This movie tells the story of a man who goes undercover in a hi-tech prison to find out information to help prosecute those who killed his wife. While there he stumbles onto a plot involving... Read allThis movie tells the story of a man who goes undercover in a hi-tech prison to find out information to help prosecute those who killed his wife. While there he stumbles onto a plot involving a death-row inmate and his $200 million stash of gold.This movie tells the story of a man who goes undercover in a hi-tech prison to find out information to help prosecute those who killed his wife. While there he stumbles onto a plot involving a death-row inmate and his $200 million stash of gold.
That's not to say Half Past Dead did not bother me. First and foremost, my feelings for most contemporary music (rap, metal, rock, country, etc) artists range from mild appreciation to utter disgust for reasons that belong in another review, in another discussion. The music that a number of action sequences were cut to was from said contemporary music, more specifically, from the "disgust" portion of the spectrum. Thus, I was tempted to play the action sequences in mute.
Also, I was disappointed to see Nia Peeples kick the crap out of Ja-Rule only to be put down with one punch (?!) and then throw in a typical villain's anti-climactic death. But there I go with my own expectations, thinking for some silly reason that someone who can dish out punishment should be able to take it . . . that and my desire to see rappers in films die.
Finally, the hostage switch towards the end of the film . . . okay, this is a Steven Seagal action film. I'm willing to accept a lot of BS for the sake of an action film. BS such as choosing the single dumbest, most vulnerable, position for the coming gunfight; Nia's makeup and outfit; the chain fight; Ja Rule's constant winking; the storyline with the Sasha character . . . but the cheap surprise with the judge so the filmmakers can pat themselves on the back and say, "We fooled the audience" is pushing me over the line.
But, yeah, there were mindless fist fights, there were mindless gunfights, there were mindless explosions, chases, a plot that's just an excuse to bridge said sequences together, and no real ambition to go any further everything I was expecting when I picked it up for the rental.
What can I say, though? It was fun watching Steven start a fight with prison guards more or less because he can. It was a blast watching Nia in her oddball makeup beat the living crap out of Ja Rule (why, oh why, didn't she get to kill him?). I found it hilarious that these prisoners were so eager to defend their prison so they can serve the rest of their sentence in peace and quiet. And wow, how great was it seeing Steven and Ja Rule prepare for a confrontation by trapping themselves in the exposed cockpit of a crashed helicopter that's up in the rafters with no way to get down? Shooting missiles down with the helicopters guns was the icing on this outrageous cake of disbelief.
They say timing is everything; this also applies to when one sees a movie and how much they enjoy it. I consciously watched Half Past Dead full well knowing I've hated other films for less, but still got a kick out of what I observed on the screen. Which provokes an interesting thought: between timing (including state of mind/mood) and expectations, both of which heavily influence a critics opinion, how much room is there for "objective" reviews? I'm glad I've never claimed to be an objective critic.
- Jul 4, 2005