Half Past Dead (2002) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Action / Thriller
Sony || PG13 - 98 minutes - $28.95 || August 12, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-08-12

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Don Michael Paul
Writer(s): Don Michael Paul (written by)
Cast: Steven Seagal, Morris Chestnut, Ja Rule, Nia Peeples

Theatrical Release Date: November 15, 2002

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Making of Half Past Dead
  • Theatrical Trailer

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), French (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Portuguese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Arabic, Dutch

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.::THE FILM::.

Between this film and xXx2 Sony sent me to review, I figured that Half Past Dead would be the worst of the bunch. However, I was actually pleasantly surprised by this one. Sure, itís no Rock but I was thoroughly entertained for all 98 minutes of the film - something that came as a shock to me. Now, itís not a great movie, but it is a decent action flick to sit through. Once.

Half Past Dead tells the story of Sasha Petrosevitch (Seagal) and Nick (Ja Rule), two wannabe gangsters who get into a shootout with the FBI. Sasha gets shot and, as the title clearly wants you to know, was half past dead when he was revived. Both men are sent to New Alcatraz Island where they are locked up and forced to live with hundreds of other men who treat the place like a day spa. In enters Lester McKenna (Bruce Weitz), the first man to be executed out the newly remodeled prison. Lester holds a deep dark secret though...he stashed $200 million dollars in gold bars somewhere and a group of elite killers break into Alcatraz to get that information for themselves before he is killed!

Steven Seagal has never been considered a "good actor" and here, that still proves true. His acting performance is very wooden - almost robot-like - as he limps from scene to scene showing no emotion. All around him people are shooting, things are exploding, and he just strides from one spot to the next. His voice stays the same pitch whether he is in danger or just talking to his friend. Would it hurt to smile or laugh, Seagal?

As for the rest of the cast, Nick (Ja Rule) acts like a punk throwing any rational thinking out of the way and instead opts to give some sort of ridiculous dialog right before he winks and then busts out any guns he may be holding. Is there some sort of gangster code I am unaware of where you must wink at someone you dislike before trying to kill them? Maybe just in Seagal movies...

My main beef with this film is not with the acting, or the stupid plot, but the way we are lead to believe New Alcatraz is some bad ass prison when the inmates run around with bandannas on and assault the officers. Are we really supposed to believe that inmates are allowed to punch the guards and no repercussions would happen? Oh, they might take away their Playstation 2.

One of my main pet peeves with the Blu-ray format is the random titles that get released that make you go "hmmm". Did we really need to see Half Past Dead released on Blu-ray? It made $15 million at the box office - clearly it wonít help sell players and certainly not going to sell more than a couple hundred copies the first week. Do they just pick names out of the hat? Sure, some cheesy catalog titles are released to help tie-in with an actorís more popular movie getting released the same day, but this is a Seagal movie, what has he done in the past few years?


All Special Features are presented in SD.

Commentary with Director Don Michael Paul - For this commentary track Don has very little to say about the actual film - itís mostly recollections of the film and whatnot.

Deleted Scenes - A small collection of deleted scenes all of which amount to nothing.

Making of... - Yet another Making of that comprises of short interviews with various cast and crew that discuss how great it was making the film and how great everyone else is. I'd much rather see a documentary on Alcatraz island included - which is by far the best "character" of the film.

Also included is the Theatrical Trailer.


Half Past Dead is released in its Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 (AVC/MPEG4) on a 50GB disc. While I was initially impressed with the quality of such a low budget film, I quickly noticed this transfer has quite a few errors in at. At one point (a little after the hour mark) a black spot appears on Segal's face several times for no apparent reason. Then at the 1:18:56 mark a pink vertical line appears on the screen. How could these miss that in quality control?

Sony has included a plethora of sound options... way too many for a film of this caliber. We get an English, French and Portuguese Dolby 5.1 TrueHD Track. A fairly good track by Sony - bullets whiz from speaker to speaker and their numerous fight scenes come across perfectly. Dialog can be a bit tinny from time to time though.


Half Past Dead would make a great weekend rental - not something I would reccommend going out and buying. I couldn't ever see myself watching this film again even though I was entertained throughout the very short run time.