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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Half Past Dead
Half Past Dead
Columbia/Tri-Star // R // March 4, 2003
List Price: $26.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ron J. Epstein | posted February 14, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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"You've got big balls… for a woman."

The Feature:
Welcome to Movie Hell. Population… Ron Epstein. Where do I even begin talking about what an absolute mess "Half Past Dead" is? For those of you keeping track, this is my second review of a past-his-prime Steven Seagal movie. In my first one, I lambasted "The Foreigner" for being utter trash. And now, I'm having a hard time not doing the same thing for "Half Past Dead." If I had to describe the movie in just one word, that word would be "mindless." And trust me, I was considering adding an expletive before that to really convey my emotions, but then I realized that would be unnecessary. The body of my review should let you know how I really felt.

Meet Sascha Petrosevitch (Steven Seagal) and Nick Fraizer (Ja Rule). Sascha is Russian. Sascha has the most unconvincing Russian accent I've ever heard (it goes in and out for 2 minutes, and the rest of the movie he talks in perfect mumbling English). Nick introduces Sascha to his boss, a man who runs the "biggest crime syndicate between Eastern Europe and the Pacific Rim" (his words, not mine). I guess you can see where things are headed, right? To even drive the point home, Sascha has to pass a polygraph test claiming he isn't a cop or in the FBI. Jeez, talk about telegraphing a plot "twist."

Later on in the movie, Nick and Sascha are surrounded by the police; and we are treated to a huge shootout thanks to Nick's antics. By shootout, I mean that nobody reloads their weapons, and when people get shot, they manage to do spectacular flips until they crash through plate glass windows. Ugh. Sascha takes a few bullets. He starts to flat line (yes!), but is brought back to life (no!). Had they left Seagal dead, this would have made the rest of the movie infinitely better.

The next time we see Nick and Sascha, they're in prison. Not just any prison… They're in the New Alcatraz! Wow, doesn't that shivers down your spine? Now, this is one of the few prisons I can remember in where inmates can attack guards without receiving any sort of punishment. The rest of the movie is a black hole, as the plot is about a man who knows where $200 million in gold is hidden. The bad guys invade the prison, and try to learn the secret of where the gold is hidden. And of course, it's Sascha to the rescue. Man, Seagal is so fat and out of shape. They have him doing moves that would be impossible for him to perform without getting winded.

Ja Rule and Steven Seagal in a buddy movie together? Man, I've seen better pairings in 1-800 Collect commercials. Folks, I won't lie to you. This movie is garbage. Don't watch it. Please. You'd be better off watching channel 85, you know, the one that's just static. Or for those of you looking for another alternative, may I suggest watching paint dry? Anything is better than wasting 90 minutes of your life on "Half Past Dead."

Video:
Columbia Tri-Star presents "Half Past Dead" in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 and Full Frame 1.33:1. Through the menu, you can toggle which format you prefer. The transfer is very good, with flesh tones looking true to life. There's very little grain, and virtually no artifacting. Good job Columbia.

Audio:
The audio is presented here in Dolby 5.1 Surround and French 2.0. The 5.1 is very good, as the speakers rock during the explosions and gun play. The soundtrack sounds very good as well. Throw in no audio dropouts, and clean and distinct dialogue, and you have a thumbs up from me.

Menus:
Static DVD menu with looping music offers the choices of "Play Movie", "Audio Set Up Options", "Subtitles", "Scene Selection", "Special Features", and "Trailers."

Extras:
The first bonus is a commentary from the writer/director Don Michael Paul. It's a pretty entertaining commentary, as he mentions that he wrote the movie over 10 years ago, but it was passed over because "The Rock" was in production. Lot's of other tidbits are shared, but ultimately, do you care what a bad director/writer has to say about a bad movie?

Three deleted scenes are included that actually help in rounding out the cockamamie story. Also thrown in is a "Making of Half Past Dead" featurette, which is nothing more than fluff. There's a few trailers also included, one for "Half Past Dead", "I Spy", "National Security" and "xXx." On a side note, the "xXx" trailer is almost on every Columbia Tri-Star DVD I've reviewed since December.

Final Thoughts:
Decent extras and good audio/video quality makes Ron a confused little boy. The movie sucks, and regardless of how well it's presented doesn't change the fact that it sucks. So, for you Seagal fans out there, you'd probably want to "Rent It." For 99.5% of the rest of the population, "Skip It."

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