Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Half Past Dead (2002)

Well, although it's not quite as enjoyable as Exit Wounds it has to be said that this Steven Seagal movie is a 100% improvement over the risible and shoddy Ticker.

The ridiculous plot sees Seagal and Ja Rule (his criminal buddy) incarcerated in Alcatraz. It's all been given a hi-tech makeover and also now does executions. The man awaiting his big moment in the big chair is Lester McKenna (played by Bruce Weitz), being fried for his part in a massive robbery and also managing to hide the $200 million haul before being caught. The warden (Tony Plana) is a tough but fair man and all is going according to plan until a bunch of heavily-armed opportunists land on the isolated prison and take hostages in an effort to get Lester to reveal the whereabouts of his hidden loot. Hmmm, I wonder if Seagal will be the kind of baddie who may just prove to be quite good? Oh, let's not forget that Seagal had been shot up badly some time ago and actually died for just over twenty minutes, which made him Half Past Dead, apparently.

Writer-director Don Michael Paul provides action fans with something dumb but undeniably slick. The editing is a bit jittery in places but the pace is just right and the plot takes a few predictable twists and turns as characters reveal their true intentions.

Seagal at least gets into a few fights this time, which always increases the watchability factor, but so do all of the other prisoners, and they're not all as entertaining to watch. Ja Rule gets plenty of screentime (he's okay but never believable as a tough guy), Morris Chestnut has some great moments, Nia Peeples is tough and sexy, Kurupt (??) is just annoying as a whiny prisoner named "Twitch" and Michael Taliferro is surprisingly likeable as the big bear on the block, "Little Joe". Claudia Christian is the Special Agent trying to communicate with the baddies and ascertain the situation while UK viewers may look twice when they see Ross King (better known here as that cheesy entertainment guy who pops up on GMTV) onscreen but, yes, it IS him.

There are occasional moments of humour throughout and some highly entertaining fistfights and gunfire (one scene involving Nia Peeples chasing Ja Rule is especially enjoyable) but the movie can't really do enough to compensate for the many lapses in logic and moments of just plain silliness throughout. Would a bunch of prisoners really care enough to follow Seagal's lead in a situation that lets them run free and have access to heavy firepower? Can people really keep firing that many bullets at each other without hitting each other? Can Ja Rule ever wipe that half-smirk off his face?

P.S. They made a Half Past Dead 2??


No comments:

Post a Comment