Half Past Dead

Steven Seagal should know better than to name a movie of his Half Past Dead. He is just asking for any number of puns describing how bad the movie is. It seems that over the course of his career, the quality of his films (never too good to begin with) is inversely related to his waist size. Over the years, his films have been declining in quality as Seagal gets a little chunkier. Seagal's last film, Ticker, didn't even get a US distributor. Prior to that, Exit Wounds was mildly successful because filmmakers decided to team him with rapper DMX. It worked well enough to get Seagal to team up again with another rapper, this time with Ja Rule in an otherwise DOA film that is half past stupid and very dead. Somewhere in this lame script is a plot that is little more than an excuse for lots of bullets.

Seagal is Sascha Petrosevitch, a Russian who obviously enjoys his borscht Okay, actually he's an undercover FBI agent. This comes out more than halfway into the film, but saying so here doesn't make one whit of a difference. He was undercover trying to expose some criminal boss when he befriended Nick Frazier (Ja Rule, The Fast and the Furious, Backstage). After a bust gone bad, he took a number of bullets for Frazier, and was temporarily, or "half past" dead. Keep in mind that "half past" sounds suspiciously like "half-assed," which is the effort that went into this film. Frazier and Petrosevitch end up in New Alcatraz, where Lester (Bruce Weitz, No Place Like Home, Facing the Enemy) is about to be executed. Years ago, Lester stole a large amount of gold. He was caught, but the gold was never recovered. 49er One (Morris Chestnut, Like Mike, Two Can Play That Game) wants to know where the gold is. He breaks into and takes over New Alcatraz with his crew, threatening to kill a Supreme Court Justice (uh, what?) unless Lester divulges the information.

Lucky that Petrosevitch is around! He starts kicking butt and rallying the inmates to fight against 49er One and save the Justice. Half Past Dead is a series of brainless action sequences interspersed with dumb dialogue and a thoroughly incompetent understanding of logic, courtesy of writer/director Don Michael Paul. Anytime Seagal, or anybody else for that matter, opens their mouth, it is laughable. There are a large number of action sequences, but most of them are not very interesting. It is important not to think about the story, or else one realizes how inane it actually is. Plus, Seagal is no longer an imposing presence. Watching him on screen is like watching a parody of himself, trying to conjure up memories of (relatively) better movies.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 39 minutes, Rated PG-13 for pervasive action violence, language, and some sexuality.

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