Kyle sits nervously outside the house of his estranged son Niall. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” he says despondently when Patrick asks what came between them. Jamie smirks, as if anything could shock them at this point. “Well…,” Kyle begins, “there was this cursed Egyptian amulet of immense power. Niall stole it using his hacking skillz. Everyone wanted it and so they went after him. In the end he put it on and… the power… it felt good. I guess it drove him a little crazy. So like I said, a bit of a wild card.” Jamie and Patrick nod in understanding. Gathering up courage they boldly stride to the door and knock in unison. As the door opens techno music blares and Niall dances his way to the doorstep looking pretty dope in his hacker clothez and a funky fresh ancient Egyptian amulet hanging from his neck. He slides his wildly fashionable sunglasses down his nose, “Daddio? That you?” Kyle nods sheepishly and looks closely at Niall. “How are you? Still a little wild?” he asks hesitantly. Niall waves him off and explains that he learned that “with great power comes great responsibility.” (Jamie and Patrick write that wholly original phrase down). Niall then ushers them into the house where he introduces his beautiful baby boy. It’s all very touching and they are on the verge of tears. Kyle and Niall go in for a hug when a shot rings out only to be blocked by the immense power of the amulet. “My god they’ve found me!” Niall yells, “Quick take the child. I’ll juke Miles’ stats, just keep little Niles safe.” The three of them look frantically at the child as Niall flees. What are we just three men and a baby or something? That’s wrong! We obviously aren’t watching the hit comedy classic Three Men and a Baby, but if Niall doesn’t get out of there quick he is gonna be… Half Past Dead. Starring Steven Seagal in pretty much his last starring role in a theatrical release this film looks bonkers and it’s no wonder it got a big ol’ BOMB by Leonard. Let’s go!
Half Past Dead (2002) – BMeTric: 63.0; Notability: 36
StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 4.0%; Notability: top 48.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 1.4% Higher BMeT: Crossroads, Rollerball, Halloween: Resurrection, The Master of Disguise, Pluto Nash, Feardotcom, Scooby-Doo, Boat Trip; Higher Notability: Men in Black II, Scooby-Doo, The Time Machine, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Master of Disguise, Dragonfly, John Q, Unconditional Love, Collateral Damage, Showtime, Queen of the Damned, I Spy, Rollerball, The Country Bears, Bad Company, The Truth About Charlie, The Sweetest Thing, The Tuxedo, Pluto Nash, Analyze That, and 21 more; Lower RT: The Master of Disguise, Deuces Wild, Feardotcom; Notes: Pretty incredible the rating is rising at all if I’m being honest. It should absolutely stick below 5.0 I would think. The notability is about where I would expect, maybe even a bit high. It is a theatrical action film with a ton of rappers and stuff, but they almost definitely skimped on the crew.
Leonard Maltin – BOMB – Seagal is an undercover FBI agent who arrives as an inmate in prison on the same day a team of crooks – get this – break into the joint, to get a condemned man to tell them where there’s a hidden stash of gold bars. To call this bad is an understatement … even by Seagal standards. Followed by a direct-to-video sequel.
(There is a reason I’m pretty sure this is the last theatrical release by Seagal. I don’t know why all of the martial artists all went away at the same time, I wonder if someone wrote a book on it. Market corrected by Jackie Chan? The realization you could get actual actors like Nic Cage to star in weird action films? I don’t know, seems weird though that nearly all martial artists became straight-to-video at the same time.)
(My god the opening with Seagal spinning Ja Rule out of the car. Let’s see if they are going to give it away. Please give it away. Please. Oh shiiiiiiiit they didn’t do it! That’s impressive. Spoiler alert, but Seagal isn’t a convict, he’s an undercover agent. It isn’t hard to guess.)
Directors – Don Michael Paul – (Known For: Kindergarten Cop 2; The Scorpion King: Book of Souls; The Garden; Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; BMT: Half Past Dead; Notes: He was an actor to some degree, even starring in a television series called The Hat Squad with Billy Warlock. He’s directed a ton of straight to video action sequels basically.)
Writers – Don Michael Paul (written by) – (Future BMT: Who’s Your Caddy?; Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man; BMT: Half Past Dead; Notes: He’s mostly been writing the straight to video stuff he’s directed over the last two decades. He sold his freshman script which became Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, although he was originally an actor.)
Actors – Morris Chestnut – (Known For: Boyz n the Hood; The Last Boy Scout; The Call; Girls Trip; Think Like a Man; G.I. Jane; Like Mike; Heist; Higher Learning; The Inkwell; The Best Man; Ladder 49; The Best Man Holiday; Confidence: After Dark; Scenes of the Crime; Two Can Play That Game; The Brothers; Future BMT: The Cave; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Identity Thief; When the Bough Breaks; The Perfect Holiday; The Perfect Guy; Breakin’ All the Rules; Kick-Ass 2; Not Easily Broken; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Half Past Dead; The Game Plan; Notes: Won the 1998 Madden Bowl which was a video game tournament between celebrities and professional athletes. Mostly does television now, like the title role in Rosewood.)
Steven Seagal – (Known For: Under Siege; Machete; Executive Decision; Above the Law; Beyond the Law; China Salesman; General Commander; Sniper: Special Ops; About Time; Code of Honor; The Onion Movie; Attrition; Killing Salazar; End of a Gun; Contract to Kill; The Foreigner; The Asian Connection; Maximum Conviction; The Perfect Weapon; Ticker; Future BMT: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Hard to Kill; Marked for Death; Out for Justice; BMT: On Deadly Ground; Half Past Dead; Fire Down Below; The Glimmer Man; Exit Wounds; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director for On Deadly Ground in 1995; Nominee for Worst Actor in 1995 for On Deadly Ground; in 1998 for Fire Down Below; and in 2003 for Half Past Dead; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Executive Decision in 1997; and Nominee for Worst Original Song, and Worst Screen Couple for Fire Down Below in 1998; Notes: Famously a Bhuddist, he was even announced as a tulku (to some controversy) by his advisor. Has Serbian and Russian citizenship, both granted to him after visiting both countries.)
Ja Rule – (Known For: Assault on Precinct 13; Shall We Dance; Pauly Shore Is Dead; I’m in Love with a Church Girl; Goat; Back in the Day; Don’t Fade Away; Furnace; Future BMT: Scary Movie 3; The Cookout; Turn It Up; BMT: Half Past Dead; The Fast and the Furious; Notes: Born in Queens as Jeffrey Atkins. He apparently has a feud with 50 Cent and was born on Leap Day.)
Budget/Gross – $25 million / Domestic: $15,567,860 (Worldwide: $19,233,280)
(Yeah that is some Hollywood accounting. There is no way they spent $25 million on a Seagal film in the mid-2000s. He was basically toast at this point career wise.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 3% (3/88): Seagal is now too bulky to make a convincing action hero, and Half Past Dead is too silly and incoherent to deliver any visceral kicks.
(Oh snap, they actually call him fat in the Rotten Tomatoes consensus! That is coooooooold blooooooooded. Reviewer Highlight: It goes through the motions of an action thriller, but there is a deadness at its center, a feeling that no one connected with it loved what they were doing. – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times)
Poster – Half Past Sklog
(I’m glad they put all those colors on there or I wouldn’t know how rad this is. Seriously, though, if I saw this poster in a theater today I might just live there until it came out. Look at that tiny little Alcatraz in the corner! Nice font, interesting spacing, and pretty horrid colors. Comes out a little bit of a wash but I’ll give it a C+ just for funsies.)
Tagline(s) – The Good. The Bad. And the Deadly. (C+)
(It’s a little generic, but it does hit a lot of the right beats. It’s short and is trying to be clever. Basically, it sounds like a tagline and does its job adequately. I was gonna give it higher than it deserved, but then I looked and found another film with the same tagline… and it looks pretty amazing.)
Keyword – prison
Top 10: Bill & Ted Face the Music (2020), Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017), Boogie Nights (1997), Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), The Goonies (1985), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), The Dark Knight (2008), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Future BMT: 88.2 Street Fighter (1994), 68.7 Supergirl (1984), 68.7 Gulliver’s Travels (2010), 66.2 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993), 64.6 102 Dalmatians (2000), 57.5 The Counsellor (2013), 56.0 Ri¢hie Ri¢h (1994), 54.3 Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005), 54.3 Honey (2003), 51.9 Blackhat (2015);
BMT: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016), Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Over the Top (1987), Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), The Last Witch Hunter (2015), Super Mario Bros. (1993), Assassin’s Creed (2016), A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Tango & Cash (1989), Pixels (2015), Gamer (2009), Battlefield Earth (2000), Need for Speed (2014), Rambo III (1988), Mechanic: Resurrection (2016), Gangster Squad (2013), Judge Dredd (1995), Pompeii (2014), Zoolander 2 (2016), American Outlaws (2001), 10,000 BC (2008), Hudson Hawk (1991), Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), Lock Up (1989), Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory (1990), A Haunted House 2 (2014), Problem Child (1990), xXx²: The Next Level (2005), Twisted (2004), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004), Mortdecai (2015), 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), Another 48 Hrs. (1990), Old Dogs (2009), Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), Romeo Must Die (2000), Alex Cross (2012), Exit Wounds (2001)
(If I’m being honest, none of the future BMT films are very appealing. Street Fighter maybe, but I’ve seen the film a number of times. I guess Supergirl given it is apparently one of the worst films of all time, but I wish there were more terrible prison films you know? Just make one film set in future Alcatraz a year and I’d be pretty down to watch it.)
Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Steven Seagal is No. 1 billed in Half Past Dead and No. 1 billed in Exit Wounds, which also stars Isaiah Washington (No. 3 billed) who is in Hollywood Homicide (No. 5 billed), which also stars Josh Hartnett (No. 2 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 3 billed) => 1 + 1 + 3 + 5 + 2 + 3 = 15. If we were to watch Out for Justice we can get the HoE Number down to 13.
Notes – In an article for the German publication Berliner Kurier, Wolfgang Lindner recalls the eccentricities of Steven Seagal on the set. Reportedly, Seagal traveled everywhere in the company of a Buddhist adviser whose verdicts on the state of Seagal’s karma would be reason enough for Seagal to halt filming for a day. (Sounds about right)
Some aerial shots in this film were originally shot, but ultimately unused, for Michael Bay’s film The Rock (1996). Bay is very good friends with director Don Michael Paul and allowed him to use the footage in this film.
The shot of the skydivers jumping out of the airplane is footage from Navy Seals (1990).
Although writer/director Don Michael Paul praises Steven Seagal in the “making-of featurette” on the DVD, he has since gone on to give interviews saying that Seagal was a disruptive force on the set and that he would constantly turn up late and delay production for no apparent reason.
All indoor prison scenes were shot in an old STASI prison in Berlin, Germany.
The script to this film was written ten years prior to filming as The Rock (1996) but there was another script with the same title that was filmed so this one had to wait ten years later to be done (I don’t think that’s why it took 10 more years …)
Although many industry publications stated that the film’s budget was in the mid $20 million range, the actual figure is closer to $15 million. (I knew it!)
Near the beginning while the PST news report is running, the scroll at the bottom is either ridiculous or reflects the politics of the writers/producers and also in one case contradicts itself. As follows: Middle East Crisis Escalates, Stock Prices Surge – Pessimism Ebbing, Economy Sluggish-Gross National Product Flatlining, 27 Foot Great White Shark caught off Barrier Reef, Polar Ice Caps Melt-Global Warming to Blame.
Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Steven Seagal, 2003)