Death Warrant



     'You are fish, new arrivals. People will try to hurt you, rob you...

                  even rape you.'


The film begins with Detective Louis Burke pursuing a notorious villain, the Sandman. he disobeys orders and goes in after him, eventually shooting him. The film then moves to sixteen months later, Burke has returned to work and his bosses have a new assignment for him. It seems that at harrison State penetentiary the assistant warden has been murdered, and that a guard has linked this incident to the deaths of nine other prisoners. The cmmittee suggests that Burke goes undercover to investigate this as a prisoner, and that only they will know his real identity. A female cop called Amanda will act as his liaison by posing as his wife.

Burke becomes prisoner 72689, but soon creates waves by defending a black prisoner, Hawkins, and thus getting himself some enemies. He also annoys prison officers, and begins snooping into the deaths of the prisoners. Amanda tells him that all of the victims died of puncture wounds to the back of the skull, and that the deaths were not the work of a serial killer.

He forges a friendship with Hawkins, who is a long serving prisoner and is said to 'know everything.'  He asks him about Barrett (the last prisoner to die) and is told to go and see the priest, a strange underground prisoner who moves him onto Barrett's old cell mate. Burke continues his investigation, assisted by his newfound friends, and on the outside Amanda too does some digging.  The duo reveal a plot to sell human organs (i.e. the prisoners) to the highest bidder. However as Burke's life becomes more and more unconfortable things go from bad to worse when the prison receives a new inmate....the sandman. The truth about Burke being an undercover police officer is revealed, and whilst he relies on his friendships with Hawkins and the priest to assist him, the sandman is determined to end the life of the cop who put him inside.

It seems that Burke is a wanted man by both those on the inside and those on the outsid - is there a way out for him???








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Directed by Deran Sarafian
Produced by Mark DiSalle
Written by David S. Goyer
Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme
Music by Gary Chang
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s) September 14, 1990
Running time 93 min.
Language English