Will God go easy on me if I tell?
Half Past Dead
Review by Ross Anthony

This is a very good B movie, adorned with a trickin' pace, quirky/cartoony interesting characters, fun action and amusing dialogue.

In fact, amusing is the active word. Though dubious, the story line is actually quite intricate when compared to the film's most marketable attraction: action. Also, as if projected into this macho script of bullets and combat, the occasional touchy/feeling scene provides an odd contrast to the gunfire. Uneven and inconsistent, but still, very amusing.

A huge fan of "Hill Street Blues," I was pleased to see Bruce Weitz appear in the film as Lester, the "dead man walking" with a 200 million dollar secret. Endearing as Belker (the detective with cut finger gloves, an animalistic instinct, and propensity to bite), he's equally engaging here as the bad guy turned peaceful. Donny (Morris Chestnut) plans to bust him out of the "New Alcatraz" and cash in on that secret. But what Donny doesn't know is that an FBI agent has already been planted among the prisoners, undercover on another assignment.

The opening sequence suffers from impatient editing and a soundtrack that doesn't quite support the visuals, but all that clears up rather swiftly.

I particularly enjoyed these bizarre characters and their interaction. The dynamic between Donny's assault team and the incidentally de-caged prisoners is especially enjoyable. They verbally badger the apt female member of that team, but when she turns just her head toward them, they run back in their cages.

As for Steven himself, he's simply fun to watch being quietly confident, cocky when provoked, and wholly very big. Similarly, the film is simply good shoot-'em-up fun.

Stay for the ending credits comic bonus, when Twitch and his girlfriend (Kurupt and Mo'Nique) debate their future separated by a plate of glass. Kurupt will bust your gut.

Interesting Note: Ja Rule admits that Peeple's aggression in the fight scene may not all be acting. "I kind of messed with her all through the film, popping in and out of areas. I was flirting with her and all, so when we went to shoot the fight scene she really wanted to kick my butt..."

  • Half Past Dead. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Steven Seagal, Morris Chestnut, Ja Rule, Nia Peeples, Tony Plana, Kurupt, Bruce Weitz.
  • Written and Directed by Don Michael Paul.
  • Produced by Andrew Stevens, Elie Samaha at Screen Gems/Franchise.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:08:35 PDT