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A criminal mastermind has set in motion a plan to infiltrate a high tech prison in order to persuade a death row inmate to reveal the whereabouts of $200 million worth of gold. It's up to an undercover FBI agent to stop him before it's too late. Written by
Yeah, a long time ago it turned into a tourist attraction. Now it's a prison again. Kind of. Well, it's more like an airport mixed together with a junior high school but there are lots of guys running around wearing orange jumpsuits, so I guess in that way it's like a prison. Not really though. When Sasha, Steven Seagal's character, is being admitted into prison, he's standing shackled in line and wanders over to a different line so he can talk to his friend, like he's in line for the security check at the airport. Then before too long he and his friend are throwing punches, smacking around a couple of security guards.
Let me tell you something. You assault a corrections officer in a federal prison, they'll shoot you on the spot. Ja Rule would have been shot about 30 times before he threw his second punch. Oh, and there are guys wearing beanies and bandanas and whatnot. In prison. Federal prison.
You can't dress like that at most high schools in America.
Speaking of Ja Rule, I have to say that the person who probably enjoyed his performance more than anyone else on earth, including Ja Rule himself, had to have been 50 Cent. Just before I watched this movie I saw one of those shows on TV about the greatest celebrity feuds ever, and like number 7 or 8 was this rivalry between 50 Cent, who had lived the thug life for real, and Ja Rule. Who had not. Every time I saw Ja Rule on screen the only thing I could picture was 50 Cent laughing his ass off. Ja Rule looks like a rowdy 9-year-old every time he appears on screen.
Anyway, getting back to the plot. It's funny. Sasha is an FBI agent working undercover and he agrees to let himself be sentenced to prison so he can get behind the criminal organization. He's sentenced to five years, and that old line between determination and stupidity instantly vanishes. Nothing else in the movie matters after that, it becomes a meaningless string of action sequences, most of which aren't even well choreographed.
Oh, how about this, a helicopter crashes through the roof of "New Alcatraz" at one point, accidentally freeing all of the inmates. And what do they do? They all run out of their cells and play basketball in the middle of the cell block. Without so much as a basket. They had a ball, but it doesn't matter. The scene is so stupid they might as well have been playing hopscotch.
So some guy is being sentenced to be the first person ever to be executed in Alcatraz's state of the art execution chamber, evidently not for stealing $200 million dollars in gold, but for not telling where it was hidden once he was caught.
Hey, good thinking, people. If you can't get information out of someone, kill them. That's a great way to learn the truth! So some gang breaks into the prison planning to stop the execution and get the location of the $200 million for themselves.
Oh and the $200 million is in gold bricks. I doubt they thought ahead to how difficult it would be to turn that into exchangeable currency.
There's also the issue of the warden at the prison. He's some tough-talking vato who thinks he's a hardcore chollo from the barrio, which reminds me of a joke. I saw this comedian once talking about people in California who talk all tough calling each other ese and homes and all kinds of other such nonsense. These people go to Mexico, the comedian says, and they're like, "Oh my god! People LIVE there? That's like, a total shack!"
The best is when the United States Supreme Court Justice arrives and this guy tells her that her men can't carry their guns inside his prison, "I don't care if she IS a United States Supreme Court Justice!"
This woman could squish him like a grape and he thinks he's in charge. Ha.
And by the way, the Supreme Court Justice that gets taken as a hostage in the movie tells the bad guy that she is 53. That's a year younger than Steven Seagal. I just thought that was funny.
The only good scene in the movie is the one in the prison where Ja Rule is getting slapped around the prison like a sack of cotton balls by this little Asian woman. That was the funniest thing I've seen in a movie in a long, long time.
You know, I work for the company that produced this film (which I why I watched it), and I still don't have a single positive thing to say about it, except, of course, for that one scene with Ja Rule getting spanked by that Asian woman.
So read my review of Malena and you will see how strongly I sometimes disagree with professional film critics like Roger Ebert, but in his review of this movie Ebert wrote something that I agreed with as much as anything else he's ever written:
"I imagine the flywheels at the MPAA congratulating each other on a good day's work as they rated 'Half Past Dead' PG-13, after giving the anti-gun movie 'Bowling for Columbine' an R."
Way to go, guys.
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