Half Past Dead

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -1 1/2

This action flick involves the reopening of Alcatraz, where the most dangerous inmates on death row are imprisoned. One of them, Lester (Bruce Weitz), has stolen more than 230 million dollars worth of gold. Only he knows where the treasure is hidden, and he is scheduled to be executed in less than 24 hours. A well-armed commando force called the 49ers, led by a pair of ruthless killers (Morris Chestnut and Nia Peeples), is determined to break him out or at least get his secret before he dies. But FBI agent Sascha Petrosevitch (Steven Seagal) is posing as a prisoner. The situation intensifies when the 49ers discover that a Supreme Court Justice is in Alcatraz to witness the execution. To save the judge and prevent the escape, Sascha turns to some of the prisoners for assistance and rallies them against the 49ers. The film is heavy on combat sequences and deadly action, including a positive portrayal of a suicide bombing. Much of this violence, especially the gun play, is far from realistic. And the prisoners rise to the call of duty is hard to believe.

In the midst of the violence, some moral thoughtfulness takes place. Inmate Lester is said to have become born again and comes across genuinely. He asks Sascha about the afterlife and if God will forgive him for his crimes. The prison warden (Tony Plana) hands each prisoner a Bible and a prison rulebook and advises them to read them both. An inter-racial friendship develops between Sascha and a prisoner named Nick (Ja Rule), in which the two seem to genuinely care about and respect each other. While in reality prison is a rough place where no one would want to be, it is portrayed here as a boys club where prisoners enjoy hanging out together. The main character has a healthy respect for the lives of others. The main objection to the film is the near nonstop shooting and fighting. While the movie is called Half Past Dead, it does have a little life.

Preview Reviewer: Blaine Butcher
Screen Gems, 10202 W. Washington Blvd. Culver city, CA 90232

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (12) times Mild 2, moderate 10

Obscene Language: Several (5) times F-word 2, S-word 3

Profanity: Few (2) times Exclamatory (G), (GD)

Violence: Many times Moderate (nearly nonstop shooting, fiery explosions, martial arts fights, kicks, hits with electric baton, falls, wrecks, knife play

Sex: None.

Nudity: None.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (conversations about life in prison, man threatens to rape woman, prisoner on phone with girlfriend during the closing credits)

Drugs: Cigarette smoking

Other: Prisoners are not bad all the way through, people can change for the better, loyalty among friends, women can be leaders, head criminal scary psychopath

Running Time: 98 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and adults

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