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Half Past Dead (2002)

Halb tot (Germany), Mission Alcatraz (France)

The good. The bad. And the deadly.

Directed by:

Don Michael Paul

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 95 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: Germany, United States

I felt let down by Steven Seagal’s performance in ‘Half Past Dead’ on two counts. Firstly, he doesn’t get to wear his hair in an absurd ponytail until the last five minutes. Secondly, you can only play the usual game of “spot the body double” if you’re prepared to switch your DVD to slo-mo every time he’s asked to break sweat. Thankfully, the mumbling chubster does stay true to past form on one front – his attempts at acting are absolutely diabolical. What a relief that is.

In this noisy and utterly predictable shoot-em-up, Seagal plays undercover FBI agent Sasha. I know what you’re thinking – that’s a girl’s name. Big Steve would never stand for playing a girlie. But it’s okay, because he’s supposed to be Russian, and besides, who’s going to be brave enough to laugh at him? I’m certainly not. I’m too scared he’d sit on me.

Assisted by gravel-voiced rap dullard Ja Rule, Susan – sorry, I mean Sasha – sets about stopping a gang of mercenaries (led by Morris Chestnut and Nia Peeples) from getting their hands on a secret stash of gold bars. The only trouble is, to find out the location of the loot, they’ve got to break into the revamped “New Alcatraz” and get the info out of death row inmate Bruce Weitz before he’s sent to the big awful action movie in the sky. And they might be able to get in, but our double-chinned hero will be darned if they’re able to get out.

If ‘Under Siege’ was a desperate man’s ‘Die Hard’, then ‘Half Past Dead’ is an even more desperate man’s ‘Under Siege’. The acting, direction and dialogue are among the worst I’ve ever seen or heard, and the only thing making the movie remotely watchable is the unintentional hilarity of the whole affair. Give this one a whirl if you’re in the mood for watching a REALLY crappy film.

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It's Got: One-time ‘Pebble Mill’ presenter Ross King popping up as an FBI agent. No doubt Alan Titchmarsh and Judi Spiers were “watching his back”, perhaps with Sarah Greene on stand-by to burst through the roof and open up a can of whoop-ass.

It Needs: For casting departments to stop confusing rappers with actors. Then again, few of them are any worse at the job than Mr Seagal.

DVD Extras A director’s commentary, some deleted scenes, a handful of trailers and a great ‘Making Of’ documentary chock-full of misguided enthusiasm. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Alternatives:

Die Hard, The Rock, Under Siege

Summary

One of those God-awful movies that’s so bad it actually starts to become a little enjoyable. Note the use of the phrase “a little” in there.

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