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Half Past Dead

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Half Past Dead
from Film Forum, 11/21/02

Action star Steven Seagal continues to put out critically disregarded action films, leaving many critics baffled that theatergoers even buy tickets. His latest hyperviolent vehicle bears the riveting title Half Past Dead.

Michael Elliott says the flick "expends a considerable amount of ammunition but, not surprisingly, it doesn't really hit anything. Stretching credibility beyond the breaking point, it actually transcends any semblance of logic, thus eliminating the need to try and follow the story." He adds a note of surprise, however, at the references to God in the script. One of the characters who is counting down the hours to his execution "wants assurance that God has forgiven him."

Steven D. Greydanus also notices this emphasis on God's forgiveness, but concludes, "These musings ultimately go nowhere as the movie turns to its real interest, action sequences involving all the [violence] that a PG-13 rating will possibly allow."

Bob Smithouser (Focus on the Family) says, "I'm tempted to write to the Motion Picture Association of America and ask its anonymous ratings board precisely what a violent action film has to do to get an R rating anymore." Of the movie, he says, "The violence isn't the only thing that's brutal. The acting is an embarrassment."

Phil Boatwright says, "Bad acting, sloppy direction and the most improbable scheme known to the action/adventure genre are all this film has to offer. It's not fun, just silly. During a season of award-hopeful releases, about the only acknowledgement this production could muster is Worst Film of the Year."