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Death Warrant Blu-ray Review

‘Death Warrant’ is sure to please Van Damme fans.

Directed by Deran Sarafian and written by David. S. Goyer (yes, the writer behind ‘Batman Begins’), 1990’s ‘Death Warrant’ is an action vehicle for star Jean-Claude Van Damme. This isn’t a mere beat ‘em up action flick though as it’s more of a gritty prison drama, mystery, and police thriller. The story revolves around a Police Detective (Louis Burke) who starts off the film by taking down the serial killer The Sandman. The story jumps ahead 16 months where Louis is offered an assignment to go undercover at a prison to discover the culprit behind a series of inmate murders. Working with a liason (Amanda), Louis goes deep undercover only to discover the truth behind the murders is part of a larger plot. As if that wasn’t enough, The Sandman happens to be alive and is arriving at the very same prison Louis is currently at. 

Let’s be real, no one is watching ‘Death Warrant’ for the story or the characters. The characterization is minimal at best (complete with a tacked on romance) and the story certainly doesn’t hold up to scrutiny (how did The Sandman survive and how was it kept secret for more than a year?). Sure, the plot certainly doesn’t go where you’d expect and is involving enough, but it’s far from a top tier prison drama like ‘The Shawshank Redemption.’. People are likely tuning into ‘Death Warrant’ wanting to see Van Damme kick butt. Sadly though, there’s not as much action as you’d think. Yes, the over-the-top climax with Louis vs. The Sandman is epic, but aside from that, there’s only a few scattered fights and action set pieces here and there. With that said, ‘Death Warrant’ is perfectly watchable light night fast paced entertainment that you can turn on and get swept up in. And there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Jean-Claude Van Damme turns in a respectable performance here and is able to explore his dramatic acting work more. It helps that he’s surrounded by a rather fantastic group of character actors like Armin Shimmerman, Art LaFleur, Robert Guillaume, Larry Hankin, Patrick Kilpatrick, George Dickerson. The late great Robert Guillaume of “Soap” and “Benson” fame really classes the place up and plays a role that we aren’t used to seeing him in. 


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? The new 2K scan offers up a solid print. There’s some dirt specs and print defects but this Scorpion Releasing Blu-ray is still a decent upgrade to be sure.

Audio Track: 2.0  DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The audio is a little low for my liking and isn’t up to the usual Blu-ray standards. 

* Commentary by director Deran Sarafian
* 2 separate interviews with Art LaFleur and Patrick Kilpatrick
* Trailers for ‘Death Warrant’ and other catalogue titles


August 13, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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