Just when we thought Steven Seagal was going to have a big theatrical comeback after the success of Exit Wounds, he starred in this very silly actioner which is far too similar to Michael Bay’s The Rock but nowhere near as good. Then in 2007 we got a sequel… not starring Steven Seagal. Instead we get Kurupt and Goldberg.
Let’s take a look at which is better.
Half Past Dead
The action is hilariously over the top with people being thrown around like rag dolls which totally takes you out of the action at times. This is one of the few PG-13 movies of Seagal’s career and it should be the only one; the music is all cut to shit with all of the swearing removed, which is more distracting than anything.
There isn’t really any violence as it all happens off-screen and like I said, it all feels like The Rock and several other, better movies.
Ja Rule is also not the world’s greatest actor and it’s no surprise we haven’t seen him in much since.
Morris Chestnut is an entertaining villain and you’ll remember him as the unfunny sidekick from Seagal’s Under Siege 2. Thankfully he’s got a better role in this movie even if it is totally forgettable.
I was disappointed that Seagal didn’t get to have a hand to hand fight at the end with Morris as that’s always the best part of his films. That’s one of my biggest problems with the movie is that we get very little of Seagal bitch-slapping people which is what we’re really paying to see.
I’m not sure if Kurupt’s character Twitch was meant to be funny or what the end credits scene was all about but I was mostly just bemused by it…
Also, why is everyone in this new Alcatraz prison so bloody nice? You’ve got the nicest, fairest warden ever and the criminals who all work together making it look almost appealing!
The script is also pretty forgettable with no really memorable lines, except for Ja Rule trying to teach Seagal how to say “Aiiight” which was excruciating.
It’s not a total loss though; it is well paced and the action is slickly done, if tame. There are real explosions and the fight choreography is well done, despite the whole being thrown across the room thing.
So Half Past Dead isn’t one of Seagal’s finest hours with watered down action that doesn’t help the unoriginal story and bland script.
Half Past Dead 2
The first Half Past Dead starring Steven Seagal was hardly worth getting a sequel to but we got one anyway.
Like the first movie there is plenty of action and a stand out scene is the fight between director Art Camacho and Bill Goldberg which has Camacho demonstrating his ass kicking skills rather nicely.
It moves along at a breezy pace and Goldberg is actually pretty decent as William Burke; he gives the movie its heart and his character isn’t the scary thug you think he’ll be at first. You still wouldn’t spill his pint though…
Now back to Kurupt; why bring back the least interesting character from the first movie? He isn’t funny or sympathetic; his character is just an annoying little bitch and I was praying one of the other inmates would shank him and be done with it. When he comes dressed in the pimp costume at the end I was wondering if this was meant to be funny but it really wasn’t.
I did however enjoy Robert Madrid as Cortez who is a quietly menacing villain and I thought he had real screen presence.
It’s nothing new in terms of story but the action is well directed with coherent fight scenes.
I literally can’t remember much else about it but if you haven’t watched it by now then you’re probably never going to.
Let’s be honest; neither movie is amazing but I’m going to have to go with the first movie because it at least has Seagal and Kurupt isn’t the lead. The second movie is still watchable but there are better genre pictures out there like The Rock, Shotcaller or Brawl in Cell Block 99.