Download Formats: M4V, AVI, MTS, MKV, M2TS, 3GP, ASF
original title: Death Warrant
duration: 1h 29min
tags: In "Bloodsport" and "Kickboxer" he won it all, now there are no rules, no escape, and NOBODY'S playing games!
keywords: prisoner, murder, jail, solitaryconfinement, prisonguard, detective, showdown, investigation, sociopath, psychopath, footchase, prisonescape, impliedsex, computerhacker, computercracker, interrogation
Van Damme plays Louis Burke, a Canadian Mountie who never wears the proper Mountie uniform, which is a damn shame because those Mountie hats are cool. Burke is on assignment in Los Angeles, tracking down a villain known as the Sandman, bullet-proof serial-killer extraordinaire. After taking down The Sandman in the first few minutes, Burke is given another assignment: The inmates of the local maximum-security prison have developed a nasty habit of being killed by ice-pick to the head. Burke's assignment is to go undercover (naturally) and find out where all these ice-picks are coming from and who is behind it. Is it a prison-gang war, or a massive conspiracy involving corrupt officials and mad scientists? Have a guess.
Naturally, one would assume that a Van Damme movie - set in a prison - called 'Death Warrant' would be action packed. Unfortunately, 'Death Warrant', much like 'Legionnaire', proves that not all Van Damme movies are excuses for a showcase of spin-kicks. It is a shame that 'Death Warrant' is not as action packed as I would like it to be. There are some cool fights, but it is a fairly slow movie, and the less said about the scenes involving a character called Priest (Abdul Salaam El Razzac), the better. Priest is a weird, weird fellow. I'm pretty sure he is really some sort of alien replicon from the beyond the moon...
Now, I'm trying to judge 'Death Warrant' harshly, I really am. There just isn't enough action, but I just can't speak ill of any movie that was made in the 80s, is about the 80s, or features music and fashion from the 80s. In this case, 'Death Warrant' has 80s music AND a mad scientist. Both big bonuses in any movie's favour. Granted, the mad scientist's screen time is almost negligible, but the presence of a mad scientist makes the coolness metre of any movie shoot straight up.
Sure, 'Death Warrant' may be slow, lack action, and feature a lot of Van Damme acting rather than fighting, but it is entertaining enough (what with the 80s music and all), but it is only for Van Damme fans - 6/10 "Death Warrant" should do just fine when film fans need their action fix. It's a pretty entertaining Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle with a solid pace, assorted brutality, and enjoyably heinous villains. Written by David S. Goyer, and directed by Deran Sarafian, it stars JCVD as Louis Burke, a Royal Canadian Mountie from Quebec (thus explaining his accent this time around) who is recruited to work undercover in the L.A. prison system. Posing as a prisoner, his job is to find out who has been offing various inmates. The real trouble begins when an old nemesis of his, a serial killer dubbed The Sandman (Patrick Kilpatrick) is transferred to the same prison as Louis. All in all, this movie is a good deal of fun; even if forgettable in the end, it's slickly made, with JCVD in fine form and kicking lots of ass as per usual. It benefits from a strong supporting cast beginning with Robert "Benson" Guillaume as Hawkins, a one-eyed veteran prisoner who provides Burke with valuable assistance. The bad guys are an entertaining bunch, from brutal head guard DeGraf (Art LaFleur) to the hilarious Sandman, a swaggering psycho often to be seen with a smile on his face. He also proves to be very hard to kill! Joshua Miller ("Near Dark") is a geeky genius computer hacker, Armin Shimerman ('Star Trek: Deep Space Nine') a nefarious prison doctor, Conrad Dunn (Psycho from "Stripes") the solicitous Konefke, and the extremely striking Abdul Salaam El Razzac plays enigmatic prisoner Priest. The pretty Cynthia Gibb is adequate as the major female presence and requisite love interest. The instantly recognizable Al Leong has one of his standard henchmen parts and Larry Hankin, himself no stranger to prison pictures having done "Escape from Alcatraz", appears unbilled as Myerson. Russell Carpenter does the frequently moody cinematography and plenty of atmosphere is guaranteed due to the prison setting; the opening sequence with Burke searching for The Sandman is likewise full of menace. The final quarter hour or so with Burke and The Sandman facing off is exciting and a total hoot as The Sandman keeps coming back for more. Fans of the star and the genre should be quite amused, overall, and at just under an hour and a half, the movie does not overstay its welcome. Seven out of 10.
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