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Still shot from the movie: Half Past Dead.

Half Past Dead

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Overall: D
Violence: D
Sexual Content: C+
Language: C-
Drugs/Alcohol: C-
Run Time: 99
Theater Release: 15 Nov 2002
Video Release:
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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My English teacher would have no problem critiquing this script --- it would be returned with "Quit copying other people's work" scrawled on the front page. It might also advise that non-stop shooting isn't an effective way to keep an audience awake for close to two hours.

Steven Seagal plays Sascha Petrosevitch, an undercover FBI agent posing as a seasoned international car thief. One of his closest friends (who is unaware of his double life) is career criminal Nick Frazier (played by rapper Ja Rule), whom Sascha took a bucket of bullets for during a bust. Saving Nick's life left Sascha "flat lined" or "half past dead" until a miraculous recovery put him immediately back to work where he is sentenced (to maintain his cover) with Nick to the newly refurbished Alcatraz 2.

Sharing the building with them is the infamous Lester (Bruce Weitz), a thief who refused to tell the government where a stash of gold bars is hidden. On the day of his execution, the sentencing Judge, Jane McPherson, along with other justice VIP's, come to witness the event in the prison's unique death chamber -- which offers a choice of ways to die and also happens to be soundproof. That's why everyone is so surprised when a group of ten commandos parachute onto the island in near-hurricane conditions and storm the pen with hopes of capturing Lester and forcing him to reveal the gold's location.

But the getaway helicopter with high-tech radar imaging doesn't do so well in the dark and stormy night. After smashing into a guard tower, the mercenaries turn to Plan B and take hostages, including Judge Jane, in order to demand a ride off the island. In hopes of saving the day, Sascha mounts an offensive using the motley group of inmates he's been socializing with and an arsenal of weapons that would make a guerilla army envious.

So many people are shot in this movie that the blisteringly loud sounds of bullets and bombs become a monotonous background to the even more painful clich0xE9d dialogue -- "You betrayed me. I trusted you. I thought we were friends."

With a body count that builds quickly and a script that dies fast, this movie's title is far too appropriate.

Half Past Dead is rated PG-13: for pervasive action violence, language, and some sexual content.

Cast: Morris Chestnut, Steven Seagal

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About the Reviewer: Rod Gustafson

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