Home / Reviews / 1990 “DEATH WARRANT”


1990 “Death Warrant” is a action/prison drama directed by Deran Sarafian, written by David S. Goyer and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robert Guillaume, Cynthia Gibb and Patrick Kilpatrick.

The opening scenes shows Canadian policeman Louis Burke (Van Damme) confronting and killing the notorious and gruesome serial killer Christian “The Sandman” Naylor (Kilpatrick) with four bullets to the chest.  Burke is then brought in to discuss the increasing deaths of inmates and prison guards at the Harrison Penitentiary, and agrees to go undercover with Amanda Beckett (Gibb) as his outside contact and eventually Hawkins (Guillaume) as his inside contact.  What Burke, Beckett and Hawkins discover questions the development of our legal, law enforcement and penal systems as it exist today.  As you watch the movie, just keep telling yourself, over and over, “this is not a third world country”.

Later in the movie, The Sandman is re-introduced as an additional antagonist complicating Burke investigative efforts to uncovering a conspiracy.  This re-introduction of The Sandman is both a possibility/probability technique and is not really necessary.  The direction and editing is about par and the acting is a little better than Van Damme’s previous movies.  The fight/martial arts choreography still shows a lot of weaknesses, but is Van Damme’s best to date, after his 1988 “Bloodsport”.

“Death Warrant” has a IMDB rating of 5.6, but Vaultimes gives it a 5,0.  Available on DVD from a variety of sources and runs 89 minutes.   .

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