Half Past Dead (Blu-ray) (2002)

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Released 27-Oct-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Animation
Audio Commentary-Writer/Director
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 98:32 (Case: 94)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Don Michael Paul
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Steven Seagal
Ja Rule
Case ?
RPI ? Music Tyler Bates


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 EX (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Steven Seagal, after the early 1990s good patch. That should say it all to most viewers. Half Past Dead is a probably most notable for being the last Seagal flick to make it to the big screen in most parts of the world (certainly Australia). It is certainly not the worst, but it does share as many production values with his straight to video fare as it does his theatrical output - so much so that most viewers who did not know better would probably assume it was a straight-to-video release.

    Seagal plays Sasha Petrosevitch, supposedly an Eastern European gang-banger (who walks and talks no differently to any other character Seagal has ever played) who has hooked up with an organised gang of well-dressed homies, led by Nick Frazier (Ja Rule - Seagal and a rapper, how could it go wrong?!). Petrosevitch is really a deep undercover FBI agent, although we are reassured that doesn't make him bad as he is only doing it to catch the man who murdered his wife (and who promptly disappears from the storyline).

    During a gunfight with the law, Petrosevitch takes a bullet for Frazier which leaves him dead for a number of minutes, hence he is "half past dead" once he is revived. The pair are packed off to a newly reopened Alcatraz (I guess the tourist dollars weren't big enough), where Petrosevitch's situation intrigues the first man set to be electrocuted there, Lester (Bruce Weitz). Petrosevitch entertains Lester and learns that he is being killed for robbing a train load of gold bullion and accidentally killing a number of folks in the process. Throughout 20 years of appeals nobody has found Lester's gold and that sparks a groups of highly trained killers, led by the Governor's right-hand man (Morris Chestnut) and self-proclaimed "Queen B**** of the Universe" (probably because nobody else would have thought it so) Six (Nia Peeples), to take control of the prison to find the location of the gold. In the process they take a number of high profile dignitaries, all there to see the execution, hostage. The tough-but-fair warden (Tony Plana, Ugly Betty's dad) tries to reason with the invaders to no avail. Petrosevitch teams up with a bunch of prisoners to save the day. Explosions and Seaga-grade martial arts ensue.

    The plot is both ridiculously convoluted and fairly simple. The dialogue is universally awful and clumsily delivered, though it is adequate enough if you've checked your brain at the door. The action looks overly set-up, but is surprisingly entertaining. In a nutshell, the movie is crap but still quite watchable. Half Past Dead makes for an alright 90 minute time-waster for D-grade action fans, but it is hard to watch it without constantly wondering how this became a relatively early Blu-ray release when there is so much infinitely better fare out there.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080p. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL). More information can be found here.

    The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio in 1080p/24fps.

    The video is an improvement on DVD, but not really anything more than upscaled DVD quality. The image is pretty sharp and features a reasonably fine level of detail. Mild grain is visible throughout the film, and gets a little distracting in some of the more obvious green-screen scenes and outdoor scenes.

    The colour depth and detail in dark areas is disappointing. The blacks frequently look dark grey and are flat.

    There are frequent film artefacts visible throughout the film, all small flecks of dust and rarely more than one on screen at a time. Completely unnecessary edge enhancement is occasionally noticeable, though not too severe. There are no signs of compression-related artefacts.

    English subtitles for the hearing impaired are present for the feature. Based on the portion I sampled they appear to be accurate and well-timed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    An English Dolby TrueHD audio track is present for the film.

    The dialogue is soft in the mix and on several occasions is either overpowered by other noise or muffled (such as at the 51:00 mark). Overdubs are frequently visible, but the audio visual sync is otherwise good.

    The movie features an over-the-top rap-metal score, by Tyler Bates, which fits but is entirely unmemorable. The score sounds clean in the mix, but occasionally drowns out other noise - dialogue included.

    The surround usage is disappointing. The surround channels are moderately active but at a low level compared to the front speakers. A lot of the panning is clumsy and the sound too clean, particularly in scenes where the location should demand a degree of echo or something such. The subwoofer gets nothing but heavy booms and bangs.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    A modest selection of extras, identical to the DVD edition, are present. Each is in SD except for three trailers for other films and a trailer for the Blu-ray format.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    An opening menu is present when the disc is first inserted (unlike many Blu-rays) and a pop-up menus is available when playing back any video.

Audio Commentary

    Writer/Director Don Michael Paul provides a so-so commentary that focuses on the film's production, particularly the tricks and traps in making a low budget studio flick.

Making Of Featurette (13:17)

    Just under 15 minutes of the cast and crew patting themselves on the back as they talk about how edgy the movie is. Skip it.

Deleted Scenes (3:31)

    Pointless extended and deleted scenes that don't add anything to the film.

Trailer (2:24)

    A fairly clumsy theatrical trailer for the film.

Trailers

    A general trailer for the Blu-ray format and trailers for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Men in Black.

R4 vs R1

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

    Half Past Dead has not been released on Blu-ray in Region A yet.

    This Blu-ray pretty much picks up all the extras from the DVD edition (reviewed here), in the same SD format, which are identical across regions. The only Blu-ray exclusive, save for a couple of trailers for other movies in 1080p, is access to Sony's BD Live service.

Summary

    The plot is convoluted and the action is clumsy, yet Half Past Dead still manages to be a reasonably enjoyable, though very d-grade, latter day Steven Seagal flick if you are willing to check your brain at the door. Not one worthy of repeat viewings though. It is anyone's guess as to how this managed to score a relatively early Blu-ray release.

    The video is a bump up from DVD, but little more. The audio is obnoxiously mixed and generally a little disappointing. The extras are forgettable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Friday, December 05, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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