Half Past Dead (2002) (NTSC)

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Released 8-Jul-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Alternative Version-Full Screen Version
Audio Commentary-Director
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-I Spy, National Security, xXx
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 94
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 3,4 Directed By Don Michael Paul

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Steven Seagal
Morris Chestnut
Ja Rule
Nia Peeples
Tony Plana
Michael Taliferro
Claudia Christian
Linda Thorson
Bruce Weitz
Michael McGrady
Hannes Jaenicke
Matt Battaglia
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Tyler Bates
Ken Jordan

Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Steven Seagal plays Sascha Petrosevitch, an undercover FBI agent intent on bringing down a vicious crime lord responsible for the death of his wife. After a botched chop shop sting, Sascha and Nick Frazier (Ja Rule) are sent to a newly re-opened Alcatraz prison. Things quickly go from bad to worse when a group of elite criminals take over the prison. Their mission is to interrogate one of the prisoners scheduled for execution who knows where $200 million worth of gold bars are hidden. Not only do they want the prisoner for his knowledge of the gold, they're also holding a Supreme Court Justice hostage for insurance. Now it's up to Sascha to gather the remaining prisoners and fight back before Alcatraz becomes everyone's final resting place.

    This was the last film Seagal brought to the multiplexes, and in hindsight now feels like a Shakespearean opus compared to the direct to DVD atrocities of the last few years. The direction is competent, the script actually makes sense, the special effects are adequate and the big guy actually delivers his own lines. Director Don Michael Paul is obviously trained in the Michael Bay school of more is more filmmaking. He manages to elevate a cliché-ridden script that borrows heavily from past action classics like The Rock & Die Hard, and makes the enterprise enjoyable, albeit in the sense of a guilty pleasure. Indeed, several shots of the San Francisco Bay area are unused dailies from The Rock, lent by Bay himself. Seagal, looking heavy and tired, manages to participate in most of the fight sequences with only one or two noticeable stunt double shots. Half Past Dead turns out to be the last semi-respectable outing for Seagal, and as such fans should savour it.

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Transfer Quality


    Half Past Dead is presented in both full screen and 1:85:1 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

    The transfer is very sharp, with no signs of aliasing and little in the way of edge enhancement. Mind you this is a Sony release so quality is assured. Black levels are strong, with fine shadow detail impressively rendered. There were no low level noise issues.

    The film's colours are mostly blends of blues and grey, so natural colours are intentionally muted.

    The transfer is fairly devoid of film and video artefacts.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


   There are four audio options offered on this disc. Firstly, we have a very dynamic English 5.1 Dolby Digital track, followed by two 2.0 surround tracks in Spanish and Portuguese. The final track is a 2.0 surround Director's Commentary.

    Dialogue is clear with no discernable audio sync hiccoughs.

    The film's score is a mix of Rap and Hip Hop chart busters.

    The 5.1 Surround Channel track is excellent. The rear channels are kept extremely busy with directional effects making full use of the 5.1 soundfield.

    Subwoofer use is first rate, with excellent bass and reverberation levels.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation

Menu Audio

Alternative Version - Full screen version.

Audio Commentary

    Director Don Michael Paul delivers a fairly interesting commentary. He spends a lot of time on low budget filming techniques, location work and his directorial influences. An interesting commentary if somewhat dry.

Deleted Scenes

Featurette-Making Of

    Standard promotional EPK fluff. Typical of such fillers, the cast and crew tell the audience how great everyone is. Fairly worthless.

Theatrical Trailers

    XXX, I Spy and National Security.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    All versions currently available are the same, give or take the full screen availability.


  Half Past Dead turns out to be the last semi-respectable outing for Seagal. Considering how mediocre the film is really indicates how low the mighty have fallen. However, the disc looks and sounds great.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Greg Morfoot (if interested here is my bio)
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using Component output
DisplayLG 42" High Definition Plasma with built in High Definition Tuner. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderSony HT-K215. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony HT-K215
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

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