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
Action thriller starring Steven Seagal as Sascha Petrosevitch, an FBI agent working undercover to infiltrate a gang of crooks. His undercover operation even stretches to being incarcerated in a jail known as 'the new Alcatraz' with one of the gang members, Nick Frazier (Ja Rule). But when a corrupt prison assistant, Donny (Morris Chestnut) storms the prison demanding that a soon-to-be-executed thief tell him the whereabouts of $200 million worth of gold, Sascha must convince his fellow inmates of his true identity and foil Donny's plan - and quickly.