This Movie Suuucks: Half Past Dead

Sometimes when I write about movies like this, I feel the need to throw out some sort of disclaimer at the beginning. Like, “I know most superhero movies suck, so this will be the only one for a while.” Or “It goes without saying that Eddie Murphy movies suck, so don’t expect to see too many.” It’s the opposite with Korean movies; there are so many good ones, I don’t want this to become a fansite solely for them.

This is not the case with Steven Seagal. The former is the case with Steven Seagal, so don’t expect to see too many of his movies on here, because whether you like him or not, his movies (definitely the more recent ones) just suck.

Sascha Petrosevich (Steven Seagal) and Nick (Ja Rule in the performance of his lifetime) are awesome criminals who work for the same crime boss. He’s just the boss of crime and that’s how cool he is. Nick brings him in and at a certain point, a shootout occurs where Seagal is shot, and almost dies. This, consequently is where the title comes in, which still doesn’t make it sound cool. After Seagal wakes up, he has to go to prison.

Better than some other things he could be doing.

Better than some other things he could be doing.

But not just any prison- a supercool prison: NEW ALCATRAZ. It’s like regular old Alcatraz, with some modern updates. Like say for instance, how each prisoner can choose one of five ways how he will die. And how one big, fat prisoner can play Playstation 2 in his cell. And how there’s a window on the roof and they allow prisoners to repel up and down from the ceiling to spraypaint the walls.

Yes, that’s in the movie. But moving back to the “story,” a group of mercenaries break into the prison to get information from a man who’s about to be executed; he’s the only one who knows where  $200,000,000 worth of stolen gold is. Did you read all eight of those zeroes? That’s how much he stole.

Did you guys learn anything? ANYTHING?!

Am I the only one that learned ANYTHING from Brewster? ANYTHING?!

Don’t tell me that doesn’t put you on the edge of your seat. Actually it sounds more to me like the writer asked his kid, “Timmy? How much money do you think is in ALL the world?” To which an eight-year old would respond with an answer similar to what we have here. So after a bit you find out Seagal is FBI and has been deep undercover to get close to Ja Rule’s boss that they were working for at the beginning of the film.

How he was planning to do this inside of a maximum security prison is a little above my head but whatever. With the help of some hardcore, albeit wacky inmates, Seagal manages to save the day.

"S'whuddai do. WHOA! Watch the hands! These things'll kill you."

“S’whuddai do. WHOA! Watch the hands! These things’ll kill you.”

I’ve read Seagalogy (In book form!). I found it to be quite a hilarious study of Steven Seagal films, although I don’t have the same respect for Seagal that the author does. I think one of the biggest reasons I could never get into him was for the fact that he came off like a kid to me, going through phases. I’ve known guys who would become obsessed with an actress because she was the chick in the movie coming out, based on a property they really liked.

“Oh man, Green Lantern is coming out! Blake Lively is SO HOT, haw haw.” Green Lantern comes out, it sucks, movie’s over, I never hear them talk about her again, save for once or twice.

I see Seagal as being this way with cultures. (To be read in Seagal’s voice and eyes squinting) “Native Americans? Yeah, yeah…I’m like 3/16ths Cherokee and 1/8ths Chippewa. They’re my people and it’s what my next movie is gonna be about. Hell yeah…” But then he does three or four movies about him protecting Inuit people and seals and moves on.

At this point in time, he was into “Urban Culture,” and the rap music it produces. “African-Americans? Yeah, yeah, I feel you… I’m like 1/28th African and I bought a Wu-Tang Clan album one time thinking it was a Jackie Chan movie. Or maybe it was Lionel Ritchie. But hell yeah, let’s do Exit Wounds.” And eventually, Half-Past Dead was born.

"Hol' up, I gotta glimmer somethin' real quick."

“Hol’ up, I gotta glimmer somethin’ real quick.”

Now, let’s just get this out of the way: Ja Rule always was and always will be a poser. Therefore, any “thug” characters he plays are him trying to be a gangster in any medium he’s allowed to help destroy, music and movies alike. Loud, obnoxious, compensating rap music blares anytime something cool is supposed to be happening; driving fast cars, shootouts, checking into prison and beating up guards. You know- stuff that makes you the Man.

And believe Ja Rule and Steven Seagal, going to prison does make you awesome. They don’t go the way of American History X on this one though, with the constant fearing for your life or the gang rape. Rather, if you’ve got a bad attitude and look like you may have shot someone for fun or at least molested something, you just might make it.

But you’ve GOT TO BE HARDCORE. They treat prison like Drive Angry treated Hell: Only the baddest suckaz can handle it. If you’re not awesome, you won’t survive. One scene that particularly stood out as bad is the opening shootout. Seagal is driving as Ja Rule is playing up to the funny black sidekick until he the car spirals and Ja Rule flies out of the door with a well placed “WhOOoa!” smashing into an old car’s windshield and crashing onto the ground. Any normal man would’ve been put into traction and eating his meals through a straw, but not Rule. He just stands up with this unimpressed look on his face as if to say “Why, I oughta….”

He'd have made a great stooge.

He’d have made a great stooge.

Pretty soon after, the FBI breaks in, guns pointed and staring at Ja Rule telling him he’s under arrest. Then they watch as he slowly and calmly pulls out two guns to point back at them. Whoa. Stakes have been raised. Why they didn’t shoot him until there was nothing left is a mystery.

Lastly, if you ever make a movie where hardcore, stone-cold mercenaries are taking over a prison, do not, I repeat, do not cast Morris Chestnut as your lead villain. First off, his name is Morris Chestnut. A name like this belongs to someone who writes books you read by a fireplace. And I’d say he’s better suited for that because his acting skills have always been…meh. I don’t mean to hit below the belt, I just have a hard time seeing this guy outside of a sappy drama about betrayal or Anacondas (2004).

Then again, how can I expect much more from a villain when Ja Rule is the protagonist? I don’t know, but Lance Henriksen and Danny Trejo, regardless of age, are awesome and seem to show up in just about anything a writer will fart out, so look into that.

You can take the notes on his chest.

You can take the notes on his chest!

Here’s some HPD brilliance.

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