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Half Past Dead

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Half Past Dead

Starring: Steven Seagal, Ja Rule
Director: Don Michael Paul
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 99 Minutes
Release Date: November 2002
Genre: Action

*Also starring: Claudia Christian, Morris Chestnut, Nia Peeples, Tony Plana, Art Camacho, Linda Thorson, Bruce Weitz, Richard Bremmer

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

HALF PAST DEAD is what you'll feel like after enduring this perfunctory picture, written and directed by Don Michael Paul. Starring Steven Seagal, it is a shameless rip-off of Seagal's best endeavor, UNDER SIEGE. As you watch its explosions, you'll quickly realize that it has more in common with a fireworks display than a movie, which normally is expected to have characters and a storyline.

Seagal plays Sascha Petrosevitch, who may or may not be a bad guy. If you can't figure out which, you may actually enjoy this plotless picture. A movie that should have gone directly to video, it is being released theatrically as counter programming to the HARRY POTTER onslaught.

Most of the action takes place on a dark and stormy night on "New Alcatraz," where Sascha and his fellow prisoners are incarcerated. An infamous prisoner is about to be executed. In one of the most preposterous plot points in recent memory, the movie has the Supreme Court Justice who had sentenced the criminal stopping by to have a few last words with him and to watch his execution. This is all done under incredibly tight security, which, of course, isn't tight enough.

When all hell breaks loose, Sascha leads a rag-tag group of convicts to fight the well-armed baddies who have stormed the island. Cast against type, Morris Chestnut plays the chief villain. Hopefully, he'll stick to romantic comedies in the future.

Although the movie is very loud and the guns are very big, the movie is slackly paced with more fat than you'd find in a Weight Watchers' session. With no surprises and no characters worth caring about, its ending can't come fast enough.

HALF PAST DEAD runs 1:39. It is rated PG-13 for "pervasive action violence, language and some sexual content" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ***. He is Seagal fan, and he liked the stunts and the action. He complained that it didn't have any plot and that it was too much like UNDER SIEGE.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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