Despite critical roasting, Half Past Dead
is, surprisingly, not half bad. Once you recognise this bastard child's recent action-flick heritage (The Rock
being the most obvious of a dozen pilfered plot lines), you can kick back and enjoy the unexpected perks that arise when a deep-cover FBI sleuth (Steven Seagal) accompanies a convicted crook (rapper Ja Rule) into "New Alcatraz" prison. A death-row killer (Bruce Weitz) sits on a $200 million goldmine, keeping his secret as a bargaining chip when criminal commandos (led by the ever-cool Morris Chestnut) drop in for a lethally greedy raid. After cutting his teeth on trashy, short-lived US TV series, director Don Michael Paul can't do much to help the puffy, career-tanking Seagal, but he's got lively allies in Ja Rule and alleged "has-been" Nia Peeples (forget Lara Croft, this babe rocks
), and even legendary action-TV producer Stephen J Cannell drops in for a cameo. Derivative from the get-go, but fun just the same. --Jeff Shannon
After being shot several times and having a near death experience, an undercover FBI Agent is in anisland prison when a group of commandos raid the facility to extract a con slated for execution whoknows the whereabouts of 200 million in gold. It's up to the undercover agent to thwart them and tosave a Supreme Court Justice who is held hostage.