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.
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.
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??