Half Decent, Half Daft
Sasha Petrosevitch (Steven Seagal) is an FBI agent masquerading as a car thief who thanks to Nick (Ja Rule) is introduced to crime lord Sonny Eckvall (Richard Bremmer) who believes him when he says he is a crook for hire unaware who Sasha is and that Sonny was the man who killed his wife. When the FBI arrive to arrest Sonny things go wrong and Sasha ends up shot. But it leads him to carry on his undercover work when he is put in the new high tech Alcatraz run by warden Juan Ruiz "El Fuego" Escarzaga (Tony Plana). But it seems there is some thing much deeper going on as one of the inmates is about to head to death row and he knows where $200,000,000 worth of gold bricks is stashed from the heist which saw him kill 5 people. With Sasha trying to find out where he stashed them some terrorists infiltrate the prison to also try and find out where the gold is.
My that was a lot of plot for a Steven Seagal movie and most of it is pointless as you can sum up "Half Past Dead" by saying Seagal plays an undercover FBI agent masquerading as a con in Alcatraz who tries to save the day from some bad guys. Even when you strip it down to what it is "Half Past Dead" still sounds poor and whilst some might say what do you expect from a Seagal movie I know that one in five of his movies is good except this isn't one of them.
In truth whilst "Half Past Dead" serves up this convoluted plot and gives us a modern Alcatraz with high tech security the story and various terrorists and double crosses are not important because it is all about the action. But the action is all of the ridiculous sort with heavily edited action to make it look snappy and fantastic but is seriously over the top. If you don't believe me you just need to watch the opening 20 minutes to see how ridiculous the action scenes are including a fight in Alcatraz between Sasha and a guard.
On the subject of Sasha, well this is one of those movies where Seagal acts cool, walks cool and thanks to the editing looks cool during the action but like so many of his 21st century movies leaves you wanting back the Seagal when he was the exciting action star. Ja Rule gives us cool as well as does Tony Plana as the street wise Mexican prison Warden. And then you have Nia Peeples who is not only cool but smoking hot thanks to the directors styling.
What this all boils down to is that "Half Past Dead" is when you pay attention to it a ridiculous movie. As an action movie it isn't a great deal better as whilst snappy it is a case of the editing doing the work rather than the stars to make it look good. But for those like me who still enjoy the mindlessness of a Steven Seagal movie it is worth a watch on a Friday night.