Death Warrant

release year: 1990
genre: action
viewing setting: home Bluray, 10/16/19 and 6/3/13

synopsis: A cop goes undercover and into jail to figure out why inmates are dying.

impressions: This one fell victim to some of the standard problems. 1) Why would the people behind it all have sent a cop into this assignment in the first place? They screwed themselves. 2) A bad guy doesn't just punch you and then vanish from sight, to be hunted down in the maze of the boiler room...nobody moves that quickly or quietly. 3) The inmates obviously knew what was going on, and that Van Damme was trying to help them, so why would they still chase him and want to kill him after the real guilty parties were exposed (and equally vulnerable)? 4) Why does Van Damme always have to get his ass kicked multiple times before triumphing in the end? I'm sick and tired of it, and it never happens to Chuck Norris. Anyway, there were some decent prison fights and violence, but nothing spectacular. Like his last movie this one had a climactic final fight with a tall, muscular, menacing, insane bad guy.

asses kicked by Van Damme: 10 (one of them twice)

times Van Damme got his ass kicked: 2 for sure, a couple more times almost qualified

body count: 7

acting: Jean-Claude Van Damme plays perhaps the least-characterized character ever: all we know about this guy is that he's a cop and he knows some martial arts. Robert Guillaume is the eventually-friendly fellow inmate. Cynthia Gibb is a helpful attorney on the outside. Patrick Kilpatrick is the tall menacing serial killer/nemesis. 1980s action movie staple Al Leong has a brief, wordless role as an inmate unsuccessfully tasked with kicking Van Damme's ass.

final word: Worth seeing once (or perhaps once every twenty years) but far from his best work.

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