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Death Warrant (1990)

DVD Cover (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)
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Overall Rating 57%
Overall Rating
Ranked #2,208
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Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Robert Guillaume
Robert Guillaume
Cynthia Gibb
Cynthia Gibb
George Dickerson
George Dickerson
Art LaFleur
Art LaFleur
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: August 30, 2007
Knuckle sandwich times, suckas.

Jean Claude Van Damme is God. He was, is and always will be. Why? Because you can't understand a single word he says, but the way he can cock an eyebrow lets you know you're in for one hell of a pounding. In the 1980's, you didn't get much bigger than Van Damme. You had Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Seagal and Van Damme and that was about it. In a steel cage match, Seagal would win. Van Damme would come in second.

The film stars the 'Muscle from Brussels' as Louis Burke, a Canadian (yeah right) who is sent to a prison as an undercover officer to investigate the murders of some inmates and guards. Eventually, a serial killer known simply as The Sandman (Patrick Kilpatrick) is sent to the same prison, and he and Burke just happen to be arch nemeses. It is eventually uncovered that the people being killed at the prison are having their organs harvested -- I bet we didn't see that one coming. Eventually, The Sandman makes trouble for Burke and there is a breakout, with all of the prisoners on the street looking for Burke, who they now know is a cop. It boils down to a tense confrontation between The Sandman and Burke, where someone finally gets their 'death warrant' officially signed.

Otherwise known as 'The King of Kick' or 'The Prince of Punch', no one makes martial arts look as sexy as Jean Claude Van Damme. Arnold was too butch. Stallone was too damned ugly. And, Seagal was too much of a loose canon for the sex appeal. Van Damme has it all -- nice to look at in and out of clothes. As a prison inmate, he has to use all the acting ability at his disposal to turn in a layered and textured performance, and he does, to the extent that someone like Van Damme can turn in a layered and textured performance. Robert Guillaume and Art La Fleur turn in nice supporting performances also, with Cynthia Gibb's hair going out of this world.

This was one of the films that was released at the beginning of Van Damme's popularity, before "Nowhere to Run" or "Universal Soldier" ever thought about existing. It represents the old 1980's action flick, like "Cobra" and "Raw Deal". I wouldn't venture to say this is Van Damme's best film, by any means, but it's a solid effort, as far as action films are concerned. He certainly does know how to make a punch look painful. "Death Warrant" won't appeal to all audiences, but when The Sandman shouts out "Welcome to Hell!" and Van Damme kicks his evil ass into the furnace -- you can't tell me that doesn't take bad assity to a whole new level. Van Damme, it's sweet.

7/10.
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