Queen & Slim
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
Got more questions about news letters?
Already have an account? Log in here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
We encourage our community to report abusive content and/ or spam. Our team will review flagged items and determine whether or not they meet our community guidelines.
Please choose best explanation for why you are flagging this review.
Thank you for your submission. This post has been submitted for our review.
Sincerely, The Rotten Tomatoes Team
Oh, boy! Just what I've always wanted - a bargain bin version of the 90's action cult classic, The Rock. It's very rare for a film to live up to its title, but the title certainly sums up the film quite nicely. Half Past Dead is a dreadful action film that starts off bad and never gets better by assaulting the viewer with god-awful rap music (By one of the lead stars, Ja Rule) and credits that look and feel like the fever dream of an untalented music video director. The story is stupid and boring, the acting is beyond dreadful even by the standards of Steven Seagal films, and the action sequences are tedious and uninteresting. Ultimately, it's too boring and lifeless to be salvaged as a guilty pleasure (Which is saying a hell of a lot coming from someone who liked Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever and House of the Dead). Half Past Dead would ultimately become the harbinger of the future of Steven Seagal's film output - lazy, derivative nonsense with a liberal sprinkling of a wannabe ghetto film with terrible, terrible rap music.
The movie is action.Old Fashioned Action.The Script i rate 8/10,a little more to offer,but is good.
The Soundtrack - 7/10.Action Scenes,i think Rock expressed the Action.Score by Tyler Bates - 10/10.I liked the film,it's on my favourite list,but most people,don't give opportunities,(You can mess the Don Michael Paul,Much all your want,but this,i don't understand why you say that).Well,i called that Dreams destructors.The movie Was good for me.Other things i'll discuss in other moment.
One of the worst movies of the year and Seagal is looking healthy both in heath and career.......oh boy.
Steven Seagal is known for making guilty pleasure action films, but this one is just plain guilty. With the exception of some decent action scenes and a corny-but-good performance from Tony Plana as the warden, every performance in the film (especially from rappers Ja Rule and Kurupt) are awful, even the plot is pulled straight from other and much better films, namely "The Rock". The film offers cliches upon cliches and plot holes that fall into bigger plot holes and god awful acting with a musical score full of so much rap music you would think its a music video and a few nice action pieces that add up to about 10 minutes. The film itself was pretty close to dead. D-
This film has Seagal dropped into a half arsed gangster/action pile of shit.
Id completely forgotten about ja rule (for a good reason) because hes bullshit, and when Seagal is the best actor in the film it says something.
Besides every fightscene with Seagal is mostly his stunt double, Seagal is really fucking lazy in this.
This is bad even for Seagal..
If you are going to watch a steven segal movie, this is definitely the one to watch.
Steven Segal is sent to The Rock, in this ripoff of "The Rock". Or maybe it's "Die Hard" on The Rock. Actually, he's an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a powerful crime syndicate, but he does go to Alcatraz as a prisoner to stop the bad guys. This was Steven Seagal's last film to be given a theatrical release before being relegated to the direct-to-video market and it's not hard to see why his career took that turn. This film is miles away from "Above the Law" "Under Siege" or even "Exit Wounds". Segal wears a do-rag to cover his receding hairline as he fights with hi- hop types including Morris Chestnut, Steven Seagal, Ja Rule and Nia Peeples. There's also Tony Plana, Kurupt, Claudia Christian and A-Team creator Stephen J. Cannell as the evil warden. Pretty dumb stuff that's actually worse than most of Segal's direct-to-video movies. One star for Nia Peeples doing all of her own fighting and stunt work. But if you loved this movie, there is actually a sequel starting wrestler Goldberg.
I didn't have high expectations for Half Past Dead because Steven Seagal movies are rarely ever as good as I want them to be, but I'm happy to give any of his movies a chance.
Half Past Dead is hardly a Steven Segal action vehicle, because the amount of screen time that he is actually in it is insufficient to support the idea that it could be one. If anything, Half Past Dead is a mix of an MTV style action film and a Steven Seagal film, although more focused on the former than the latter. Steven Seagal isn't given sufficient screen time to really kick that much ass in Half Past Dead, but considering the lacklustre quality of his performance this isn't such a problem. Still, as a stereotypically MTV themed action movie, Half Past Dead is at least visually superior to many of the inferior examples.
The production values in Half Past Dead are actually pretty good and are way superior to many of the other Steven Segal films. Especially since after Half Past Dead he would go on to star in a streak of Direct-to-DVD films and has not played the lead in a theatrically released action film since this one. So thanks to a relatively low budget of $12 million, director Don Michael Paul manages to inject a lot of great visual elements into the film. The setting is very convincing since the scenery and production design is spot on in detail, and everything is captured with cinematography which gives a wide perspective to things and reinforces the idea that it is a large scale story. While audiences may not end up feeling it, it is clear that Don Michael Paul does and he takes maximum advantage of the opportunity. So Half Past Dead is a pretty good visual spectacle which has all of its elements being captured well and edited timely against the backdrop of a pretty decent soundtrack which uses songs that are mood setting and appropriate to the style of the film. If his role as a writer was as up to par as his ambitions as a director, Half Past Dead might have been a better film. But unfortunately, the writing proves to be the downfall in the film.
The dialogue of the film isn't the problem because it isn't that intelligent but it does the job just well enough, while the story itself is the issue. The premise in Half Past Dead isn't precisely great. The story has a lot of characters with confusing motives which makes it somewhat convoluted, and when you strip away that it is essentially a prison themed version of his greatest action vehicle Under Siege. The difference is that Half Past Dead is simply an MTV action film which uses Steven Seagal as a name to try and draw in viewers and doesn't work much as a vehicle for him, nor does it have such big name actors in villainous roles or originality. But the story remains essentially the same with a simple change of context as the main difference, with a battleship being replaced by a prison. I can usually tolerate that, and for much of Half Past Dead I was able to, but the issue was that there was not enough action in Half Past Dead. The action is ok even though it is a little over the top and ridiculous at times, but there just isn't enough of it to justify being an action film with Steven Seagal in it. The action takes a backseat to poor storytelling, and although the quality of the moments that there are prove fairly decent, the quantity is insufficient.
One of the most common complaints about Half Past Dead is that it was produced at a point in his career where he was too overweight to convincingly portray an action hero. And this is somewhat true, but then again considering the fact that he was only given a short period of time on screen there isn't really enough of it to cause damage. The actual problem is the fact that his character is supposed to be Russian. If you'll remember, Steven Seagal couldn't portray an Alaskan convincingly in On Deadly Ground, so why anyone could think he would play a Russian any better is seriously beyond me. Steven Seagal's performance proves he is no better at accents than Sean Connery, although he lacks the awesome edge that Sean Connery would pack in the role and that he did act when he was in another Alcatraz themed action film, Michael Bay's The Rock. Essentially, Steven Seagal is more focused on trying to speak Russian than he is on kicking ass which proves to be a problem. His performance is an issue due to a combination of things, being that he does look a little bit too bulky to be anything more than a shadow of the action hero that he once was as well as the fact that his accent is terrible and his screen time is excessively insufficient.
But the rest of the cast manage to do a good job.
Ja Rule's performance is a simple one, but he manages to make a compelling effort simply because of his chemistry with the surrounding actors and his natural ability to have a stereotypical "gangster" persona. Ja Rule's character isn't hard to care about for viewers who don't hate Half Past Dead, and he naturally takes on the role with ease which makes him an entertaining screen presence. Fans of his should be entertained by his performance in Half Past Dead, because his performance is even funny in moments.
And lastly, Morris Chestnut was a very convincing villain. He delivered all of his lines with the kind of confidence that suggested he really knew what he was doing. You can tell that he understands his character and his motivations, even though he is paper thin and a little ridiculous. Morris Chestnut manages to give more skill to the performance than it really needed or even deserved and ends up giving a fine supporting performance in Half Past Dead.
But despite a decent supporting cast, firm production values and a few decent action moments, Half Past Dead is an underrated but still weak action film which boasts a crap lead performance from Steven Seagal, an insufficient quantity of action and a thinly sketched premise which takes itself way too seriously.
When Ja Rule gives a better performance than the lead, you know you have something special. A deliciously lovable kind of bad; like Batman and Robin. As his last theatrical starring vehicle, this marks the beginning of the end for Seagal as everything to follow is nearly unwatchable straight to video trash.
At the basic level, Half Past Dead is meant to be an action movie, but on all other levels, it lies completely inert, with no one caring enough to try to revive it.