviewed By wintermute
Posted 11/16/02 17:02:11
Proof positive that Steven Seagal should be kept away from all junk food, Half Past Dead should be the final black spot required to Mark this Knockoff for cinematic Death.Not even Ja Rule's underused charisma could save Half Past Dead from being smothered under an improbable script and an incapable cast. Loosely, the film is centered around the exploits of a crack team of, umm, bad guys who are determined to extract a last minute confession from a death row gold thief, in the hopes to locate his hidden stash of 50 year old gold. Oh, and did I mention that this all takes place in New Alcatraz?
That's right, New Alcatraz. Same as the old Alcatraz, except the warden, 'El Fuego', (played by Tony Plana) wears a leather jacket, carries no weapon, and freely mixes with the prisoners. The 'prisoners' play Nintendo, spray paint murals on the walls, and generally do whatever the hell they want, including savagely beating on prison guards. In general, everyone seems pretty well adjusted, the prisoners get along with each other, and a good time is had by all. You get the feeling that the producers of this film had never seen Oz.
I can just imagine director Don Michael Paul pitching the story to the studio: 'Get this - the bad guys are going the break in to prison!' And break in they do, with the requisite helicopter crash and tough leather clad chick to kick Ja Rule around. Oh yeah, Ja Rule. You see, the way this film was cut together, I had almost forgot he was one of the MAIN CHARACTERS. It seems that these days it takes a little longer for the aging, puffy Seagal to lay the smack down on the baddies, so his fight scenes take up most of the middle of the film, massively slowing down the pace and unfortunately gleaning him more screen time than the surprisingly acceptable Ja Rule. One day, Ja's charm will be skillfully sculpted and filmed by a capable director in a quality film. But not if that film is Half Past Dead 2.Why did I bother seeing this film - It was free, and I got a Half Past Dead toque. On top of that, I also got a lot of laughs from the horrific script and ludicrous plot. Wait for the video. Better yet, rent Hard to Kill and laugh at Seagal on the cheap. Tonight.
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