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Death Warrant
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Reviews & Ratings for
Death Warrant More at IMDbPro »

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24 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Good Beat Em Up Cop Flick

7/10
Author: Gary from NC
27 September 2004

Most people just don't understand movies.There are different movie genres,and none can really be compared to the other.Take this movie for instance - it's not " Hamlet " nor is it " Jason Goes To Manhattan ".Not to be crass,but Van Damme makes movies not for artistic value,he makes movies you can pop into your VCR or DVD Player when you feel like kicking someones ass.Think of his movies as " Primal Drama ". What's " Primal Drama ",you might ask ? It's movies that are made to appease your inner beast.Just as you might feel like screaming at someone, or breaking a chair over someone's head,you reach for a Van Damme or Stallone movie instead.Somehow,watching the hero in these simplistic displays of eccentric unbelievable melodrama makes life a little easier.Watch an emotional display of comic brutality, and somehow everything's alright again.Look at Van Damme's movies the same way you did Comic Books and you'll understand.Just like Comic Books,Van Damme movies will always have a place in the heart of the Alpha Male.Lowbrow for sure,fun nonetheless. ***** 7 out of 10 *****

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18 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

What Van Damme is all about.

Author: rmadesp (rmadesp@yahoo.com) from LA, USA
3 October 2003

I love this movie, simply for how entertaining it is, I dont think anyone would say this is dull. You have Van Damme as a detective shooting a suspect dead, then saying "your under arrest." Then, immediately following, you have this great vision of an airplane flying overhead into the sunrise (or sunset) with some great "feeling so fine" music playing while JCVD all dressed up so smooth walks into a federal building to a meeting where we learn about the forecoming story. Then while undercover in prison, the laughs dont stop and the action heats up. This is classic Van Dammage that you dare not miss.

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20 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

A Cut Above In A Couple Of Areas

7/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
28 December 2006

This was an intense prison movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme as an undercover cop. "Louis Burke," trying to solve a crime inside a tough prison.

There is excellent suspense, some surprisingly-good photography with excellent closeups and slow-motion. Language-wise, I liked the fact there wasn't a lot of the usage of the Lord's name in vain. All of that help make this better than I anticipated.

The final fight scene is a little long and is Rocky-like ridiculous in that both combatants get viscously beaten to a pulp.....but keep coming back and not even having their hair messed up!! That notwithstanding, it was an entertaining movie and a cut above most martial arts fare.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Death of An Era: The 1980s

8/10
Author: bigslam5 from United States
14 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The 1980s were a guiltless time. Rock music was hard, meaningless, and not subtle with its innuendo. The same can be said about 80s action movies. The 80s Action movie had to be classic good guy-bad guy, because all action movies "should" be like that. The 80s action movie had to have some babe in it, and though it was meant to attract female viewers to a movie, the result was nothing more than a sex object for men. The 80s action movie had to have an absurd amount of killing and testosterone. 90s and 00s action movies are the same, but, they are riddled with guilt. They "try" to have a good guy-bad guy mix, but the good guy is not entirely good and the bad guy is not entirely bad. They "try" to incorporate deep "love interests," but fail miserably...at least 80s action movies didn't really try in that department. Lastly, they don't have good action anymore. Everything is computer and shaky camera during fight scenes. Where is the good old fashioned pile of dead extras? 80s action movies are guiltless and treat themselves like revenge fantasy "epics," while modern action movies try to be deep. Just like 80s rockers, they did not try to be deep, while modern alternative music's attempt at deepness and subtleness fails to invoke any real intelligent thought. 80s music, movies, presidents were not deep in meaning...everything was a MTV sound bite, a rude, in your face, unashamed whatever it was. It did not pretend to be something different.

Death Warrant, like the band Firehouse, was the last breath of the 80s burning out in the 90s. It has 80s music, 80s clothes, and most importantly, the 80s mentality. The story revolves around a bad ass, shallow as a puddle, cop in Van Damme. He quickly defeats Kilpatrick (Naylor Sandman) by firing 400 bullets at him, and gets th-rusted into the "average" American prison—a cesspool of political corruption, racial tension, violence, and sodomy. The movie is rather guiltless at all of these aspects of America's prisons, making stunningly "deep" observations. The politician justifies harvesting prisoner's organs because "they're all scum"—a reflection of real policy. When Burke (Van Damme) enters "the black part of the prison," the music gets stereotypically "black" with its bass (guiltless 80s mentality) and the warden's comment "I know that you are here—Why? I can smell the (n-bomb)" is a reflection upon the racism. As a prison movie, violence and sodomy don't need to be explained. Of course the movie is all ridiculous hyperbole, but it is so extreme, yet at a strange level true, it makes the bad ass action movie extremely comical as well.

The movie has many ridiculous elements added on purpose, for the sake of guiltless "bad-assness" and hilarity. Everyone in this prison is part of a gang, has access to drugs, cell phones, weapons…people leave their cells at will..the "Priest" (a prisoner), seems to be more powerful than the Governor of California, let alone the warden of the prison. The Sandman is stronger than Goliath and refuses to die until he ironically dies like every other prisoner who died as part of the organ ring conspiracy—a spike in the back of the head. Lastly, the Sandman, after taunting Burke, lets him wallow a little longer. Sure, the Sandman could had killed him right there, but instead he says something incredibly "deep" instead: "Bring me a dream Burke, bring me a dream…" This has nothing to do with the plot. It is an inside joke, a little jab at the song named "Mister Sandman," which the first lines of the song are "Mister Sandman, Bring Me a Dream." The movie ends as all movies should end. The hero gets the babe, mends racial boundaries, gets the ultimate honor of "Prison Respect" (where every convict will move out of your way and sing your praises like "He just dusted the Sandman" and "You got it homes…"), and ends with a kick ass 80s sounding rock ballad called "Bring Me A Dream"—another inside joke. I wrote an email to the composer of the song and he sent me the MP3 of it, because I "got" the joke. Very cool.

I rate this movie 8 out of ten in not a light fashion. I have watched a lot of movies and only a handful are 8 and up. This movie is that good for its genre and its ultimate entertainment value. It is smart, incredibly stupid, subtle, but blatant at the same time. It is an 80s movie masterpiece and is up there with some of the best movies of all time.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Lethal injections...

4/10
Author: Frank Markland from United States
22 May 2006

A police officer goes undercover in a prison to discover why inmates are disappearing at a fast rate. The investigation is going all fine and dandy until the serial killer that this particular cop caught is transfered therefore putting him in jeopardy and blowing his cover. Good thing the cop knows kickboxing. This is one of Jean-Claude's lesser efforts, it lacks the overall excitement of Bloodsport and Kickboxer as well as the visceral enjoyment provided by his later movies like Universal Soldier and Hard Target. The story itself is too routine and although at times Death Warrant has a grisly twist that give it a jolt, Death Warrant is very forgettable stuff. I myself enjoy a good action flick but I like them more upbeat and it's only the action sequences which make this mildly diverting.

* * out of 4(Fair)

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

"Bring me a dream Burke"

Author: uds3 from Longmont, Colorado
21 October 2003

Like I keep tellin' youse guys....ya watch a Van Damme flick, ya can't expect any MORE than a Van Damme flick. Why watch the thing then complain "another Van Damme stinker"...that's a no-brainer! To quote Rocky "It ain't so bad!" Van Dumb plays a Canadian undercover cop sent in to root out a whole heapa jail corruption - see? there's a realtime story line - don't knock it!

Patrick Kilpatrick as "the Sandman"....is the star of the flick anyway, even if he HAS nothing whatsoever to do with the story at hand! A mega-tough inmate if ever there was one..."Sandman" looks for all intents and purposes like a close relative of Michael Myers and his climactic set-to with Van Damme is worth the price of at least a small carton of popcorn. "You can't kill me Burke, I'm the Sandman" he utters, shortly after stepping nonchalantly out of a raging furnace no less, totally aflame but otherwise quite unbothered. Naturally Van Dumb proves him wrong on that point! Comical but entertaining stuff.

Certainly not one of JCVD's worst!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

"Death Warrant" is classic 90's Van Damme.

8/10
Author: Comeuppance Reviews from United States Minor Outlying Islands
12 May 2010

"Death Warrant" is classic 90's Van Damme. This time around: Louis Burke (Van Damme) is a policeman who goes undercover in a jail to investigate a murder. While inside, he realizes there's not just murder, but corruption. Now he has to high kick and low split his way to justice.

After the weak "Lionheart", Van Damme realized that he should take a break from the Kumites, and the Underground Brawls and focus his efforts into a making a fun action pic. The final fight had all the ingrediants for the usual Van Climax: Swift, brutal kicks to the face and an action hero trademark, an impaling.

If you watch enough Seagal, Norris, and Van Damme flicks you realize it's all the same, but who cares, it's another 90 minute action movie with mediocre writing and directing! Yeah! For more insanity, please check out: comeuppancereviews.com

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

I have a warrant... FOR YOUR DEATH!

6/10
Author: AwesomeWolf from Australia
15 April 2005

"What is a death warrant?" you may ask. I'm not too sure myself. I assume it must like an arrest warrant, but instead of arresting the target of the warrant, Van Damme gets to kill them. Pretty simple really. I mean, if Jean-Claude was only intending to ARREST the antagonists, it would be a pretty boring movie, right?

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

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

One of the best JCVD movie

7/10
Author: ebiros2 from United States
17 October 2012

Dare I say that when this movie was made JCVD was at the peak of his physical shape ? He really looks awesome in this movie. He's a pretty good actor as well, which is evident when you compare Chuck Norris' movies from the same era.

Although the movie is more than 20 years old, it doesn't look dated. The movie is also not a mindless martial arts movie either. It has some good story behind it. Even compared to "Lionheart" made the same year, this movie is way ahead in terms of quality.

Amanda Gibbs is gorgeous in this movie. Too bad that we didn't get to see her during the '90s asides from this movie.

Seriously, this is one of the best JCVD movie made and is recommended for viewing even if you're NOT a JCVD fan.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

This is one of Van Damme best films.

7/10
Author: chris1987 from United Kingdom
3 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Well this is one of my personal favourite Van Damme films.Its a prison movie and a an action/drama/crime movie.Van Damme goes undercover to prison where inmates have been disappearing and discovers that their body parts- livers etc are being sold by the corrupt guards.Van Damme gets off to a decent tart in uncovering the truth with some decent fight scenes.Then "The Sandman" enters the prison and recognises Van Damme and reveals his real identity.Along the way Van Damme is helped by the beautiful Cynthia Gibb.There is a scene where Van Damme arrive in his cell and his cell mate wants him to pay.Van Damme replies i"i don't pay,and i don't punk".As he says this he has his cell-mate pinned against the wall which is actually funny.The Sandman is unstoppable,but he hasn't met Van Damme yet.Now Van Damme must survive and bring the truth to light.This really is one of his best movies.

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