Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

The original ‘Half Past Dead’ is a very special film in that, if I’m not mistaken, is the last Steven Seagal film to have theatrical distribution before he and director Michael Keusch set to the task of flooding the world with a new DTV film every week.  ‘Half Past Dead’ wasn’t a very good movie, at least certainly not one which we would think merits a sequel, but due to the ever burgeoning Direct-to-Video market, here we are with another DTV sequel of a movie that almost nobody went to see in the first place.  But where the DTV sequel to the movie ‘Undisputed’, in ‘Undisputed 2’ was actually better than the original, can we say that the film ‘Half Past Dead 2’ is better than its original?  No, we will say, it is not.

Welcome back to ‘The Rock’, where actor Tony Plana gets a quick paycheck briefly recreating his role from the original film as Warden El Fuego.  There is a fight in the yard, and the warden breaks it up threatening to send anyone who starts another fight to the supermax prison known as Creighton in loverly Missouri.  This blurb catches the attention of inmate Twitch, played by rapper Kurupt who also has recreated his role from the original, though Lord knows I don’t remember him being in it.  Twitch decides to start a fight to get transferred to Creighton because it puts him closer to his girlfriend and it also puts him in direct proximity to the Gold that the we thought the Lester McKenna character from the original took the location of to his grave.

The Creighton Supermax Facility is not a nice place as it has your prerequisite barrio bangers, Cripesque bangers and skin head bangers, but standing alone beyond all of them is super badass Burke, as portrayed by professional wrestler Bill Goldberg.  Burke just wants to mind his own business, do his time and reunite with his teenaged daughter.  Good  luck with that one during THIS movie Burke.  Seems there’s a war

about to breakout between our barrio brothers led by one Cortez (Robert Madrid) and our Cripper brothers led by one Angel (Stogie Kenyatta).  A note about Actor Robert Madrid.  I’m not saying that all Hispanic gang members should affect a chintzy, offensive Cheech Marin accent, but they probably shouldn’t come off sounding like visiting Georgetown University Fellows as Mr. Madrid does.  He looked the part, but he sure didn’t sound the part.   Anyway, for reasons that weren’t explained, at least in a way I could understand, Cortez shoots Angel in a crowded lunch room, after yelling out his name first and then blames it on Burke which everybody seems to accept as fact.  Burke is now being hunted by the new leader of the Crippers J.T. (Michael Omari).  The prison is now in a full riot mode and in a complete lockdown, and wouldn’t you know just as the doors shut, Burkes daughter Ellie (Alona Tal) and Twitches girl Cherise (Angell Conwell) are locked inside too.  Now the race is on as Twitch and Burke must join forces and kick complete ass to free their women and bring justice to a place where there is none!

One of the problems with ‘Half Past Dead 2’ is that it lacked ‘movie polish’.  I really shouldn’t compare this film to the original, but since they did tack the number 2 on the title I imagine I am well within my right to do so.  Whatever you may have thought about the original, it was a slick looking, glossy, pumped up Hollywood style production whereas this sequel looked flat, cheap and somewhat amateurish.  Goldberg does a great job of being large and looking pissed off but sadly as an actor, he’s no Steven Seagal(!).  Kurupt was apparently on hand to lend comic relief to the production, but most of his constant joking fell short and failed to inspire.  Keep an eye on actor Michael Omari though as he was able to give his insanely thinly written character of J.T. some depth and history simply by the look on his face and recitation of some truly clichéd lines.

Though ‘Half Past Dead 2’ was a fairly lame affair, Director Art Comacho, who is making quite a career for himself conducting cheap, weak DTV action flicks (How can I be down?), does take advantage of the one thing he has working in his favor and that’s Bill Goldberg’s ability to fake fight.  By far the best parts of the film was when Goldberg was brutally kicking somebody’s ass as he performed his signature moves with flair and polish.  All of the other fight scenes unfortunately were very forced and unrealistic however.

I hate to say it, but where is that overweight, pony tailed master of Aikido Steven Seagal when you need him.  And Morris Chestnut too for that matter.  ‘Half Past Dead 2’ has a few things going in it’s favor, mainly Goldberg's kicking ass abilites, but sadly that’s only a minor part of the film and as such DTV film lovers will probably be disappointed in yet another pointless sequel to a film they probably barely remember in the first place.

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