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JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME SERVES A PRISON 'DEATH WARRANT'

JCVD battles Al Leong in Death Warrant YEAR: 1990
When a movie begins with the action hero saying, "He killed my partner," there's gonna be some bloodshed, followed by a one-liner; in this case, "You're under arrest," which is not that ironic or humorous except the guy Jean Claude Van Damme's speaking to is completely unconscious and almost dead...

Lighten Up, Conrad Dunn
This catapults into yet another Cop Sent Into Prison Undercover flick (investigating random inmate deaths) that's better than most, especially given the relatively low budget and tier-two actors including bully guard Art LeFleur, YOUNGBLOOD starlet Cynthia Gibb as the planted "wife" and especially the late  Robert Guillaume (Benson on SOAP and BENSON), who, like Morgan Freeman a few years later in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, is a convicted killer that acquires goods and most important, information (to a white innocent inmate) that, in both cases, can help an "innocent" white guy...

MovieScore: ***1/2
Yet it's nothing too easy since Claude Van Damme's Louis Burke, during the best scenes, aided by quirky cellmate Conrad Dunn... who played Francis "Psycho" Sawyer in STRIPES and almost looks more like TAXI DRIVER Travis Bickle than Robert De Niro... must visit various cellblocks in the dark, dingy, fitfully claustrophobic prison to gather name-after-name and thankfully, a few neat fights occur along the way: One in particular, with another familiar face to the 80's tough guy realm, Al Leong, is a face-kicking standout.

Like all Action or Prison flicks, there's only so far the buildup can go before the sh-t hits the can: in this case when signature b-villain Patrick Kilpatrick returns from the prologue and, sadly, the intriguing prison flick becomes a desperate fight for survival as the proverbial rocks tumble down at top speed. A shame since the gathering moss was so damn entertaining.
Rest in Peace Robert Guillaume here with Jean Claude Van Damme in DEATH WARRANT
Robert Guillaume with a gooey blind eye in DEATH WARRANT
"Any of you... homos..." STRIPES psycho Conrad Dunn is the cliche snappy pal in prison character
This is where Cynthia Gibb spends most of the picture, behind the scenes as it were
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